A Guidebook to the Biblical Literature

By John Franklin Genung | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
THE SON OF MAN

[ 4 B.C. to A.D. 30]

WHATEVER estimate our religious affiliations have led us to form of the personality of Jesus, the fact with which our present study is concerned is that the whole New Testament literature centers in him. He is its inspiration, its vitality, its formative influence. Its interpretation of the older literature, its new light on the way of life, its clear conception of eternal values, all derive from the life, the words, the ministry of Jesus.

The New Testament writers are indeed thoroughly grounded, as was their Master, in Old Testament ideas. Its laws, its prophecies, its wisdom, its poetry, are constantly referred to and quoted by them, as things familiarly known. Thus in a very intimate way the New Testament is interwoven with the Old; nor does it profess in any sense to supersede the Old. Rather, it supplements and completes it. The older ideas, true as they are, it regards as essentially unfinal, incomplete, preparatory to something fuller and clearer (cf. Col. ii, 16, 17; Heb. x, 1) ; and the realization, the fulfillment, is embodied in personal form in Jesus. He actually is what the ancient prophets dreamed ought to be, and more. As one of his New Testament biographers puts it ( John i, 4): "In him was life, and the life was the light of men."

NOTE. By that same biographer, in the profoundest of the gospels, Jesus is introduced by a conception essentially literary: he is called the Word (logos) made flesh and dwelling among us ( John i, 14); as if the

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