Bible 100 Lenten Edition Summary 6
This Lent we are learning the Bible, Bible 100 style. In other words, we’re developing an overview of the entire collection of 66 books. Here’s a summary of what we covered this week. If any of this sparks your curiosity, I hope you will watch the short videos I recorded through Facebook Live. Of course, you can always turn to the Bible to learn even more!
- Jesus appointed 12 Apostles from among the Disciples. (Matthew 10:1-4, Mark 3:13-19, Luke 10:14-16)
- Judas committed suicide (Matthew 27:5), leaving only 11 Apostles. He was replaced by Matthias. (Acts 1:21-26)
- Jesus ever told his Apostles to write anything down or memorize anything. Jesus was about transformation.
- The stories of Jesus were originally told orally. This began to change within two or three decades of the crucifixion. Due to increased persecution, increased missionary work, and the realization that Jesus would not be back immediately.
- There are thousands of ancient manuscripts of the New Testament, but many are only fragments. Click here to see a fragment from the Gospel of John that is from 125 CE.
- Christians used “low-status notebooks,” the codex form to record material that became the first Gospels.
- Matthew, Mark, and Luke are the Synoptic Gospels. John is “the spiritual gospel.”
- The Synoptic Puzzle describes a collection of scholarly theories about how Matthew, Mark, and Luke were composed and in what order.
- The Gospels should not be compared to modern biographies because they are ancient documents.
- The Gospels do not tell us what happened to Jesus’ earthly parents.
- The Gospels do not tell us details about Jesus’ appearance (for example, how tall he was).
- The 4 Gospels give us both a composite picture of Jesus and 4 individual pictures of Jesus and what was significant about his ministry.
- A second-century Christian named Tatian harmonized the Gospels in a work called The Diatessaron. This tells us there was widespread agreement on the status of the 4 Gospels by that time.
- Jesus taught using parables. There are 40 parables total, but only 7 of those appear in all 3 Synoptic Gospels. Matthew and Luke share a dozen parables. The Parable of the Good Samaritan is only in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 10:30-37).
- The only two books of the Bible written by a Gentile are Luke and Acts.
- Pentecost is described in Acts 2. Pentecost is the Jewish pilgrimage festival commemorating when God gave Moses the law. For Christians, it celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit because of what is described in Acts 2.
- The church experiences exponential growth, from about 120 believers to over 3,000.
- The church in Acts has four characteristics: teaching, fellowship, communion and prayer. (Acts 2:43-47)
- The disciple Stephen summarizes the biblical story in Acts 7 before he is martyred.
- The church began to experience persecution. Initially, the persecution came from the Jewish leaders who saw Christianity as a divergent sect of Judaism.
- Saul of Tarsus was appointed to halt the growth of Christianity. (Acts 9:1-2)
- On the way to Damascus, Saul was blinded by a bright light and Jesus spoke to him. Saul was thereafter known as Paul and he was transformed from the lead prosecutor (persecutor) to the chief missionary and evangelist.
- Paul went to Arabia for 3 years following his Damascus Road conversion experience. While he was there, Jesus taught him the gospel. (Galatians 1:11-19)
- Paul went on at least three missionary journeys. If you have a study Bible, these are probably mapped out for you.
- Paul summarizes the biblical story in Acts 13:16-42.
- The first missionary journey is described in Acts 13-14.
- #1 probably takes place at some point between 46 and 49 CE. Paul may write Galatians while he’s on this journey.
- The second missionary journey is described in Acts 15-18.
- #2 probably takes place in the early to mid-50’s. Paul travels with Silas and Timothy. On this journey, they meet Luke who writes Luke and Acts.
- On journey #2 Paul travels to Philippi where he converts a woman named Lydia. (Acts 16:14)
- Paul may write 1 & 2 Thessalonians on this journey.
- Paul and his entourage are arrested for disturbing the peace, but an earthquake shakes the jail open. Paul and Co. stay and concert the jailer. (Acts 16:33)
- The third missionary journey is in Acts 18-21.
- #3 probably takes place between 54 and 57 CE.
- Scholars seem to agree Paul wrote 1&2 Corinthians and Romans on this trip, and some say this is also when he wrote Galatians, Philemon, and Philippians.
- For most of the third missionary journey, Paul was in Ephesus, a hub for maritime trade giving him access to a wide cross-section of ancient people. Because of this, “all the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord.” (Acts 19:10)
- Paul is arrested (though some describe it as protective custody) and eventually is taken to Rome. In Rome, he lived by himself at his own expense. (Acts 28:16,30)
- An epistle is a letter, written to be read out loud and shared.
- Romans is a theological masterpiece.
- All humans lack their own righteousness (Romans 1:18-3:20), but righteousness can be imputed to us through our faith in Christ. (Romans 3:21-5:21)
- Our imputed righteousness is no reason to sin, but instead is a path to freedom. (Romans 6:15)
- The Jewish people “are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gift and his call are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:28-29)
- Romans was probably written on Paul’s 3rd Missionary Journey around 57 CE.
- In Romans, Paul mentions a female apostle named Junia. (Romans 16:7) For a time, Biblical translators assumed this was an ancient typo because it referred to a woman being “prominent among the apostles.” Junia became Junias, a man’s name. You can read more about this at juniaproject.com/who-was-junia.
- Church politics and conflict are, unfortunately, nothing new.
- Paul spent 18 months in Corinth on the second missionary journey. (Acts 18:11)
- The people of Corinth faced unique cultural challenges. Corinth was a double seaport town with a huge temple to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. Ships would dock on one side of the peninsula, off-load their cargo which would be transported by land to the other side of the peninsula and loaded onto another ship to continue the voyage.
- Click here for a Google Maps Satellite image of the Corinth Canal.
- In 1 Corinthians, Paul compares the church to the human body “made up of many parts and though all its parts are many, they form one body.” (1 Corinthians 12:12)
- “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?” (Galatians 3:1)
- Paul mentions that his “physical infirmity” brought him to Galatia in the first place. (Galatians 4:13-14) This may have been an eye problem related to the Damascus Road conversion experience because in verse 15 he says, “you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.”
- Paul argues against circumcision because that marks the old covenant based on laws which Jesus came to fulfill. (Galatians 5:6)
- Paul reminds the Galatians that their freedom in Christ is not “an opportunity for self-indulgence.” (Galatians 5:13)
- According to Acts 19, Paul was in Ephesus for two years. (Acts 19:1,10)
- There is scholarly disagreement about whether Paul wrote Ephesians. Of Paul’s 13 letters, only 7 of are of “undisputed” authorship.
- If Paul wrote it, it may be the letter written while he was en route to Rome and referenced in Acts 20:17.
- “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
- The church at Philippi was established in Acts 16:11-15 when Paul converted a woman merchant named Lydia.
- “Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” (Philippians 1:27)
- Christians are reoriented to live in harmony with each other and with Christ at the center of their lives. (Colossians 3:1-4,12-17)
- Christ is described as “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation … the head of the body, the church.” (Colossians 1:15,18) Through Christ “God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things.” (Colossians 1:20)
- The Christians in Colossae need to be wary of four types of distractions: (1) hollow and deceptive philosophy tied to spiritual fads, (2) excessive legalism, (3) phony mysticism, and (4) excessive asceticism. (Colossians 2)
- 1 Thessalonians is widely accepted to be written by Paul, but not 2 Thessalonians.
- Unlike other letters to churches, Paul celebrates the church in Thessalonica and expresses appreciation for their loving relationship.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:17 has caused some controversy. Some Christians read this as a prophecy of a physical, bodily Rapture, like that described in the book series, Left Behind. Other Christians read this as an assurance that after the Second Coming, the living and the dead will be with God forever.
Want to sum up this week’s lessons in just a handful of verses? Try these:
- Luke 2:8-16 (Jesus is born)
- John 14:6-7 (Jesus is the way)
- Mark 15:37-39 (Jesus dies)
- Luke 24:5-7 (Jesus is Risen)
- Luke 24:50-51 (Jesus ascends to heaven)
- Acts 2:1-4, 41 (Holy Spirit descends at Pentecost and church grows)
- Acts 9:3-5 (Saul becomes Paul)
- Acts 11:25-26 (Paul begins teaching)
- Acts 19:9-10 (Christianity spreads)