The New Testament is that part of the Christian Bible dealing with the birth, teachings, living examples, miracles, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is composed of the Four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), the “Acts of the Apostles,” “The Epistles” and the “Apocalypse of John.”
Most scholars say most if not all of the New Testament was written in Koine Greek, the common language of the Eastern Roman Empire around the time of Jesus.¹ However, some contend that parts of the New Testament were written in Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke.²
Different translations of the New Testament may rely on different scriptural sources and also the biased agendas of translators.
For instance, The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), uses gender-neutral instead of originally masculine pronouns. And different translations of the Lord’s Prayer vary in length.
Meanwhile, the New International Version Bible (NIV) arguably tries to smooth out theological problems by firmly linking up the New and Old Testaments with the help of selective translating. Some see this as justified, others do not.
Most Christians agree, in different ways and degrees, that the New Testament is a ‘fulfillment’ of the Old Testament. The Old Testament is often described as a theological blueprint for the arrival of Jesus Christ, the savior and messiah anticipated by the Jewish prophets.
A frequently cited passage of the Old Testament supporting this belief comes from Isaiah:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).
The Old Testament was written in Hebrew. The Hebrew name Immanuel means “God with us.”
The Jewish people did not accept this Christan extension of the Old Testament because for them it is blasphemous for any human being to claim equality with God, a view they share with Muslims. And some writers say the Jewish people expected their Messiah to be a kind of hero figure who would liberate them from the occupying Romans, not a man who would suffer an inglorious death at the cross.
The general Christian reply is that Jesus’ message is not about driving away enemies, gaining land or basking in Earthly glory. Jesus himself says in the New Testament his kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). For Christians, the vista is far greater than seeing a worldly enemy get his or her due. In fact, Christians are called to pray for and love their enemies. This is pretty radical, I think in a good way. And some apologists say it separates Christianity from any religion that advocates violence.³
The New Testament is available in 1,333 languages and usually accompanies Christian missionary activity around the world. It’s a powerful work that some tyrannical countries will imprison or even kill you for possessing. However, some worldly, materialistic scholars who perhaps do not have access to grace via the New Testament tend to emphasize its humanly constructed side at the expense of its theologically functional side. These scholars can be quite clever in a worldly way. They may claim to not wish to convert anyone to their own atheism or agnosticism, but I think their excessively skewed viewpoints could adversely affect some seekers.
Just like in nature, weeds can overgrow a flower, especially when the flower is just starting out and vulnerable. Once established, the flower is less vulnerable to the earth-hungry, light-blocking weeds. Although the possibility of being choked out by weeds – that is, the worldly wise – never really disappears. That’s why Christianity isn’t just a cerebral thing. It’s a living practice that one has to keep working on and experiencing on a daily basis.
Even the most beautiful flower needs good soil, light, warmth, and water. Otherwise, it dwindles and dies.
¹ For dates see, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Testament#Dates_of_composition
³ The concept of the Just War, embraced by some Christians, complicates this debate immensely, as does the Christian inclusion of the Old Testament, which no doubt is significantly bellicose.
Related » Abyss, Alpha, Angels, Apocalypse, St. Augustine, John Calvin , Church Fathers, Confucius, Divination, Elizabeth, Erasmus Desiderius, Eucharist, Fasting, Father, Gnosticism, Gospels, Heaven, Judas Iscariot, Just War, Predestination, Reincarnation, Revealed Knowledge, Synoptic Gospels, Virgin Mary, Winnowing
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