THED 2 – NEW TESTAMENT STUDIES MODULE 1 INTRODUCTION TO NEW TESTAMENT Prepared by: Prof. Noel D. Santander
MODULE 1 INTRODUCTION TO NEW TESTAMENT •All Sacred Scripture is but one book, and that one book is Christ, because all divine Scripture speaks of Christ, and all divine Scripture is fulfilled in Christ (CCC #134). •The Sacred Scriptures contain the Word of God and, because they are inspired they are truly the Word of God (CCC #135). •God is the author of Sacred Scripture because he inspired its human authors; he acts in them and by means of them. He thus gives assurance that their writings teach without error his saving truth (CCC #136). •Interpretation of the inspired Scripture must be sensitive above all to what God wants to reveal through the sacred authors for our salvation. What comes from the Spirit is not fully understoodThe Sacred Scripture except by the Spirit’s action (CCC #137).
MODULE 1 INTRODUCTION TO NEW TESTAMENTThe Sacred Scripture in the Life of the Church•The Church has always venerated the SacredScriptures as she venerated the Body of theLord. Both nourish and govern the wholeChristian life. “Your word is a lamp to my feetand light to my path (CCC #141).•The Church forcefully and specificallyexhorts all the Christians faithful to learn thesurpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ byfrequent reading of the divine Scriptures.Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance ofChrist (CCC #133).
MODULE 1 INTRODUCTION TO NEW TESTAMENTThe New TestamentThe Church accepts and venerates as inspired the 46 books of the OldTestament and the 27 books of the New Testament (CCC #138). Theyare called the canon of Scripture. The complete list of canon for theNew Testament is the following with their corresponding abbreviations (CCC p.846):Gospel according to Matthew - MtGospel according to Mark - MkGospel according to Luke - LkGospel according to John - JnActs of the Apostles - ActsLetter of St. Paul to the Romans - RomFirst letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians - 1 CorSecond letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians - 2 CorLetter of St. Paul to the Galatians - GalLetter of St. Paul to the Ephesians - EphLetter of St. Paul to the Philippians - Phil
MODULE 1 INTRODUCTION TO NEW TESTAMENTLetter of St. Paul to the Colossians - ColFirst letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians - 1 ThessSecond letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians - 2 ThessFirst letter of St. Paul to Timothy - 1 TimSecond letter of St. Paul Timothy - 2 TimLetter of St. Paul to Titus - TitusLetter of St. Paul to Philemon - PhilemLetter to the Hebrews - HebLetter of James - JasFirst letter of Peter - 1 PetSecond letter of Peter - 2 PetFirst letter of John - 1 JnSecond letter of John - 2 JnThird letter of John - 3 JnLetter of Jude - JudeBook of Revelation (the Apocalypse) - Rev
MODULE 1 INTRODUCTION TO NEW TESTAMENTCRITERIA FOR CANONICITY FOR THE NEW TESTAMENT: •Apostolic Origin - either the books were written by the apostles themselves, or they were used as sources. •Coherence with the essential Gospel Message- the content of the book must be consistent with the message of Christ. •Constant use in the liturgy- the books were used by the Early Christian Communities in their celebration of the “breaking of the bread” and other liturgical functions.
MODULE 1 INTRODUCTION TO NEW TESTAMENT•The books in the New Testament were written within a hundredyears after the death of Jesus.•The books of the New Testament are about a person. All of themspring from the life and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth.•What we have in the New Testament is a running commentary onthe thoughts and aspirations, disappointments and hopes ofChristians of the first one hundred years of Christian faith.•All the 27 books of the New Testament were written in Greek, thelingua franca of the Roman Empire into which Christianity wasborn. Most of them were written by Jews. That Jews determinedthe basic teaching and structure of Christianity.•Even though New Testament writers wrote in the language of theempire, rather than in their Aramaic (a form of Hebrew), theywrote out of their Jewish inheritance. They wrote out of theirreligious experience as Jews. They did not leave aside their HolyScripture when they became followers of Jesus. They saw inJesus the fulfillment of all the longings expressed by theirprophets in their Bible (O’Hanlon, 1997, pp. 47-48).
MODULE 1 INTRODUCTION TO NEW TESTAMENT The Unity of the Old and New Testaments The Old Testament prepares for the New and theNew Testament fulfills the Old; the two shed light on eachother; both are true Word of God (CCC #140).To facilitate easy reading of the Sacred Scriptures • Used of chapters – 1226 by Stephen Langton • Used of verses- 1551 by Robert Estienne
MODULE 1 INTRODUCTION TO NEW TESTAMENTThe Three Stages in the Formation of the New Testament(Lifted from Charpentier, 1997, p. 10-11).First Stage: The Person of Jesus of Nazareth (6 BC to 30 AD) Jesus was born in the reign of Herod, in all probability sixyears before the beginning of what we call the Christian era. Helived in Nazareth, as a pious Jew, practicing the Law inaccordance with the spirit of the Pharisees, who were the mostreligious of the Jews. About 27 or 28, his baptism by John theBaptism inaugurated the two or three years of his public life. Hechose disciples and, with them, proclaimed the coming of thekingdom of God, through his words, actions and his life. He neverwrote anything except once on the sand. He was condemned bythe religious authorities and crucified by the Romans on April 7 30A.D.
MODULE 1 INTRODUCTION TO NEW TESTAMENTSecond Stage: The Disciples live out the gospel (between 30 and 70 AD) The resurrection of Jesus and the coming of the Spirit at Pentecostenabled the disciples to begin to discover the mystery of Jesus. These disciplesremained Jews, but they formed an amazing group within Judaism: they were thewitnesses to the risen Jesus. The disciples preached, to proclaim the risen Jesus, first to the Jews andthen to the Gentiles. The disciples celebrated their Risen Lord in the liturgy andabove all in the Eucharist. The Eucharist determined the form of many memories ofJesus. The disciples taught the newly baptized, and in order to do so recalled theactions and the words of Jesus.. Others soon joined the first disciples: Barnabas, the seven deacons, andabove all, Paul. Paul was converted round about AD 36, and went on to bring thegood news to Asia Minor, to Greece, and finally to Rome. Between AD 51 and 53Paul wrote letters to various communities. Throughout this period, official Judaismgradually began to reject the Christians.
MODULE 1 INTRODUCTION TO NEW TESTAMENT Third Stage: The Redaction (editing) of Writings (between 70 and 100 AD) Four theologians bore witness to Jesus, bringing together traditions which had already been edited in various ways. Round about AD 70 the Gospel according to St. Mark put down in writing what was almost certainly the preaching of peter in Rome. It seeks to show that Jesus is theMark Christ, the Son of God, especially through his actions and above all his miracles. The Gospel according to St. Luke was written about 80 or 90 AD, for communities principally made up of former Gentiles. It shows how in Jesus God has visited his people and manifested his loving-kindness towards them. Luke wrote a second volume, the Acts of the Apostles, in which he shows how the good news, carried by the apostles under the guidance of the Spirit, began to spread Luke all over the world.
MODULE 1 INTRODUCTION TO NEW TESTAMENT The Gospel according to St. Matthew was probablyproduced about 80 or 90 AD also, in a community of formerJews who had become Christians. Matthew attacks thePharisees of Jamnia and shows how Jesus fulfills thescriptures. In their enquiry into the mystery of Jesus, Matthewand Luke go back to his childhood, which they present in the Matthewlight of his life and resurrection. The Gospel according to St. John is a very profoundmeditation on Jesus as the Word of God. Written perhapsbetween 95 and 100 AD, it shows how the crucified Jesus isstill alive today and gives us his spirit. In Revelation, John – whether the same John, oranother one, presents Jesus as the goal of history. In the meantime, John, Peter, James, Jude and otherdisciples wrote letters to various communities. John
MODULE 1 INTRODUCTION TO NEW TESTAMENT Literary Genre in the New Testament•Gospels There were four Gospel included in the canon of the NewTestament. They were the Gospels according to Mark, Matthew, Luke andJohn. The word gospel comes from the English word godspel whichmeans good news. Gospels are good news in text or story form which wasprobably invented by Mark. As literary genre they are concerned with theidentity of Jesus. Actually, they are pictures of how particular communitiesinterpreted Jesus for their time and their place (O’Hanlon, 1994, p. 49).Within the Gospels, the writers used various literary forms such asnarrative, miracle story, discourse, parable, proverb, a riddle, examplestory, figurative speech, simile, metaphor and allegory.
MODULE 1 INTRODUCTION TO NEW TESTAMENT Narrative The Acts of the Apostles takes a narrative form. It records in a highly selective fashion some of the missionary activities of the first preachers of the gospel, especially of Peter and Paul (O’Hanlon, 1994, p. 74).Letters Of the twenty seven books in the New Testament, twenty one are letters.Letters are private matters, they come from one person to a group of friends, and theyoften perplex readers. They deal with personal things and do not have to be wellorganized. A letter may be written in answer to a question (O’Hanlon, 1994, p. 57).
MODULE 1 INTRODUCTION TO NEW TESTAMENTRevelation/Apocalyptic The word apocalypse meansrevelation or disclosure. The revealedsecret is about Jesus Christ. It is likeany other book in the bible, it is aninvitation to hear God’s call, torespond to it and to live accordingly(O’Hanlon, 1994, p. 75).
MODULE 1 INTRODUCTION TO NEW TESTAMENT Summary of the Books of the New Testament (Lifted from O’Hanlon, 1994, pp.75-56) The four Gospels open the call of the New Testament. Built, asthey are, on the foundation stone of Israel’s faith, they witness to the lifeand work of a faithful Jew, Jesus of Nazareth. They preach the goodnews of Jesus. They call people to live in their time the life Jesus livedin his. Come, follow me! That is Jesus’ word addressed to peopleseverywhere. The hearing of the word is the beginning of the Church. The Acts of the Apostles tells of the first bold steps of thegospel as it begins to make its way through the world. The firstcommunities are formed and, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, thedifficult but inexorable march from Jerusalem to Rome is accompanied.
MODULE 1INTRODUCTION TO NEW TESTAMENT The letters of Paul and the rest witness to theChurch in the world. There it finds its people, poor in spirit,like sheep without shepherd and it takes them to the gospel,to the good news of God-caring, the good news of God-saving. They witness, too, to the pain and anguish of newChristians, beset by harassment and dissension. They showus the realities of the Church, a place of squabbling,troublesome people, forever counting angels on pinheads.But they show too a people of joy and hope, a peoplecherishing justice and righteousness, a people buildingpeace, a people engaged in the sublime task of declaring thatGod is on our side, that there is nothing to fear. The Book of Revelation seeks to remove the veil, toshow where the creator means to lead his creation, to showwhere the gospel and its little Churches, all peoples come torest. Jerusalem is a sign of desperation. It is a city ofcrucifixion. But crucifixion is not God’s final word in the world.The place of crucifixion itself becomes the place of uttertransformation. There will be New Jerusalem.
Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ