The History and Formaton of the New Testament

Chapter One

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four


In today’s North American Christian community the New Testament is often “believed” even though very few professing Christians have ever really read the entire text. Even fewer know the history of how and when it came into being. There are several famous books from antiquity. But, none of them are truly a library of harmonizing histories, personalities and thought. The Bible is a library, and libraries get built over many long years and centuries.[1]

Many Christians consider the New Testament to be a library of books from which faith in Jesus Christ can be obtained and theologically explained. It is the primary source, and often considered the only source that Christians can be taught the core truths of Jesus Christ’s life, words and ministry. This is why many theologians agree that the New Testament contains a basis for which the practice of Christianity can be considered to be a text based faith or religion.

The New Testament is considered to be Scripture, which in reality are sacred writings. If a text, place or object is considered to be sacred, it simply means there is an element of Godly involvement applied to it. Therefore if God wrote the New Testament through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of those who wrote it down during the first century, if would indeed be a sacred text.   

The more conservative side of evangelical Christianity considers the text of the New Testament to be inerrant in its original language, or perfect as a text. However, this perfection may exceed the comprehension of the human mind’s ability even in its original language. That is because of its authorship being found in the character of a perfect God. If God is holy and perfect in all ways, then what He has written will be within the same parameters.

God’s Word - both the Old Testament and the New Testament are complete in content. In other words, everything that is necessary for us as God’s creation to establish and maintain a vibrant and healthy relationship with God is contained in the text. Esoteric interpretations cannot apply if the text is indeed complete. It is obvious that many of the narratives of the New Testament are lacking details that could help us further in our journey of faith. Nevertheless, we can conclude that there must be a Godly reason why those details are not presented in the text, and that the text is still sufficient for Christian faith and practice.             

The historical content is somewhat limited to the local geography and the place names that were used during the time frames of the people who are described in the New Testament within the region of the Mediterranean Sea and Palestine. Most of the biographical content of the New Testament is about Jesus, some members of His immediate family and a few of His closest followers. Some of these followers were direct companions of Jesus, such as His disciples and apostles. Others were those who became part of the Christian faith after Jesus ascended into heave shortly after His resurrection.  

The theological content of the New Testament text is primarily contained in the Gospel according to John and Paul’s epistles. There are theological teachings and implications all throughout the entire New Testament. However, the general purpose of Paul’s letters is to theologically define the faith we have in Jesus Christ, and what the general applications are in our lives as Christians.  

[1] Friedberg, Lionel Who Wrote the Bible (A&E Television Network, 2002) quote by John P. Meier


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