Monday, October 30, 2006

The New Testament in the First Century

(Listed below is an excerpt from the October 16, 2006 edition of the Fundamental Baptist Information Service published by David Cloud and Way of Life Literature. I have detailed the first item of seven important things regarding the N.T. in the First Century. Additional information can be found at www.wayoflife.org)

The following is an excerpt from the 775-page "Faith vs. the Modern Bible Versions," available from Way of Life Literature. In the following material we cover the inspiration and canonization of the New Testament. The Roman Catholic Church claims that it gave us the Bible, but a careful study of the early history of the New Testament and a simple comparison of the churches described in the New Testament with that of Rome overthrows this ridiculous doctrine.

Every believer should be informed of the following seven important things that occurred in the first century.

1. THE NEW TESTAMENT WAS WRITTEN UNDER DIVINE INSPIRATION.

Jesus Christ received words from God the Father (Jn. 17:8) and He promised that those words would not pass away (Mat. 24:35). He further promised that the Holy Spirit would guide the apostles into all truth, would bring things to their remembrance, and would show them things to come (Jn. 14:25-26; 16:12-13). Thus, the apostles and prophets who wrote the New Testament did not have to depend upon their fallible human devices. Edward Hills wisely observes: "The New Testament contains the words that Christ brought down from heaven for the salvation of His people and now remain inscribed in holy Writ. ... For ever, O LORD, Thy Word is settled in heaven (Ps. 119:89). Although the Scriptures were written during a definite historical period, they are not the product of that period but of the eternal plan of God. When God designed the holy Scriptures in eternity, He had the whole sweep of human history in view. Hence the Scriptures are forever relevant. Their message can never be outgrown. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the Word of our God shall stand for ever (Isa. 40:8)."

The N.T. was inspired in its words. Paul said this in 1 Cor. 2:9-13 ("the words" v. 13). When Timothy was instructed to keep the commandment "without spot" (1 Tim. 6:14) Paul was reminding him that every detail of the New Testament is inspired and authoritative.

The Gospels and the Apostolic Epistles were recognized as the Word of God from the beginning. Contemporary books on the history of the Bible commonly state that the authors of the New Testament did not know that they were writing scripture and refer to the reception of the New Testament as scripture as something that was haphazard and that took a long time. We must understand that most books on the history of the Bible in the past 100 and more years were written by men who have been infected deeply with the skepticism that has permeated biblical scholarship since the late 19th century.

Consider the following statements from the Bible itself that prove that the writers of the New Testament understood that they were writing by inspiration and that the New Testament books were recognized as the Word of God by the apostolic churches.
(1) Paul considered his writings to be authoritative, the very words of God (1 Cor. 11:2; 14:37; Gal. 1:11-12; Col. 1:25-26, 28; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14).
(2) Paul expected his writings to be circulated from church to church (Gal. 1:2; Col. 4:16; 1 Thess. 5:27).
(3) Paul stated that Scripture was being written by the New Testament prophets by divine revelation under inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 16:25-26; 1 Cor. 2:6-16; Eph. 3:4-5).
(4) Peter said that the word being preached by the apostles was the word of God (1 Pet. 1:25).
(5) Peter put the commandments of the apostles on the same level as that of the Old Testament prophets (2 Pet. 3:2). A Jew would not have dared to make such a claim if he were not convinced that the apostolic writings were Holy Scripture, because he looked upon the Old Testament prophets as the very oracles of God.
(6) Peter calls the epistles of Paul Scripture and puts them on the same level as the Old Testament (2 Pet. 3:15-16). "Although some [of Paul's epistles] had been out for perhaps fifteen years, the ink was scarcely dry on others, and perhaps 2 Timothy had not yet been penned when Peter wrote. Paul's writings were recognized and declared by apostolic authority to be Scripture as soon as they appeared" (Wilbur Pickering).
(7) The book of Revelation was written as the prophetic Word of God (Rev. 1:3; 21:5; 22:18-19).
(8) Luke claimed perfect understanding of the things of the Gospel, which can only come by divine revelation (Luke 1:3). Luke is either making a vain boast or he is claiming inspiration.
(9) Paul quotes from the Gospel of Luke and calls it Scripture, putting it on the same level as Deuteronomy (compare 1 Tim. 5:18; Deut. 25:4; Lk. 10:7). Wilbur Pickering observes: "Taking the traditional and conservative point of view, 1 Timothy is generally thought to have been written within five years after Luke. Luke was recognized and declared by apostolic authority to be Scripture as soon as it came off the press, so to speak" (The Identity of the New Testament Text, chapter 5).
(10) In warning the believers of false teachers, Jude refers to the "words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jude 17). He holds these words up as the divine standard.
(11) John held up the teaching of the apostles as the absolute standard of Truth (1 John 4:6).

2. THE NEW TESTAMENT WAS COMPLETED AND SEALED.
3. THE NEW TESTAMENT WAS RECEIVED.
4. THE NEW TESTAMENT WAS CAREFULLY PRESERVED AND TRANSMITTED TO THE NEXT GENERATIONS.
5. THE NEW TESTAMENT WAS MULTIPLIED AND WENT INTO ALL THE WORLD.
6. THE NEW TESTAMENT FAITH AND SCRIPTURES WERE ATTACKED EVEN IN THE FIRST CENTURY.
7. THE NEW TESTAMENT WAS DEFENDED BY GOD'S PEOPLE.

1 Comments:

Blogger Sis. Julie said...

Wow!!! I sure have gotten behind in my reading of the blogs. You've done three since I last read. These are very informative and very good Bro. Jim. Thank you for sharing them with us.

2:29 PM  

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