What is the point of all this study of the New Testament? Is it just ancient history with no relevance for today? Is it just a wearisome study? Even a verse in the Old Testament reads, “Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body” (Holy Bible, New International Version, 1973/2011, Ecclesiastes 12:12).
One of the key points in studying the New Testament is to understand the examples set for us in these ancient pages. In 1 Corinthians 10:6 and 10:11-12, Paul wrote these words of warning in regard to all the stories of faith in the Old Testament. Certainly, they also apply to what we now have compiled in the New Testament:
“Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did… These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (Holy Bible, New International Version, 1973/2011, 1 Corinthians 10:6, 10:11-12)
The New Testament is a lesson in life. Learn from their mistakes. Model their successes. Listen to their instruction. Follow the Jesus who called both them and you.
The following are the four essay questions. Please select three to respond to:
- Drawing on the entire New Testament, make a list of five names and titles used to identify Jesus. Discuss the meaning of each name or title, the person(s) using it, and the place in the New Testament where you found the usage. Discuss how the title helped to explain some aspect of Jesus’ character or role and why that would be attractive to the audience of the writer. After you finish doing this, choose two names or titles that you find to be most helpful or impactful to you. Explain why you chose these names or titles and what significance they have to you personally.
- Having studied and read about the expansion of the early Christian church and movement, discuss the factors (personal, religious, political, etc.) which contributed to its spread. What are the most important factors that you have discovered throughout this study? Do not just list, but explain why you chose the people, events, or cultural issues that helped Christianity spread through the Roman world.
- Explain why the Johannine literature is important to a student of the New Testament.
- Discuss the New Testament assertion of Jesus as “God the Son.” What are the implications? How did Jesus and His followers communicate this unique relationship between “God the Father” and “God the Son”? Explore, specifically, both the incarnation and the attributes of God in Christ. Draw specific textual support from John 1, Philippians 2, Colossians 1, and other New Testament reading, and from all previous assignments.