Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Reading Your New Testament - Introduction

In light of the New Testament in 75 Days Challenge starting less than a week from now, I thought I'd post some thoughts over the next few days as to how you can make the most of this challenge.  Some are fairly unfamiliar with the New Testament Scriptures (often abbreviated as NT), so let me make some introductions.

The NT was written in the mid to late first century AD, covering about 50 or so years of history.  For those who struggle with dates, something along the lines of 45-95 AD (depending on who you ask).  It is comprised of 27 books authored by God, inspiring 9 humans.  Its books comprise historiographies of Jesus most often called Gospels, a history book, several letters to groups and individuals, a sermon, and a piece of apocalyptic literature (the book of Revelation).

Many wonder about its reliability, asking the question can we trust its revelation of God to us?  The overwhelming answer is yes.  The textual evidence that it was faithfully and clearly and accurately reproduced far outweighs any other piece of literature in Antiquity and even through the Middle Ages.  In other words, since they didn't have Xerox or Kinkos, they had to copy it by hand and did so with great care and amazing accuracy.  You can google "New Testament Reliability" and come up with papers like this one that give historical evidence of God's preservation of His Word for the coming generations.

The bigger question, though, is how you and I will interact with it.  If we pick it up, read it, walk away from it without any intention of doing it, we'll find ourselves biblically smarter but spiritually smaller.  So in the midst of the reading, seek to obey it or find out how to obey it.  You won't regret that.

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