New Testament History: A Study of the Beginnings of Christianity

Excerpt

This history might be more strictly called a study of the beginnings of Christianity. While designed primarily for use as a college textbook, it should be of equal value to any reader who wishes to trace the story of Christianity in its first days.

This is first of all a historical study. The average man has been wont to regard Christianity as a fixed and finished something that has been dropped down from the skies. If you speak of the Christian religion he will think first of all of a collection of writings, or of a body of doctrine, or of the institution of the church. But these three, Bible and doctrine and church, are simply the products of a greater movement that lies back of them. To understand Christianity we must go back to this great current of life, which was at once the greatest revelation of the divine Spirit and the greatest movement of the human spirit that mankind has known. What was the world to which this new life came? What did its Founder teach and do? How did the world brotherhood come out of the little company of Jews that followed him?

This book is a study of religion. That is why this history is of such supreme interest to us. It brings to us the religion that dominates the faith and conscience of men to-day, and shows us this religion in the person of its great founders and in the transforming power of its first great enthusiasm. It is a misconception of what New Testament study should be, to burden it with the elaborate discussion of dates and customs and the like. The supreme interest of the New Testament writers is in religion. What they bring us is not so much a history of this religion or a statement of its doctrines. Their pages reflect, rather, the religion itself, the rich and varied life out of which all doctrine and insti-

Additional information

Contributors:
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1914

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