Biblical Studies (NT)/In Conclusion...
Congratulations![edit | edit source]
If you have worked your way through all of the lessons in this course, together with their multiple choice tests and assigned readings... Congratulations! You should be commended for your persistence and self-motivation. Hopefully, it has been a rewarding study which has enriched your knowledge of the New Testament. If you haven't already done so, follow the instructions in Lesson 1 to grade yourself. (The instructions are also on the score sheet.) You may also wish to leave a sentence or two expressing your thoughts on the course (click on the "discussion" tab, above.)
What to Do Next?[edit | edit source]
Bear in mind that this course is just an introduction to the New Testament. Perhaps it has fulfilled your needs as far as New Testament studies are concerned, or perhaps it has whetted your appetite to know more. If the latter is the case, you can increase your knowledge and understanding by taking courses which provide a more in-depth focus on specific Biblical books and topics. A few courses are currently available in Wikiversity, and no doubt more will be added as time goes by. Colleges, universities, and churches also offer courses and study groups.
If you prefer to study the Bible on your own, you can use the study aids listed under Other Resources on the Contents page. If you do not currently own any of these, it is recommended that you begin by obtaining the handbook, the commentary, and the Bible dictionary or encyclopedia (the encyclopedia is just a larger, more comprehensive version of the dictionary).
What You Should Know about Published Works[edit | edit source]
Be aware that not all commentaries, dictionaries, etc. are alike. They vary in quality, but more importantly, in their approach to the Bible. Some take a high view of the integrity of the Biblical text. They are written by scholars who believe that the Bible has been copied and handed down faithfully through the centuries (the Dead Sea Scrolls seem to bear this out). Such scholars accept the Bible's claims for authorship, dating, historical accuracy, etc.
Other scholars take the position that the Biblical text has been edited extensively over the years, and believe that its claims for authorship, dating, and historicity are unreliable. Scholars in this group often dismiss the notion of divine inspiration, and take the position that Bible predictions which seem to have been fulfilled must have been written after the fact, a belief which has serious implications for authorship, dating, and the Bible's integrity.
Most published works on the Bible, including commentaries and dictionaries, consistently adhere to one or the other of these paradigms (one can often tell which by looking at the publisher). As we get to know more about the subject, our sympathies may also lean toward one or the other of these positions. However, there are respected scholars in both camps, so it is good to keep an open mind and to be familiar with the rationale behind both schools of thought.
It is also worth noting that, while it is convenient to divide scholarship into these broad categories, the reality of the world of Christian theology is far more complex. Within these two broad schools, there are a diversity of views on every conceivable Biblical topic, and we are just as entitled as anyone else to draw our own conclusions, once we become acquainted with the facts. Published works often speak as though their position on a given theological topic is the only position, but that is rarely the case, and the student should not be taken in by such dogmatism.
The Importance of the Old Testament to the New[edit | edit source]
Finally, any serious student of the New Testament should consider becoming acquainted with the Old Testament (Hebrew scriptures). Some people focus their attention entirely on the New Testament to the exclusion of the Old. However, the Old Testament provides background which is crucial to a complete understanding of the New Testament and its authors.
For example, the chief evidence for Jesus' Messiahship for the New Testament authors was not that he performed miracles, but that he fulfilled Old Testament prophecies. To establish this, they filled their writings with quotes from, and allusions to, the Hebrew scriptures, and it is helpful to know the context of these quotes and allusions (obtaining a Bible with a good cross-referencing system is the first step).
Jesus, himself, made frequent references to the Hebrew scriptures. When he spoke his famous words on the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mt 27:46), he was quoting the opening line of Psalm 22, a song of worship which would have been familiar to the Jews who were gathered there. Psalm 22 is classified as a "Messianic psalm" and it contains details which pertain to the crucifixion. Students who wish to take their knowledge to a deeper level, therefore, should acquire a basic knowledge of the Old Testament at some point.
Never Stop Learning![edit | edit source]
Thank you for using this Wikiversity course, and may your appetite for learning continue to bring you personal growth and satisfaction.
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