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Wednesday, November 06 2019

“The Catholic church put the Bible together in the late fourth century, so the New Testament Scriptures do not reveal the true teachings of Jesus and early Christianity.” This is a common assertion of unbelievers, Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, and more. However, scholars recognize that the New Testament writings date to the first century and are the earliest writings of the Christian faith.

            Christians can and must trust the collection of the New Testament Scriptures. Jesus never questioned the Old Testament Scriptures that the prophets collected, priests protected, and scribes passed down. Jesus noted the three parts of the Jewish Scriptures, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44 ESV). He also declared, “My words will not pass away” (Matt 24:35; cf. Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33). The scribes that Jesus promised have fulfilled Jesus’s words (Matt 23:34).

            The apostle Paul recognized the New Testament Scriptures being written in his time as he quoted Jesus in the Gospel of Luke as “Scripture” by stating “the laborer is worthy of his wages” (1 Tim 5:18; cf. Luke 10:7). Paul is quite passive in recognizing the Gospel of Luke as “Scripture” as he expected all Christians to have already accepted this. In Luke’s Gospel, he wrote a consecutive order just as eyewitnesses had written previous accounts about Jesus (Luke 1:1–3). Scholars recognize that Luke quoted from Mark’s Gospel and from Matthew’s Gospel or source confirming the preexistence of Mark’s Gospel and probably Matthew’s Gospel.

            The apostle Paul did not intend his writings only for those explicitly addressed but included “with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” when he wrote the church in Corinth (1 Cor 1:2; cf. 2 Cor 1:1). The church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ as the cornerstone (Eph 2:19–22). For this reason, the apostle Paul revealed, “When you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;” (Eph 3:4–5).

            Peter recognized “all” of Paul’s epistles were “Scripture” written to Christians throughout Asia, Galatia, Pontus, Cappadocia, and Bithynia (2 Pet 3:15; cf. 1 Pet 1:1). Peter anticipated that all these churches had all of Paul’s epistles when Paul did not specifically write to churches in Pontus, Cappadocia, and Bithynia. These scriptures demonstrate that the Scriptures did spread throughout the world. Peter encouraged all these Christians to “remember the words spoken” by the Apostles and so to read Paul’s epistles (2 Pet 3:2).

            Peter noted that John and he had “the prophetic word” more fully confirmed than by hearing God’s voice on the mount of Jesus’s transfiguration (2 Pet 1:16–19). Peter added that Christians must attend to this prophetic word knowing “that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet 1:20–21). Peter would have been referring to Paul’s writings among these Scriptures as he noted later in his letter, and this is true in addition to John and him writing Scripture too (cf. 1 John 1:4).

             Christians can and must trust the Scriptures as the all-sufficient guide for teaching and good works as the apostle Paul taught (2 Tim 3:16–17). Thank God that His apostles noted the Scriptures in the first century.

Posted by: Scott J Shifferd AT 08:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email