Biblical Studies (NT)

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THE NEW TESTAMENT

An Introductory Course



Fragment from an early copy of the Gospel of Matthew written on papyrus (ca. 250 AD).

The Christian scriptures, known as The Bible, are divided into two major sections: the Old Testament, which pre-dates Christianity and is comprised of the Jewish scriptures, and the New Testament, written early in the Christian era.

This is an entry-level course designed for students who have little or no prior knowledge of the New Testament. The goals of the course are:

a) To provide a general introduction and overview of the New Testament, including its major characters, authors, themes, and background.
b) To lay the foundation for more specialized courses on individual New Testament books and specific topics within Christian theology.

Due to the diverse nature of Wikiversity's participants, every effort has been made to keep these lessons free of personal or sectarian bias. The lessons are not intended to be understood as religious or doctrinal statements, and students should draw their own conclusions with regard to the nature and integrity of the New Testament itself.


Introduction to the New Testament[edit]

LESSON 1

A Rich Tapestry - The Importance of Context - Unity in Diversity - The Bible as Literature - The Lessons - How to Grade Yourself - Abbreviations



Gospels I: Authorship and Historical Setting[edit]

LESSON 2

Introduction to the Gospels - Matthew - Mark - Luke - The Synoptic Problem - John - The Emphasis of Each Gospel - The Historical Setting



Gospels II: Jesus[edit]

LESSON 3

(A) JESUS' LIFE AND MINISTRY: The Birth of Jesus - Jesus’ Childhood - Phases of Jesus’ Ministry - Jesus’ Baptism - The Temptation - The Sermon on the Mount - The Transfiguration - The Triumphal Entry - The Olivet Discourse - The Last Supper - Jesus’ Trial and Crucifixion - The Resurrection - The Ascension
(B) WHO WAS JESUS?: The Word of God - Both Human and Divine - The Sacrificial Lamb



Gospels III: The Twelve Apostles[edit]

LESSON 4

Jesus Selects the Twelve - Peter - Andrew - James - John - Philip - Bartholomew (Nathanael) - Matthew (Levi) - Thomas - James, Son of Alphaeus - Simon the Zealot - Judas, Son of James - Judas Iscariot



Gospels IV: Other Important People[edit]

LESSON 5

Joseph - Mary, Mother of Jesus - The Wise Men from the East - King Herod the Great - King Herod Antipas - John the Baptist - Nicodemus - Mary Magdalene - Mary, Martha, and Lazarus - Pontius Pilate - The Pharisees and the Sadducees



Acts I: The Birth of the Church[edit]

LESSON 6

The Place of Acts in the New Testament - The Author - The Establishment of the Church - Matthias - The Coming of the Holy Spirit - Peter - Administration in the Early Church - Stephen - The Jewish Establishment - Philip - The Gospel Is Preached to Gentiles - The Roman Empire and Church Growth.



Acts II: The Ministry of Paul[edit]

LESSON 7

Paul Persecutes the Church - Paul’s Background - Paul’s Conversion - Paul Comes to Antioch - Paul’s First Missionary Journey - Rejected by His Own People - The Jerusalem Council - Paul’s Second Missionary Journey - Paul’s Third Missionary Journey - Paul Is Arrested - Caesarea - Paul Appeals to Caesar - Paul Goes to Rome - An "Unexcelled Missionary Statesman"



The Epistles of Paul: Saved by Grace[edit]

LESSON 8

(A) INTRODUCTION: What Is an Epistle? - Chronological Order of Paul's Epistles
(B) BACKGROUND: The Roman Empire - Romans - 1&2 Corinthians - Galatians - Ephesians - Philippians - Colossians - 1&2 Thessalonians - 1&2 Timothy - Titus - Philemon - Paul as Pastor
(C) THEOLOGY: Saved by Grace - Regeneration - Justification - Sanctification - Faith in Christ



The Epistle to the Hebrews: The Old Versus the New[edit]

LESSON 9

(A) BACKGROUND: Who Wrote Hebrews? - To Whom Was It Written? - The Jewish Community - Orthodox Jews and Christian Jews - The Judaizers - The Jewish Rebellion
(B) MAJOR THEMES: The Superiority of Christ and the New Covenant Over What Had Existed Before - The Mysterious Melchizedek - The Importance of Faith - Heroes of Faith



The Epistle of James: Faith and Action[edit]

LESSON 10

The Author – The Addressees – The Importance of Faith – Faith and Action – Examples of Faith in Action



The Epistles of Peter: Persecution and Heresy[edit]

LESSON 11

Authorship of 1 Peter - Authorship of 2 Peter - The Addressees - Location and Date of Writing - Nero Persecutes the Church - Peter’s Courage - Sylvanus - False Teachers - The Last Days



The Epistles of John: God Is Love[edit]

LESSON 12

The Author – The Addressees – An Eyewitness of Christ – The Rise of Gnosticism - The Spirit of Antichrist – God Is Love – Diotrephes and Demetrius



The Epistle of Jude: Religious Hypocrisy[edit]

LESSON 13

Authorship - Addressees - False Teachers



Revelation I: Introduction[edit]

LESSON 14

A Dramatic Conclusion to the Bible Story - The Author - Date and Location - The Roman Empire and Religious Persecution - Major Characters - Ways of Interpreting Revelation - John’s Commission - Outline of Revelation



Revelation II: The Seven Asian Churches[edit]

LESSON 15

Jesus Speaks to the Churches - Ephesus - Smyrna - Pergamos - Thyatira - Sardis - Philadelphia - Laodicea



Revelation III: The Seven Seals[edit]

LESSON 16

The Lamb Takes the Scroll - The First Six Seals - 144,000 Israelites - The Seventh Seal



Revelation IV: The Seven Trumpets[edit]

LESSON 17

The First Six Trumpets - The Two Witnesses - The Seventh Trumpet - The Dragon, the Woman, and the Child - The Resurrection and the Rapture - Satan is Cast Down - The Archangel Michael - The Beast from the Sea - The Beast from the Land - The Abomination of Desolation - The Harvest



Revelation V: The Seven Bowls[edit]

LESSON 18

The Bowl Judgments - Babylon - The Battle of Armageddon - The Millennium - The Last Judgment - The New Jerusalem - The Supreme Riddle



In Conclusion...[edit]

IN CONCLUSION...

Congratulations! - What to Do Next? - What You Should Know about Published Works - The Importance of the Old Testament to the New - Never Stop Learning!




Other Resources[edit]

  • The Bible
  • The New Testament is full of quotes from and allusions to the Old Testament (Hebrew scriptures). For this and other reasons, it is helpful to have a version with a good cross-referencing system in the footnotes or margins. Note: translations vary from literal to paraphrase; choose according to preference and needs. There are also Bible software programs, and online Bibles which allow the user to read the Bible free of charge on screen, and also to search for specific words or passages (e.g. www.BibleGateway.com).
  • Courses in Wikiversity:
  • Articles in Wikipedia:
  • There are articles on just about every Biblical book and topic in Wikipedia, many of which are extremely useful. The reader should be warned, however, that they vary in quality and sometimes reflect the biases of their most recent editors.
  • Books:
  • Merrill C. Tenney, ed. Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary. Zondervan, 1999. (Brief articles on just about everything in the Bible in alphabetical order.)
  • Merrill C. Tenney, ed. Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible. (5 Vol.) Zondervan, 1975. (A larger version of the dictionary. More articles, and more in-depth.)
  • Merrill Unger, Gary Larson. The New Unger's Bible Handbook. Moody, 2005. (Overview of the whole Bible. Especially helpful for new students.)
  • F.L. Cross and E.A. Livingstone, eds. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford University Press, 2005. (People, movements, doctrines, history, etc.)
  • Carson, France, Motyer, & Wenham, eds. The New Bible Commentary. Intervarsity Press, 1994. (Chapter by chapter commentary on the whole Bible.)
  • Walter A. Elwell, ed. Topical Analysis of the Bible. Baker, 1991. (Biblical theology by topic.)
  • Bruce M. Metzger. The Text of the New Testament. Oxford University Press, 2005. (Issues and history of the Greek texts from which we get the New Testament.)
  • Leland Ryken. How to Read the Bible as Literature. Zondervan, 1984. (A literary, rather than theological, approach to the Bible.)
  • Werner Keller. The Bible as History. BN Publishing, 2008. (A fascinating examination of the Bible in the light of archeology.)
  • Barbara Friberg, Timothy Friberg, eds. Analytical Greek New Testament. Baker, 1981. (Use with an interlinear NT, such as the one listed below.)
  • Alfred Marshall. The NIV Interlinear Greek-English New Testament. Zondervan, 1976. (The Greek text and English translation side by side.)



Lessons at a Glance[edit]

Lesson 1. Introduction to the New Testament

Lesson 2. Gospels: Authorship & Historical Setting

Lesson 3. Gospels: Jesus

Lesson 4. Gospels: The Twelve Apostles

Lesson 5. Gospels: Other Important People

Lesson 6. Acts: Birth of the Church

Lesson 7. Acts: Ministry of Paul

Lesson 8. Epistles of Paul: Saved by Grace

Lesson 9. Epistle to the Hebrews: The Old Versus the New

Lesson 10. Epistle of James: Faith and Action

Lesson 11. Epistles of Peter: Persecution and Heresy

Lesson 12. Epistles of John: God Is Love

Lesson 13. Epistle of Jude: Religious Hypocrisy

Lesson 14. Revelation: Introduction

Lesson 15. Revelation: The Seven Asian Churches

Lesson 16. Revelation: The Seven Seals

Lesson 17. Revelation: The Seven Trumpets

Lesson 18. Revelation: The Seven Bowls

In Conclusion...