An Introduction to New Testament Thought

An Introduction to New Testament Thought

An Introduction to New Testament Thought

An Introduction to New Testament Thought

Excerpt

A glance at the table of contents of this book may suggest that it is one more work on New Testament theology for technical theologians. It is not so intended. It is only, as the title states, an introduction to New Testament thought. There is a question, of course, whether or not the New Testament contains a theology -- that question is dealt with in one of the early chapters of this book. Many scholars deny that there is a New Testament theology; others take it for granted. The term New Testament thought does not settle the controversy but only draws a larger circle to embrace the whole disputed area. Even if there is no New Testament theology, the thought of the New Testament is certainly moving in the direction of theology, and its first efforts in that direction are profoundly interesting as well as of profound importance for the whole later development. Much of the thought of the New Testament is concerned with the interpretation of the Old. Much of it is, we might say, artistic rather than speculative -- as the New Testament writers search through the Old Testament for answers to their questions, and come upon Christ in the Old Testament in most unexpected places.

The quotations from the New Testament are usually from the Revised Standard Version, though I have not hesitated to use other versions or to make my own translation. After all, the New Testament is a Greek book, and no English version can do more than approximate its original meaning. Some verses and passages are cited more than once. Such repetition was unavoidable. I have not attempted to force each verse of the New Testament into a neat pigeonhole of classification. Some words, verses, and passages are keys to whole areas of thought -- or rather, they are like revolving beacons which throw a great shaft of light in all directions and illuminate many surrounding areas. Or, to change the figure once more, the map is not like a jigsaw puzzle which requires only to be fitted together without remainder; in-

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