The Work and Teachings of the Apostles

The Work and Teachings of the Apostles

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The Work and Teachings of the Apostles

The Work and Teachings of the Apostles

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The Apostolic Age is the most complex period of biblical history. Until the death of Jesus the interest of the biblical student is focused on the Hebrew race, but after that great turning-point in human history it suddenly becomes world-wide. Rome soon takes the place of Jerusalem as the centre of Christianity, and its historical background is the great Grmco-Roman world. It is during the Apostolic Age that the relatively narrow current of Jewish thought mingles with those which flow from the ancient East, from cultured Hellas, and from Rome itself. The mingling of these currents explains the resulting complexity of apostolic life and thought. The New Testament writings vividly reflect this mingling of civilizations and ideas. As they stand these books also lack chronological arrangement. To most New Testament readers the latter part of the New Testament is a labyrinth. It is full of immortal truths and richly suggestive of the heroism and hopes of the early Christians; but, aside from the book of Acts, the New Testament writings in their present order fail to make clear the unity of the mighty, onward, first-century movement of which they are practically the only record. Therefore a chronological synthesis of the material in the epistles and Acts is an indispensable prerequisite for the intelligent study of apostolic Christianity.

The cumulative testimony of an ever-increasing body of biblical students confirms the conclusion that the most fruitful, in fact, the only satisfactory way to study biblical history and the complex literature contained in the Old and New Testaments, is by means of the source-method. When the more important passages of this ancient literature are singled out and arranged according to the scientific methods of classification, the biblical writers tell their own story and the modern student gains for the first time a clear and comprehensive knowledge of the abounding life and the vital principles recorded in the Bible. In endeavoring to lay the foundations for this study, I have been constantly helped and inspired, not only by work in the college classroom, but also by scores and hundreds of letters from men and women in various professions and activities who have been able . . .

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