The New Testament
E. W. AVERILL
Copyright by the
Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Diocese of New York, 2012
THE NEW TESTAMENT
Character of the New Testament
The New Testament is the most interesting and the most important book ever written. Though composed nearly two thousand years ago it has a larger circulation every year than any other book printed. The original language in which it was composed was Greek. It has been translated into every written language under the sun, and the English translation called the King James version is the greatest classic in the English language. There are other more modern versions or translations, which give a more literal rendering of the Greek, and sometimes a clearer interpretation, but none have displaced the melodious King James version, translated by the scholars of the Church of England and dedicated to King James I in 1611.
Reason for Its Influence
The reason for the hold which the New Testament has on the hearts of men is the subject which it discusses, the origin of the Christian religion, and the life and teaching of its divine Founder. It is the culmination of the Divine Word which began with Moses four thousand years ago, and in a progressive revelation, through the prophetic writers of the Old Testament, finally culminated in the full and perfect teaching and life of Jesus Christ, the only Son of God. For this reason the Bible as a whole, and most of all, the New Testament is called the Word or revelation of God.
This does not mean, as was once generally held, and is still believed by some, that God dictated the [1/2] Bible as a man might dictate a letter to his stenographer. This would make God responsible for all the inaccuracies in the Bible of which there are many, but rather men were moved by the Spirit of God who dwells in all of us, to write in their own language and according to their own knowledge, the thoughts which God gave them to write. God did not inspire them to write about history or science, but about something infinitely more important, about the nature of God and the nature of man; about man's relation to God; what God plans for man, what man's duty to God is; how man can obtain eternal salvation. If you will stop a moment and consider the import of these matters, you can easily see why the Bible is called the Word of God, and why it is loved and treasured more than any other book. It is for countless millions of men the Book of Life!
However in order to possess that treasure of Truth, it is necessary to study, and to search the Scripture. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. This means, he that has a mind to understand Eternal Truth, let him tune his heart to the meaning of the Divine Word.
The New Testament is not a large volume. It consists of about two hundred pages. It is made up of twenty-seven so-called "books". Ten of these are fairly long, consisting of 13 or more chapters, the remaining 17 books are short, containing not more than 6 chapters each, and can be read through in the space of half an hour.
Types of Writing
There are four types of writing among these books. The first four called Gospels are biographical, the next book The Acts of the Apostles is historical, [2/3] then follow twenty letters, called Epistles, some personal, some circular letters, written to groups of people, and last of all a book of imaginary visions called the Revelation.
These books were written by eleven different authors; almost half of them, 13 letters, by St. Paul; the other eight by five other writers. Four of St. Paul's letters were written to individuals, and nine to different Christian congregations. The other Epistles except two, written to individuals, were written as circular letters, addressed to all the Churches. The book of Revelation is in the form of seven letters, addressed to seven Churches in Asia Minor. Though many authors, the New Testament is one book, because it deals with one subject.
What is the meaning of the word "Testament"?
The word "Testament" means a will, a document bequeathing the estate of a dying person to his legal heirs. This is a confusing term. The Greek word for Testament is "diatheke," which means covenant or agreement. It would be very much better if this word were used instead of Testament. The two parts of the Bible are the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The Old Covenant is the agreement which God made with Abraham and Moses, in ancient times and which constituted the Hebrews as God's people. It was the basis of the ancient Church. The New Covenant displaced the Old, and the Christian Church sprang from this new revelation which Christ brought to men. The two parts of the Bible are often referred to as the Law and the Gospel. St. John says I, 17, The Law was given by Moses but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
 What is the content of the New Testament? How many books has it? What is their character?
In how many different ways can we classify the Epistles?
What are the various books about? How many Gospels? What is a Gospel?
Were there any Gospels not included in the New Testament? See St. Luke, I, 1.
Why do we call the Bible the Word of God? What are subjects of revelation? Why are they important to us?
What do we mean by the Inspiration of the Bible?
What is meant by Verbal Inspiration? Why is verbal inspiration unreasonable?
What do we say about inspiration in the Creed? How does this agree with Hebrews I, 1?
What kinds of literature are there in the N. T.?
Are all books of the N. T. of the same value? Which are of the most importance?
Is it a good thing to read some of the N. T. every day?
What did Christ mean when he said, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear?"
As the New Testament narrates historical facts, it fits into the background of secular history. St. Luke (II, 2 and III, 1), is heedful to give the exact dates of Christ's birth, and St. John the Baptist's ministry, and we may enlarge upon the scene.
The civil ruler of Palestine at the time of the birth of Christ, was King Herod the Great. He [4/5] held his position by virtue of the favor of the Roman Emperor, because Palestine, as well as all the rest of the world about the Mediterranean Sea, was a part of the Empire of the Caesars, and ruled from Rome. Considerable freedom was permitted to these subject kings, and Herod was left a free hand in the administration of his territory.
Herod's reign was marked by great building enterprises, new cities were reared, marble palaces erected, and the sacred Temple in Jerusalem was enlarged and beautified with gold and costly adornment. On the other hand, Herod was a cruel, suspicious, unscrupulous man, and committed many tyrannical acts. He murdered his wife and son and many other subjects, so that the killing of the babes of Bethlehem was a matter of small concern. He died in 4 B.C. (due to a mistake in calculating the calendar) and as Christ was born before the death of Herod, we must place the date of the Nativity at not later than 4 B.C.
When Herod died, his kingdom was divided into four provinces. Judea was given to Archelaus, Galilee to Herod Antipas, the Herod of the Gospels, who beheaded John the Baptist, and whom Christ called "that fox," Damascus and Syria were given to Philip, a good ruler, and the fourth part to Lysanias. Archalaus was so tyrannical that after ten years he was removed by Rome, and Judea became a province under Roman Governors. These were Gratus, 16 to 26 A.D., Pontius Pilate, 26 to 36 A.D. After Pilate's removal, Herod Agrippa, grandson of Herod the Great, ruled all of Palestine. After his death, the Roman Governors returned. Felix, 53 A.D. succeeded by Festus, 60 A.D. These two were the Governors before whom St. Paul appeared, and by whom he was sent to Rome, as we [5/6] read at the end of the Book of Acts.
Palestine itself is a small country, about the size of the state of Vermont. It lies between the Mediterranean on the West and the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River and the Dead Sea on the East. The northern part is Galilee, the middle part, Samaria, and the southern part, Judea. Jerusalem was situated in Judea, and here dwelt the members of the priesthood, and the wealthy and influential Jews. The people of Galilee were also Jews, but were looked down upon as provincial and unimportant, though they were devoted to their religion and went up to Jerusalem to worship at the great feasts. The Samaritans, though they had the same Bible and worshiped the same God, were not Jews at all, and were bitterly hated by the Jews. Their Temple was on Mt. Gerizim, in Samaria.
There were many Jews in Rome, Alexandria, and the other cities of the Empire, many of whom were rich and influential, and who came to Jerusalem each year to keep the Passover.
The Roman rule was oppressive, and the Jews bitterly resented it. The spirit of rebellion was rife. The taxes were heavy, and unjust, and were collected by Jewish officials called Publicans. The Publicans were hated even more than the Romans, because they were willing to act as agents for the Roman Government, and were social outcasts. It was a bitter reproach against our Lord, that he was "A friend of Publicans and sinners."
Besides the Publicans, there are other groups mentioned in the New Testament, such as the Scribes, the Pharasees, the Lawyers, and the Sadusees, the Herodians, and the Zealots. The Zealots were a guerilla group, ready to break out into active rebellion against the Roman Power. The Herodians [6/7] were a court group, who desired to placate the Romans and live on friendly terms with them. The Sadusees were the priestly cast who occupied the high offices in the Church, and were friendly with the Romans. The Scribes and Lawyers were learned in the Law, which means not civil law, but the law of Moses, the religious law of the nation, the Bible. In opposition to the Sadusees were the Pharasees who stood for the strict literalism of the law, and went beyond it, building up a hedge around it to protect it. Thus they developed so many traditions, that they often forgot the spirit and true purpose of the Law. Christ in his controversy with them pointed out many cases of this sort. The Pharasees were respected by the people, and exercised great influence. This was the situation when Christianity came into the world.
1. Describe the geographical features of Palestine. Let all the pupils draw a map indicating the location of the Mediterranean, the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River, the Dead Sea. The divisions of Galilee, Samaria, and Judea. The cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Cana, Nain, Capurnium.
2. Who were the civil rulers? How many Herods are mentioned in the N. T.? How many Roman Governors?
3. Describe the various groups, Publicans, Scribes, Pharasees, Sadusees.
ST. MATTHEW I to IV
 The Gospel of St. Matthew is strongly Jewish in tone and naturally follows upon the Old Testament. It presents Christ as the Messiah who had been foretold by the ancient prophets, and points out how many of these prophesies have been fulfilled. There are many expressions which reveal the Jewish point of view. Jerusalem is the "Holy City." The phrase "The Kingdom of Heaven" is used, where as the other Evangelists speak of "The Kingdom of God." Christ came not to destroy the Law and the Prophets (the Old Testament), but to fulfill them. One jot or title of the law shall not pass away until all be fulfilled. Nevertheless, the leaders of the Jews, the Scribes and Pharasees, did not accept Him, repudiated His claims, and rejected His teaching. So Christ begins the organization of a new Church, by calling His disciples and instructing them. He is finally arrested and crucified by the Romans at the instigation of the Jews, both Pharasees, and Sadusees. He rises from the dead on the third day, and makes His religion universal or catholic, by sending His disciples to convert all nations, and baptize them into His Church. This is the plan, or plot of St. Matthew's Gospel.
Chapter I. The geneological table connects the book with the Old Testament as many similar tables are found there. See Gen. V.
The table extends from Abraham to Christ and is divided into three sections of 14 generations each. This means little to us, but numbers were of great significance to the Jews. Seven was a sacred number, and twice seven or fourteen was doubly sacred. God promised Abraham that his son (descendent) should [8/9] possess an eternal kingdom. In 14 generations from Abraham, David was born and founded the Kingdom. In 14 generations more, the kingdom was destroyed and the people carried into captivity. Now, for the third time, 14 generations pass, and the true Son of David is born, who shall restore the Kingdom, and make it eternal. This argument may not impress us, but it would impress the devout Jew who believed in the meaning of Sacred Numbers.
Then follows the account of the Virgin Birth of Christ, as told from the point of view of St. Joseph. (St. Luke gives the story as told by the Virgin Mary.)
In Chapter II we have the story of the coming of the Wise Men from the East, in anticipation of the time when the doors of the Church should be opened to the Gentile world. The gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh have received many symbolic and mystical interpretations, but all of them associated with worship, which consists of paying homage to the Christ in some outward symbolic form. They have been made to stand for Faith, Hope and Love. For Work, Prayer, and Suffering. For Money, Worship, and Penitence, etc.
(Longfellow has a beautiful poem on the Magi which might well be read in class by one of the pupils.)
The massacre of the infants of Bethlehem is quite in accord with the character of Herod. See previous chapter. This and the Flight into Egypt and the return to Nazareth fulfill many Old Testament prophecies.
Chapter III contains the narrative of the work of John the Baptist, and gives a sample of his preaching.
 It ends with the account of the Baptism of Christ, at which is now revealed for the first time, the Holy Trinity, the Spirit descending in the form of a dove, and the voice of the Father from heaven saying "This is my beloved Son."
Chapter IV. The Baptism is immediately followed by the Temptation in the Wilderness. It shows us that spiritual privilege, and the sacraments do not remove us from the sphere of temptation, that the holiest are tempted as well as the average man, that temptation is not sin, and that temptation is no excuse for sin, because God gives us the power to resist, and that by resisting, we grow in character.
The Church keeps 40 days of Lent in commemoration of Christ's fasting 40 days in the wilderness, and appropriately reads the story of the Temptation as the Gospel for the First Sunday in Lent.
Following the Temptation, Christ begins his public ministry by removing His abode from Nazareth to Capurnaum, and by beginning the formation of a group of disciples.
Chapter IV, 23 tells of the beginning of the public ministry. Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the Kingdom.
1. What did the 14 generations mean to the author of the Gospel?
2. Read the prophecy referred to Isaiah VII.
3. Where did the Wise Men come from? Were they Kings?
4. What is the symbolism of their gifts?
5. In our worship what gifts do we bring?
6. Why should Christ have been baptized?
7. Why is temptation necessary?
8. What do we learn from the Temptation of Christ?
9. What are the chief temptations of youth?
ST. MATTHEW, V TO VII
 Chapters V to VII contains the Sermon on the Mount. It is one of the longest, and best known discourses of our Lord.
It is introduced by the eight Beatitudes, in which Christ defines elements of the blessed life. Blessedness is something deeper than happiness. Happiness is the emotion of the passing moment. It comes and goes. Blessedness is a deep internal possession of the soul, which is not disturbed by ever changing feelings of daily experience. In each case there is a compensation which more than makes up for the apparent loss or misfortune.
The Master then explains his relation to the Old Testament, the Law and the Prophets. He has not come to destroy but to fulfill. This means to give the ancient law its full spiritual interpretation. This he illustrates in the case of the three commands, against Murder, against Adultery, and against Perjury; showing that the law may be violated in word and thought, as well as in deed; that the motive of love fulfills the law, and that as children of God, we are to be perfect, as our Heavenly Father is perfect.
In Chapter VI, the principle of inward devotion is applied to the three chief practices of religion, prayer, almsgiving and fasting. It is assumed that all men will pray, fast and give alms, but it must be fulfilled not as an external act for show but as an inward act of devotion.
The chapter concludes with an appeal to trust [11/12] in the Divine providence, based on the manifest care of the Heavenly Father for all of His creation. If God feeds the birds of the air and clothes the grass of the field, shall He not much more cloth you, o ye of little faith?
Chapter VII enunciates the Golden Rule, "Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets." The sermon closes with a warning that obedience is the final test of religion. By their fruits ye shall know them. Good actions spring from a good character. To hear, but not to perform, is to build your house upon the sand.
Christ frequently uses figures of speech, that are not to be taken in a literal sense, but as illustrating an attitude of mind. Examples: Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. If any man sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
If thy eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee.So shall ye heap coals of fire on his head.
If thy hand offend thee, cut it off and cast it from thee.
They strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.
Why beholdest thou the mote that is thy brother's eye,
but considerest not the beam that is thine own eye.
He that has ears to hear, let him hear.
1. Give a concrete example of each of the Beatitudes.
2. How reconcile V 16 with VI 1?
3. What is Christ's law on marriage and divorce?
4. What is Christ's ideal for man? V, 48. Can man attain perfection by himself? How can he obtain the necessary help.
5. Why is not the Sermon on the Mount a sufficient statement of the Christian religion?
ST. MATTHEW VIII TO XX
 Our lesson today includes the 8th to the 20th Chapters of St. Matt. VIII and IX cover the early Galilean ministry. They describe many miracles, the calling of Matthew, and conclude with the words of Chapter IX, 35. And Jesus went (throughout all Galilee), about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
However, the opposition of the religious leaders of the people, the Scribes and Pharasees, had already begun to develop. We will consider the points of opposition to his teaching.
1. IX, 3. Blasphemy, for assuming power to forgive sins.
2. IX, 11. He ate with publicans and sinners.
3. IX, 14. His disciples did not fast.
4. XII, 2. His disciples broke the Sabbath by plucking grain.
5. XII, 10. He healed on the Sabbath.
6. XII, 24. He cast out devils through Beelzebub.
7. He ate unclean food, with unwashed hands.
8. XIX, 3. The dispute in regard to the legality of divorce.
Most of these points are not of major importance. As to the forgiveness of sins, Christ teaches us [13/14] (in the Lord's prayer) that everybody not only has power, but a duty to forgive.
The Sabbath was not broken by deeds of mercy, but only the absurd traditions about it.
In the matter of contamination by unclean food, St. Matthew states the Christian principle that nothing that a man eats can defile him, but that which comes out of the heart. XV, 20. However he is satisfied to leave it with the question of unwashed hands. On the other hand, St. Mark VII, 19 says "purging all meats". This is a very inadequate translation. The Revised version renders it "This he said, making clean all meats" e.g. Ham and oysters. What authority do Christians have for eating pork? This text, in St. Mark, gives Christ's decision on the matter.
There are some notable discourses in this section of the Gospel, notably Chapter 10 containing the charge to the Apostles on the nature and difficulties of the minister's work, and Chapter XIII containing the seven Parables of the Kingdom, illustrating different aspects of the Church and the reasons for its apparent lack of success.
There is also the discourse of clean foods which we have discussed in the preceding paragraph.
Outstanding incidents are the execution of John the Baptist, the sending forth of the twelve to preach, the confession of Peter, as to Jesus' Messiahship. "Thou are the Christ, the Son of the Living God."
This is followed by Christ's promise to Peter that he would found the Church upon his confession of faith. This text XVI, 18 is taken by the Roman Church [14/15] as ground for belief in the supremacy of Peter over the other apostles, and the Bishops of Rome as his successors. However, the New Testament does not show that Peter exercised any such supremacy. See Gal. II, 11. This event makes a definite turning point in our Lord's teaching. It is followed by the Transfiguration, a miraculous corroboration of the Messiahship.
What are the Seven Parables of the Kingdom? What features of the Kingdom does each of them teach?
What were the points of criticism which the Pharasees brought against our Lord. How did he answer each of them?
What was St. Peter's Confession?
Did Christ give St. Peter authority over the other Apostles? See Acts VII.
ST. MATTHEW XXI TO XXVIII
The concluding part of our Gospel is devoted to the events of the last week of our Lord's life, called Holy Week, and commemorated in the latter part of the Lenten season. All of the Gospels lay similar emphasis on this week. St. Mark devotes six of his sixteen chapters to it, St. Luke six out of twenty-four, and St. John, ten chapters out of twenty-one. They all bring their narrative to a climax in the story of Good Friday, and the details of the Crucifixion, which they tell at great length.
The reason for this is not only the intrinsic interest in the passion, but also for its doctrinal significance, because the death of Christ upon the Cross is the atonement which He made for the sins of the world. It is the foundation truth of our [15/16] Faith, it is the crucial truth of Christianity.
The week begins with his open declaration of his Messiahship, by a dramatic and formal entry into Jerusalem in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy, XXI, 5, "Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold thy King cometh unto thee, meek and sitting upon an ass and a colt the foal of an ass." Hundreds of the people joined in the procession, preceding and following, carrying palm branches, and singing "Hosanna to the Son of David, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest." However when they came into the city, they said, "This is Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth, of Galilee."
Jesus proceeds directly to the Temple, and casts out the money changers and the seats of them that sold doves. Here was a great racket. The Temple offerings had to be made in a special coined piece. The graven images which the Roman coins carried, would be a profanation if offered. So for the convenience of the worshipper, the money changers provided the proper coin, at a good profit. Similarly the doves were offered in sacrifice, see St. Luke II, 24. They too were sold at an exorbitant price. This concession was rented out by the High Priest, and so was a good source of revenue. Until now the Sadusees, the priestly cast, had been contemptuously indifferent to the Galilean prophet, but when his acts touched their pocketbooks, they took prompt and effective measures to get rid of him. After healing many in the Temple, he and his disciples retired to Bethany, six miles east of the city where he spent the night in the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
Monday in Holy Week
 Early in the morning Christ and his disciples return to the city, and finding a fig tree in full leaf, they sought fruit on it and found none. Christ said, let no fruit grow on thee henceforward forever. This has variously been represented as an exhibition of anger and petulance on our Lord's part. Such a criticism is childish. There is nothing in the story which indicates any such feeling on the Master's part. The withering of the tree which probably was not noticed until the next day, our Lord uses as an illustration of the power of faith.
Coming into the temple, the priests challenge his authority in casting out the money changers. It was exactly the sort of thing that a prophet would do, and must have greatly delighted the people. Christ turns the question back to them by asking whether John the Baptist was from God or of men. (John had testified of Jesus) As the people all regarded John as a genuine prophet, they declined to commit themselves, and Jesus said, neither will I tell you.
NOTE—It is evident from St. Mark, XI, that the order of events for the first three days of Holy Week is as follows:
Palm Sunday; the Triumphal Entry into the City and a visit to the Temple.
Monday, the condemnation of the Fig tree, and the cleansing of the Temple.
Tuesday, the challenge of the High Priest, and all of the remaining discourses and arguments, as set forth in St. Matthew XXI to XXV.
Continuing the narrative, XXI, Christ gives two parables that pointedly condemn the priests, viz., the parable of the Two Sons, and of the Wicked Husbandmen. [17/18] The priests are enraged, but the people recognize that Jesus is a true prophet.
(The next three Chapters contain three long and important discourses.) Chapter XXII opens with the parable of the Kings dinner and the man without the wedding garment.
Then follow three attempts to "entangle him in his talk." First the Pharasees and Herodians stage a dispute in regard to the lawfulness (from the Jewish viewpoint) of paying tribute to Caesar. Then the Sadusees come with their preposterous question about the woman with seven husbands and the Resurrection, and lastly the Pharasees with their stock argument about the great Commandment. Christ having more than answered them all, turns on them with the question about the Messiah. What think ye of the Christ, Whose son is he? And when they answer, "The Son of David" He asks, if David call him "Lord" how is he his son? Of course the solution is found in the Incarnation. Christ as man is the son of David, as God, he is David's Lord.
In the twenty-third chapter, Christ turns on the Scribes and Pharasees with a scathing denunciation, delivered before the people, which cut them to the quick. This ended his public teaching.
In XXIV, on departing from the Temple, he foretells its destruction, and the war which will also destroy the city and nation. This in turn becomes a parable of the final Judgment when the Son of Man shall come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
In XXV follow three parables of judgment, the Ten Virgins, the Talents, and the Sheep and the Goats.
Wednesday and Thursday
 These days were spent in quiet retirement in Bethany.
Here occurs the Anointing of Jesus when a woman (her name not mentioned here) anoints his head with fragrant ointment. The disciples criticize the waste, especially Judas, who now determines to betray him, but Jesus defends the woman, and says that wherever the Gospel is preached, this lovely act shall be remembered.
On Thursday afternoon he sends two disciples to prepare a place for the Passover supper. And when all is ready, he sits down with his disciples. The outstanding feature of this night is the institution of the Lord's Supper, the great and perpetual memorial of Christ's sacrifice, until his coming again.
Then they go to Gethsemene, and the Mount of Olives, and Jesus faces the approach of his passion in an agony of prayer. Then follows the arrest, the trial before Caiphas and the Sanhedrim. (The supreme Court of the Jews.) False witnesses come, but finally the High Priest adjures Jesus to tell whether he is the Christ, the Son of God. And Jesus answers I am. (This is one of the strongest reasons for our belief in the divinity of Christ.)
The chapter ends with the denial and repentance of Peter.
The events of Good Friday, as narrated by St. Matthew are as follows.
The accusation before Pilate.
The suicide of Judas.
Pilate's attempt to substitute Barabbas for Jesus.
The dream of Pilate's wife.
Pilate's capitulation, the Scourging and mockery.
The March [19/20] to Calvary, and the story of Simon of Cyrene.
The Crucifixion, and the inscription on the Cross.
The Mockery and the two thieves.
The darkness and the cry, "My God My God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
The signs accompanying the death of Christ, the Earthquake and the rending of the Veil of the Temple.
The burial by Joseph and Nicodemus.
The sealing and guarding of the Tomb.
The earthquake and the resurrection.
The two Marys (St. Mark names three), visit the tomb and see the angel.
Jesus meets the women and says that he will meet the disciples in Galilee.
The soldiers are bribed by the priests.
Christ meets the disciples on a mountain in Galilee and gives command to baptize all nations, "Lo, I am with you always even to the end of the world."
This lesson may well be divided into two. All of these events in Holy Week are of great importance, and should be fully discussed in order, and their significance brought out.
For a long time St. Mark's Gospel was considered simply a condensation and abbreviation of St. Matthew. It is natural to see how this opinion came of prevail. If we eliminate the long discourses of St. Matthew, we have a framework of narrative that closely corresponds to St. Mark, though the events are not always in the same order. St. Mark is [20/21] the shortest of the Gospels. It contains but 16 chapters. It says nothing about our Lord's birth or early years, but commences abruptly with the ministry of St. John the Baptist, and then introduces Christ at the age of 30 years.
For this reason St. Mark was not so highly thought of. He was not one of the original Apostles, but in the New Testament narrative occupies the place of a subordinate minister, or deacon. (However afterwards he is thought to have become the Metropolitan of Alexandria, next to Rome, the greatest city in the empire.)
All of this estimate has changed as a result of modern scholarship. St. Mark is no longer regarded as being subsequent to St. Matthew, but the original source from which St. Matthew drew practically all of his narrative. (St. Luke also depended largely on St. Mark.) It is St. Matthew that is the copyist. This will be evident to us if we compare them. In the first place, while St. Mark is much shorter, it is not because his descriptions are shorter. As a matter of fact they are longer. They are more graphic and vivid, like the story of an eye witness. There is a sense of movement and progress, as the word "straightway" is used 42 times, in connecting closely two events, one of which follows immediately upon the other.
We also find St. Mark giving the original Aramaic in quoting our Lord's conversation. For example, "Talitha cumi," "maiden I say unto thee arise." He looked up to heaven and sighed and said, "Ephatha," that is "be opened." On the cross he said, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabacthani," that is "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" There are also other Aramaic words, such as "Amen, amen" and "Abba," "Father," which must have [21/22] come from one who heard them spoken.
We have also the unusual story of the young man asleep in the garden of Gethsemene when the soldiers came to arrest Christ, and who fled away without his cloak. As this has no connection with the passion, it is thought to have been a personal reminiscence of the author, himself. All of these features indicate that St. Mark was by no means a copyist, but a very original writer, and sustains the tradition that he was a companion of St. Peter and wrote his gospel from the lips of St. Peter himself. Not that Peter dictated it, but that Mark wrote down his narrative as he hears Peter give it from time to time in the course of his public preaching.
Introduction, The Preaching of John the Baptist. I, 1 to 13.
The Galilean Ministry. I, 14, to IX, 38.
The Perean Ministry, "Beyond Jordan," X.
The Holy Week, XI to the end.
NOTE. The last twelve verses of the Gospel are supposed to be an addition by another hand.
What does the New Testament tell us about St. Mark? See Acts XII, 12, 25; XIII, 5, 13; XV, 36 to end. Col. IV, 10; Philemon 24; II Tim., IV, 11; 1 Peter V, 13. Who was right, Barnabas or Paul?
What are the Aramaic words which St. Mark places in Christ's mouth?
What would the use of these words indicate as to the source of the narrative?
What is the story of the young man asleep in the Garden?
What argument is drawn from this incident?
What parable is found in St. Mark alone? IV, 26-30.
If St. Mark was written primarily for the Romans, why does he emphasize the acts of Christ rather than his discourses?
Where did St. Mark finish his ministry according to tradition. Why the Lion?
 The Gospel of St. Luke begins with an introduction of much interest. The first four verses form one long sentence. The style is different from any other part of the Old or New Testament. It is what we might call elegant writing. Any writer who can set down a grammatical sentence of practically a hundred words, shows his skill and mastery of both grammar and vocabulary. He is no tyro in handling the pen. And this is exactly what St. Luke does. However, having shown his skill, he also shows his good judgment in leaving it at that, and for the remainder of his writing, he conforms to the simple style of the rest of Scripture narrative.
However, it is not the style of this opening paragraph which is alone interesting. Its substance is of even greater importance. Read it carefully through, slowly, several times, dividing it into phrases, and pausing to consider the meaning of each phrase. "For as much as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things." That is to do what St. Luke himself is now doing, to wit, to write a Gospel or account of the life of Our Lord. He then was not the first to write a gospel. Many had done so before this. Who were they? How many were there? St. Mark? Certainly. St. Luke quotes largely from St. Mark. [23/24] St. Matthew? Perhaps. But we are not at all sure that St. Luke ever saw St. Matthew's Gospel. But what others? Two are not "many." St. Luke says "many." These were not those gospels known as apocryphal. These came afterwards in great profusion. No, there were other apostolic writings which have been lost to us, but which were familiar to St. Luke and from which he copied in the compilation of his Gospel. It has been said that St. Luke composed largely with scissors and paste. Well, let us go on with our introduction. What was the Gospel about? It was about those things that are most surely believed amongst us. The gospel narrative had become a certainty to the generation in which he lived. Why were they certain about it? Because they had received it from men who from the beginning had been not only eye-witnesses but also ministers of the word. Therefore it seemed good to the author who has had unusual opportunity for gathering information, or as he says, "having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first," to write them out in order, that is in chronological, or logical order, "most excellent Theopholus," here he mentions the Dedication of his book, the patron to whom the book is dedicated. In order that he might have a certain record of those things in which he had already been instructed.
In a later book which we shall come to in due time we shall find a similar dedication to the same person, thus linking these two books together as from the same writer and addressed to the same person.
After the introduction we have two chapters devoted to our Lord's infancy. We found St. Matthew also introducing his Gospel with two chapters on [24/25] the infancy, but St. Luke's are entirely different from St. Matthew, although they both give our Lord's genealogy.
The difference, if we compare them, is that of the sources from which the information is derived. St. Matthew's narrative is evidently from St. Joseph; that of St. Luke is from Mary. The narrative is very beautiful. It contains five hymns or psalms or poetic forms which have passed into the worship and devotion of the Church. Pick them out. They are the Song of Zacharias, the Song of Mary, the Song of Simeon, the Angelic Salutation, or Hail Mary, and the Song of the Angels, or Gloria in Excelsis. These rich treasures are embodied in these first two chapters of St. Luke. No one else could have provided this material save the Blessed Virgin herself.
After the beautiful and matchless story of the Angels and the Shepherds, we have three other events in the infancy of our Lord, told only by St. Luke. These are his circumcision, when 8 days old, his presentation in the temple, at 40 days, and his visit to Jerusalem at the age of twelve years. Circumcision was the ceremony corresponding to baptism in the Christian Church, by which the child was given his name, Jesus, and made a member of the Covenant, which "He promised to Abraham and his seed forever." The presentation in the Temple centers in the sacrifice of two doves by his mother, and the prophesy of Simeon the High Priest, "Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace," also the prophesy of Anna. The visit to Jerusalem is the only event told us, of the boyhood of Jesus, and it shows the awakening sense of vocation. "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business."
 What relation was John the Baptist to Christ? Tell the circumstances of his Birth.
Where is the Song of his father Zacharias used in the Church's worship? What is it called?
What is the visit of the angel Gabriel to Mary called? When do we keep the Feast which commemorates it?
What relation was Mary to Elisabeth? What is Mary's song called? How is it used in the Prayer Book?
What brought Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem? Where was Christ born? Why?
What was the song of the Angels? Where do we use it in our worship?
What was Simeon's song? Where do we use it? Tell the story of Christ's visit to Jerusalem.
ST. LUKE (Continued)
With the third chapter, St. Luke takes up the story where St. Mark begins in his first, with the preaching of John the Baptist, the coming of Christ to his Baptism, and the pointing out of Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah. St. Luke gives a definite date for the beginning of John the Baptist's ministry; it is the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar. Herod being tetrarch of Galilee. This by the way is not the Herod who was king when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, of whom we read in St. Matthew 2, that Herod died while the Holy Family was in Egypt, and there was no King in Judea. In his place authority was exercised by a Roman Governor, who at this time was Pontius Pilate. The Herod who ruled Galilee was the son of the former Herod known as Herod the Great. See Chapter II.
 From here on, St. Luke follows generally the order of St. Mark until the 51st verse of Chapter IX. From here until Chapter XVIII v. He draws upon a source which is not found in any of the other Gospels. It is called the Peraean ministry, Peraea was that part of the Palestine which lies east of the Jordan River. It is important in reading the Gospels to have an idea of the geographical location of the country. Jerusalem, the capital city, the location of the Temple, of the High Priests, and also of the Roman Governor was in Judea, the southern province. The northern province was Galilee, where our Lord lived and where he chose his disciples and where most of the events described in the first three Gospels took place. Here were Nazareth, Cana, Caparnaum, the Sea of Galilee, and other places whose names are familiar in the Gospels. In between Galilee and Judea was the province of Samaria, inhabited by a non-Jewish people, who accepted the Jewish Scriptures and Law, but who were not admitted to fellowship with the Jews and who had their own Temple in the city of Samaria. These three provinces were between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan. To the east of the Jordan was a district known as Peraea. It was inhabited by a mixture of Jews and Gentiles who were not greatly concerned about religion. The Jews of Galilee had to go up to Jerusalem at least once a year, and the Samaritans did not encourage their passing through Samaria. Therefore the pious Galileans would cross over Jordan into the land of Peraea, go south through this district thus avoiding Samaria until they came to Jerico. Then they would turn west, cross the Jordan and go west, from the low sub-sea level of the Jordan valley up to the hill country of Judea and the [27/28] capital of Jerusalem. That is why they went 'down' to Jerico and 'up' to Jerusalem. When our Lord and His disciples went up to their last Passover at Jerusalem, they assayed as St. Luke tells us, to pass through Samaria, but were so inhospitably received that they turned east, crossing Jordan, and passing through Peraea. It is the events of this portion of the journey through Peraea that St. Luke describes in Chapters IX to XVIII, where he again takes up the story of Mark and Matthew at Jerico.
This part of St. Luke is one of the most interesting and important. It contains important parables not found elsewhere; the Parable of the Good Samaritan, of the Prodigal Son, of the unjust Steward, of Dives and Lazerus. And the Publican and the Pharasee. It also contains an account of sending out seventy disciples (different from the twelve Apostles). There is also much discourse of the Master which is similar to passages found in St. Matthew and St. Mark given in other settings. This is not surprising. If Christ were dictating his discourses to secretaries who were writing it down for transmission to his disciples, one giving of a discourse or doctrine would be enough. But Christ said nothing about writing. He wrote nothing himself. He went about teaching. He must have repeated the same instruction in many different places and to many different groups. Thus we find St. Luke describing what is called the Sermon in the Plain, in chapter XII which is very similar to the Sermon on the Mount in St. Matthew V, VI, and VII.
The same applies to variations in the version of the Parables. We have for example the parables of the Ten Pounds in St. Luke and the Talents in St. Matthew. The Great Supper in St. Luke and [28/29] the Kings Marriage Feast in St. Matthew. There is no reason not to suppose that our Lord himself told the same parable with variations on many different occasions. In fact it is incredible to think that he would have repeated it verbatim on each occasion that he told it.
There are seventeen parables peculiar to St. Luke, as follows: The two Debtors, the Good Samaritan, the Importunate Friend, the Rich Fool, Servants watching, the Wise Steward, the Barren Fig Tree, the Great Supper, the Tower, the King going to War, the Piece of Money, the Prodigal Son, the Unjust Steward, the Rich Man and Lazerus, the Unprofitable Servants, the Unjust Judge, the Pharasee and the Publican, the Pounds.
ST. LUKE (Concluded)
There are one or two other characteristics of St. Luke. He seems to have had a special regard for the poor, as contrasted with Matthew who was a rich man and seems to have had more or less sympathy for them. St. Matthew tells of the coming of the Rich Magi to Christ. St. Luke of the poor shepherds. St. Luke gives the first Beatitude, "Blessed are ye poor" whereas St. Matthew gives it "Blessed are the poor in spirit." St. Luke alone has the story of the beggar Lazerus, and of the poor widow who cast all of her living into the temple treasury. When Joseph of Aramathea came to bury Christ, St. Matthew tells us that he was a rich man, St. Luke says he was a good man, and ignores his wealth. A careful reading will show many other earmarks of this kind which indicate the temperament of the author. St. Luke was called by St. Paul, "the Beloved Physician." Some scholars have pointed [29/30] out that in his references to diseases and their symptoms he shows more than the layman's knowledge of the healing art.
The Passion Narrative of St. Luke gives a fuller account of the Institution of the Lord's Supper. It mentions the bloody sweat in Gethsemene, and the Angel who strengthened him. St. Luke alone tells of the holy women who bewailed our Lord on the way to Calvary, and he alone gives the first, the second and the last of the Seven Words of the Cross, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." "Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise" and "Father into thy hands I commend my spirit." St. Matthew and St. Mark give only the Fourth Word, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" And St. John gives the Third Word, "Woman behold thy son, Behold thy Mother." Also the Fifth, "I thirst," and the Sixth, "It is finished."
In the story of Easter Day, St. Luke gives the long and detailed account of the two disciples meeting the Risen Christ as they went to the village of Emmaus at the close of the day, their constraining him to sup with them, and his making himself known to them in the breaking of bread.
St. Luke alone gives us an account of the Ascension of Christ from the Mount of Olives, forty days after the Resurrection, and repeats the story with fuller detail in the opening chapter of the Book of Acts.
What shows St. Luke's special sympathy for the poor?
What features of the Passion does St. Luke alone give?
What words of the Cross are found in this Gospel?
What is the story of the two Disciples who went to Emmaus?
Tell the story of the Ascension as given by St. Luke.
* St. Luke alone gives the account of the Trial and Mockery before Herod.
 The Gospel of St. John is by far the most spiritual and intimate of the four records of Our Lord's life. It reveals his inner feeling. It is his intimate revelation of himself. It presents an entirely different picture of Christ from the other three. They are objective, St. John is subjective. The Synoptists do reveal occasional glimpses of our Lord's inner feelings. Such as for example the Lament over Jerusalem, St. Luke XIX, 41. "If thou hadst known even thou at least in this thy day, the things that belong to thy peace! And in St. Matthew, XXIII, 37—"O Jerusalem Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not." St. Luke XIII, 34.
On the other hand, the discourses in St. John are all of this intimate, self-revealing type. Some of them to single individuals, as to Nicodemus, to the woman of Samaria, to Martha and Mary, and to his Apostles.
The narrative is said to cover only twenty days in our Lord's life, but whereas the Synoptics mention only one Passover, St. John mentions four, which space the duration of our Lord's ministry for a period of three years. The scene of St. John's [31/32] narrative is almost entirely in Judea, whereas the other evangelists deal with the ministry in Galilee.
The Gospel of St. John is the only one that claims to have been written by an Apostle. It ends with the words (21-24, 25) "This is the disciple that testifieth of these things and we know that his testimony is true." This would seem to indicate that the gospel was written by disciples of St. John, practically at his dictation. It is supposed to have been written near the close of the first century. St. John had access to the other Gospels previously written and he wrote to supplement the others, giving incidents and discourses which the others omitted. The style in which our Lord's teaching is given is so similar to that of the writer, that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between that which is meant to be Christ's teaching, and the author's comment. There are no parables in St. John. The whole style of Christ's discourse is different. His teaching is given probably not in his original words, but as it came through the mind of the beloved disciple. None the less, he was so filled with the memory and the spirit of Christ that we come nearer to the Master Himself in the writings of St. John, than in any other New Testament author.
The discourses of St. John are so important that it is worthwhile to memorize a brief outline of the Gospel and the places where they occur. This is not a difficult proceeding.
Chapter I. Prologue, and calling of first disciples.
Chapter II. Miracle of Cana, changing the water to wine at the wedding feast. The cleansing of the Temple.
Chapter III. The discourse with Nicodemus, on regeneration, including the celebrated verse 16. [32/33] "God so loved the World." The need of regeneration.
Chapter IV. The Woman at the Well of Samaria. "God is a Spirit and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." The catholicity of religion.
Chapter V. The healing of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda, on the Sabbath day, leading to a discussion with the Pharasees.
Chapter VI. The miracle of Feeding the Five Thousand, followed by the discourse on the Bread of Life (the Eucharist), in the Synagogue at Caparnaum. Doubt now enters the heart of Judas.
Chapter VII. Christ is urged by his brethren to declare himself at a Feast at Jerusalem, where he teaches the people and engages in further disputes with the Pharasees.
Chapter VIII begins with the episode of the Woman taken in adultery. This is plainly an interpolation at this point, for after it, the discussions with the Jews and Pharasees continues, ending in the assertion of his pre-existence. "Before Abraham was, I am!"
Chapter IX. The healing of the man born blind. His testimony to Christ and his excommunication from the Synagogue.
Chapter X. The discourse of the Door, and the Good Shepherd. These are the nearest that St. John comes to the parabolic form of teaching. It will be noticed however that they are not parables, that is, stories which have a symbolic teaching, but rather comparisons and metaphors.
Chapter XI. The raising of Lazerus from the dead, and the Discourse with his sisters on "I am the Resurrection and the Life." The Jews plot to kill both Christ and Lazerus.
Chapter XII. [33/34] The anointing by Mary, and the Triumphal Entry. His further teaching in the Temple.
Chapter XIII. The Last Supper. The beginning of the final great Discourse which runs through the following five chapters of the Gospel.
Chapter XIII describes Jesus washing the Disciple's feet, and his dialogue with Peter. This is followed by the instruction on humility, and the "New Commandment" "that ye love one another."
Chapter XIV. "Let not your hearts be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions, I go to prepare a place for you." Here we have the direct assurance of the future life after the grave, and the promise that that life will be a continued association with Christ. St. Paul expresses the same belief when he says, "I have a desire to depart and to be with Christ." So also the words to the Penitent Thief in St. Luke, "Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise." In the meantime his departure will be compensated for by the coming of another Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
Chapter XV. The Vine and the Branches. The life of the disciple is found only in union with the Master. The New Commandment is repeated, and the promise of the Comforter.
Chapter XVI. A further description of the office of the Comforter, or Advocate. The coming of persecutions are told, but the disciples will find protection in the Father and in the Comforter.
This last great intimate discourse of the Master reaches its climax in Chapter XVII when he no longer addresses the disciples but lifts his heart to the Father in triumphant prayer. His work is done because he has prepared them to carry on his Gospel. He prays for their abiding unity and love and for [34/35] all succeeding generations of Christians, that they may continue to be one in faith and love, that the world may know that Christ's mission was divine. Alas, the divisions and feuds of Christians have obscured the divine purpose of Christ, and the world in consequence is still largely unconvinced.
Chapter XVIII and XIX contain the Passion story. St. John's narrative describes the arrest in the garden of Gethsamene, accompanied by two miracles, the healing of Malchus' ear (which Peter cut off) and the soldiers falling to the ground, when first attempting to arrest him. This is followed by a trial in the House of Annas, the ex-High Priest, whom the devout would still consider to be the true high priest. This is followed by the accusation before Pilate. Chapter XIX continues with the dialogue between Christ and Pilate, and Pilate and the Jewish priests. Pilate gives way, and the execution is ordered. Pilate sarcastically has placed on the cross the title, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews."
Why was St. John's gospel written? What does the prologue declare?
What was the relationship of John the Baptist to Christ?
What assertion does Christ make as to his preexistence? VIII, 58, XVII, 5.
What is the scene of St. John's narrative? What Great Miracle does he alone give us? What possible motive might be the Synoptists have for omitting it? St. John 12, 10-11.
How long was our Lord's ministry. How many Passovers does St. John mention?
ST. JOHN (Concluded)
 St. John in his passion narrative gives at greater length the interview with Pilate. He gives also three of our Lord's last words. The Third, to his Mother and St. John, the Fifth, "I thirst," and the Sixth, "It is finished." He speaks with special emphasis on the Water and the Blood which flowed from the pierced side of Christ.
Chapters XX and XXI. St. John gives two chapters to the Resurrection narrative, telling of Peter and John visiting the empty tomb, of the appearance to Mary Magdalene in the garden, the appearance to ten disciples on Easter night, and a week later to the same group, this time including Thomas.
Chapter XXI tells of the appearance to seven disciples on the lake of Galilee, and the dialogue with Peter, restoring him to his place as a shepherd of the flock. The Gospel ends with an assertion as to the authorship of the book.
Some sacred writings have a definite theological trend or purpose. It is evident that St. Matthew writes to show that Jesus was the Messiah predicted by the Jewish prophets and that his life fulfills those predictions. St. Mark and St. Luke seem purely objective and do not indicate any underlying purpose. St. John however, the author tells us, was written for the explicit purpose to show that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. In other words it is written with the underlying assumption that he is a divine person. This conclusion may gradually dawn upon the readers of the Synoptists, but St. John starts with it as a premise.
In the first fourteen verses, "The Gospel for [36/37] Christmas Day" and "the Last Gospel" read after the blessing on other occasions, declares that Jesus Christ is the "Word" of God, who was pre-existent, who was eternal, who was the Creator of all things that were made, who was with God from all eternity, and who in fact was God. No stronger statement of Christ's divinity could be made. The Eternal Word was made flesh, that is, took our human nature, and was made man, and in his every deed and word we beheld the glory of his divinity, full of grace and truth.
There were in Ephesus when St. Paul first came there a group of disciples of St. John the Baptist, Acts 19, 1-4. While some of them were baptized and confirmed and became Christians, there was evidently a strong and perhaps confusing tradition in regard to John the Baptist. Accordingly, the Evangelist in his prologue, while insisting on the divinity of Christ, is particular to differentiate between His light and the Baptist's light. He pays high tribute to John the Baptist, but very clearly shows that he was not the Light itself, but only a witness to the True Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. With this prologue, as a presupposition, he tells the story of Christ's life, supplementing the Synoptists, with whose writings he was doubtless familiar, and avoiding events told by them, but adding supplementary narratives chiefly concerned with our Lord's ministry in Judea.
The writer is identified not by name, but in a more intimate manner as "The disciple whom Jesus loved." He refers particularly to the "water and the blood," XIX, 35, which came from the "Pierced Side" as an evidence of the truth of his writing.
What is the subject of the discussion with Nicodemus [37/38] in Chapter 3?
What famous text is in the chapter? 16.
With the woman of Samaria?
What is the discourse in Chapter VI? In Chapter X?
In Chapter XI?
What is the New Commandment?
THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
This book, as will be seen by comparing the first few verses of each, was written by the author of the third Gospel, and is a continuation of that work. If the author of the third Gospel was St. Luke, then St. Luke was also the author of Acts. This becomes the more apparent as we read the latter part of the book, where we find St. Paul meeting Luke at Troas, and picking him up as a traveling companion. From here on, the Author tells the narrative in the first person plural, hence these parts are known as the "we" passages, and show that the author, St. Luke, was an eye witness of the incidents which he narrates. The book ends with these passages.
The book divides itself into two parts. (1) A general history of the early Church in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Antioch, up to Chapter XII. The remaining part confines itself to a biography of St. Paul who was engaged in his missionary journeys and was successful in propagating the Gospel throughout Asia Minor and Greece. He is finally arrested and after a delay of a couple of years, is sent to Rome to be tried before Caesar's bar of Justice. He is left in Rome, awaiting his hearing, and the natural conclusion would be that the book was written at this time, as it leaves the story of St. Paul's life unfinished. Another indication of the [38/39] date of writing is the narrative of the shipwreck in Chapter XXVII. This is a personal experience written with great detail and vivid color. It must have been written shortly after its occurrence while all the details were fresh in the mind of the man who experienced them. They could not have been so vividly reconstructed after the lapse of a term of years. If this is sound reasoning, it dates the writing of the book, before the end of St. Paul's imprisonment, that is the year 64 A.D. and it also carries with it an important implication as to the date of St. Luke's Gospel, which was manifestly written before the Acts.
While the Acts is supposed to describe the ministry of all the Apostles, it confines itself chiefly to St. Peter and St. Paul. St. Luke was not a Jew. He was not a member of the Jerusalem Church. Perhaps he never was in Jerusalem in his life. It is quite evident that St. Peter was an important source of his material in writing the first part of his history.
It takes up the story of the Apostles from the Day of the Ascension and in the first chapter describes their waiting in Jerusalem, and the choice of Matthias as an apostle in the place of Judas. Here also among the 120 disciples or brethren we see Mary the blessed Mother, mentioned for the last time.
The first twelve chapters have to do chiefly with St. Peter. The outstanding incidents are EVENTS IN JERUSALEM.
Chapter I. The Ascension of Christ, and the Election of Matthias.
Chapter II. The Gift of the Holy Ghost on Pentecost, the preaching of St. Peter and the conversion and Baptism of 3,000 converts.
Chapter III.  The healing of the lame man in the Temple, and the preaching of Peter.
Chapter IV. The arrest, trial, defense, and release of Peter and John, and the Contributions of the converts. "They that believed had all things common."
Chapter V. Annanias and Saphira fall dead for lying to the Holy Ghost. The Apostles are again arrested but are defended by Gamaliel, a learned doctor of the Law.
Chapter VI. The institution of the order of Deacons. The arrest of Stephen.
Chapter VII. The defense of Stephen before the Council, and the Martyrdom of Stephen.
EVENTS IN SAMARIA
Chapter VIII. Burial of Stephen. Philip preaches in Samaria. Peter and John are sent to administer Confirmation. Philip converts and baptizes the Ethiopian.
Chapter IX. Saul is converted on the way to Damascus, Peter preaches at Joppa, and heals Dorcas.
Extension of the Faith to the Gentiles
Chapter X. Peter is called to Caesarea and converts the household of Cornelius.
Chapter XI. Peter defends himself for baptizing Gentiles. The Church is founded on Antioch where the disciples were first called Christians.
Chapter XII. Herod kills James the brother of John, and arrests Peter. Peter is released by an Angel. Herod dies. The church continues to grow.
Describe the events of Pentecost.
Read II 41 to 47 and describe the features of the first congregation of Christians. Position of the [40/41] Apostles. Form of worship and sacraments, relation to the Jewish Temple, communism of goods.
Tell story of Anninias and Saphira.
The appointment of Deacons. The administration of Baptism and confirmation in Samaria. Admission of Gentiles to the Church (Cornelius) etc.
The First Missionary Journey. They go first to Cyprus, and convert the Governor Sergius Paulus. (From this time on Saul becomes Paul.) From Cyprus they proceeded to Perga, Antioch in Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe. In each of these places, they first preach in the Synagogue, are rejected by the Jews, turn to the Gentiles among whom they make many converts, are persecuted by the Jews, and driven from the city. However, a church is founded in each of these places, and St. Paul visits and confirms the disciples and finally returns to Antioch in Syria from whence they set out on their Missionary journey.
Chapter XV. The admission of the Gentiles to the Church, raised strong feelings in the Jerusalem Church, and a Council is held to decide on what condition Gentiles are to be admitted to the faith. Some held out for circumcision and the Mosaic law, but Paul and Barnabas won the Council over to the more liberal viewpoint. The Council laid down four necessary conditions. Three of them were "kosher" and one moral. (What was Christ's real teaching about clean and unclean food? See Mark VII, 18.)
Second Missionary Journey
Paul and Barnabas quarrel over Mark and separate. Paul takes Silas and goes through Galatia to [41/42] Troas and Philippi, converts Lydia, is arrested, and converts and baptizes the jailor, and departs for Thessalonica where he founds a Church. From here he goes to Athens, where there is a courteous hearing, a fine sermon, no persecution, and no Church. Disappointed, he departs for Corinth, where he founds the Church, he is also successful at Ephesus, where he stopped but a short time and then returned to Antioch.
The Third Missionary Journey covers the same ground as the preceding one but in reverse order. He makes Ephesus his headquarters, and spends two years here. Apollos joins him. XVIII.
Chapter XIX. His ministry in Ephesus comes to a climax with a riot raised by Demetrius, the silversmith. He leaves Asia and comes into Europe. In Chapter XX we have an account of a Sunday service in Troas, at which the Apostle preaches a long sermon, and celebrates the Eucharist. On his way back to Jerusalem he is visited by the Elders of the Church of Ephesus, and takes a touching farewell.
Chapter XXI. He returns to Jerusalem. There is a riot in the Temple, and St. Paul is arrested, and held by the Roman officer. St. Paul speaks in his own defence, but the tumult is resumed, and he is hurried into the castle. Chapter XXIII. When a plot to kill him is discovered, he is sent to Caesarea, to Felix, the Roman Governor. Chapter XXIV. A hearing is held before Felix, but no verdict is given. Chapter XXV. Festus succeeds Felix, after two years, and St. Paul finally asserts his right as a Roman citizen, and appeals his case to Caesar. Chapter XXVI. King Herod Agrippa and his wife Bernice visit Festus, and St. Paul makes his defence before them. Agrippa pronounces him innocent, but [42/43] the appeal has been made, and to Rome he must go.
Chapter XXVII. The journey to Rome involves a sea voyage and shipwreck told by the author, St. Luke, in the most vivid terms. It was a most thrilling deliverance from a great danger, and the story must have been written while all the details were fresh in the mind of the writer. Chapter XXVIII. The book ends with the arrival of the Apostle in Rome, dwelling two whole years in his hired house, and still awaiting hearing before the Emperor's tribunal.
Trace on a map, the three missionary journeys of St. Paul. What outstanding cities did he visit, and what Churches did he found? Who was Apollos? Luke? What do the "we" passages in the narrative show?
What was the reaction of Felix to St. Paul's speech? What that of Festus? That of Agrippa?
The order in which St. Paul's epistles were written. What islands are mentioned in the sea voyage?
I AND II THESSALONIANS
The order in which St. Paul's epistles were written is generally given as follows: Written during the second Missionary Journey, I and II Thessalonians. Written during the third journey, Galatians, Romans, I and II Corinthians. Written during the first captivity, Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians and Philemon. Written during the second captivity, I and II Timothy and Titus.
There are however some scholars who place Galatians first on the list. For our study of the contents of the letters, it is not important.
The two epistles to the Thessalonians are short, [43/44] friendly letters, abounding in expressions of personal affection, but intermingled with warnings against sin, in very plain and unmistakable language. The usual structure of an Epistle by St. Paul is as follows:
1. Salutation by the writer, and the brethren associated with him in the work of the Ministry.
2. A Thanksgiving to God for his work among them.
3. Explanation of religious doctrine.
4. Practical duties and warnings.
5. The final benediction and signature.
This structure is followed in both of these epistles.
The doctrinal matter is the second coming of Christ. It is alluded to four times, and the longest reference being in IV, 13 to the end of the chapter. The question which troubled the Church was, what would become of those who died before the coming of Christ? How would they share in the glory of that great day? The apostle says, "I would not have you ignorant brethren concerning them that are asleep (that is, those that have died), that ye sorrow not even as those that have no hope, for if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so those that sleep in Jesus shall God bring with him for this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep. (Here the word prevent is used in its original meaning of "anticipate" or "go before") that is we shall not be ahead of those which sleep, for the Lord shall descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ shall rise first, and then we which are alive shall be caught up together with them in the [44/45] clouds to meet the Lord, and so shall we be ever with the Lord.
This being caught up is called the rapture of the Saints. See I Cor. XV, 51-52.
It is interesting to note that St. Paul supported himself by his own trade while in Salonika. He was a tent maker.
The first epistle aroused great excitement in the Church. The natural inference was that St. Paul was expecting the second coming at almost any moment. As has happened at many other times, people neglected their regular duties, some disposed of their property, and all were inwardly disturbed.
St. Paul heard of this and wrote another letter, telling that the second advent was not as near as they supposed. There were certain things that must happen first. Christ himself had foretold of certain signs of his coming.
The apostle now proceeds to tell of a "man of sin" that must first appear. (We have this same idea appearing in the antichrist of the apocalypse.)
What vivid expectation existed among the early Christians?
Does anyone know when the Second Advent will occur? St. Math. XXIV 14, 36, 42.
What two opposing ideas have been held in regard to the Second Coming and the establishment of Christ's Kingdom? One is that it will come as a sudden crisis, the other that it will come as a gradual enlightenment and moral progress. Which seems to be the more reasonable belief? Why?
 On his first missionary journey, St. Paul preached the Gospel and established the Church in the cities of Antioch in Pisidia, Lyconium, Lystra, Derbe, and along the shore of the Mediterranean north of Cyprus. This work was successful and the Gentiles gladly accepted the Gospel, and rejoiced in the salvation which St. Paul brought them.
Soon after this successful mission, zealous partisans came to the new converts, and attacked St. Paul and his work. They said that he was not a true apostle, he had never seen Christ, he was misrepresenting Christianity, Christ and the true apostles were Jews, they were obedient to the Law of Moses. They had all been circumcised, and observed the festivals and holy days of the Jewish religion. If the Galatians wished to be good Christians, they must follow Peter and James, be circumcised and worship according to the Jewish religion. All of this seemed plausible to the new converts, and they began to waver in their allegiance to St. Paul. Remember they had but recently heard of Christ for the first time. It was all new to them, and they had no religious background.
When St. Paul heard of these doings, he sat down and wrote this letter. It was sizzling. He was as much an apostle as any of them. Not of men but by Jesus Christ. I marvel that you are so soon removed unto another gospel! If any man or even an angel from heaven preach any other gospel, let him go to perdition. The gospel which I preached came to me direct from heaven, by revelation of Jesus Christ.
You know I am a Jew, I have been all through [46/47] that, myself. I was a better Jew than any of them. But God called me and revealed his Son in me that I might preach him among the heathen. In fact I used to persecute the Church.
I retired to Arabia, and then went to Damascus, and after three years, I went to Jerusalem and conferred with Peter and John, and James, and then came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.
Chapter II. Fourteen years later, I went to Jerusalem and saw the pillars, James, Peter and John, and they gave me the right hand of fellowship, and agreed that I should preach to the heathen, and they to the Jews. Later when Peter came to Antioch, he acted in such an inconsistent manner that I denounced him publicly. If we are justified by Christ, we are freed from the law.
This doctrine is discussed in the remainder of the Epistle. As it is also treated in much greater length in the Epistle to the Romans, which we will consider in the next lesson, we will pass over the remaining chapters briefly. See III, 26-29.
Chapter IV refers to some physical infirmity of St. Paul, which he afterwards alludes to as a thorn in the flesh. This has caused much speculation but no final decision has been reached.
Chapter V. Christ has made us free. This liberty is through the indwelling of the Spirit. The works of the Spirit and of the flesh are contrasted.
Chapter VI ends with many practical counsels. The ending is particularly impressive, verses 14 to 18.
What circumstances led to the writing of this epistle?
What basic controversy shook the early Christian Church?
What was the attitude of St. Paul? of St. Peter and James?
What great doctrine of Christianity arose from the discussion?
 After the Apostle had eased his mind in his letter to the Galatians, and his temper had cooled, he realized that the question involved was more than a local matter. It concerned the Gentile Church wherever it was being established. What was the true relationship of Judaism to the Gentile world, and what was the relation of both to Christianity?
Here we have the subject matter for the longest and most carefully argued of St. Paul's Epistles. So far as Judaism is concerned it is no longer a live issue with us, though it was of very great importance in the first century, but the fundamental doctrine which St. Paul enunciates is the very foundation stone of all Christianity, namely the doctrine of Justification by Faith. "The just shall live by Faith."
The outline is as follows. All men have sinned against God. Including both the Jew and the Gentile. They are thus excluded from salvation. Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.
The Jews readily granted that the Gentiles were excluded from salvation but they suppose that this did not apply to themselves, because they had been specially chosen of God, and had received his Law, which was righteous. This was indeed a sign of God's favor, but it did not profit them unless they kept the law, and this they did not do, nor were they able to do it.
On the other hand the Gentiles had also a law [48/49] of God written in their own hearts and consciences, which told them the difference between right and wrong, and what the law of duty is. However, they did not keep this natural law of righteousness, and therefore they too fell under sin, so that all alike, both Jew and Gentile, are in need of salvation.
This God in his great love for all mankind has provided by sending his son into the world, that all mankind might find salvation through him. The means by which this salvation is appropriated is by faith. If we believe in him, his righteousness is imputed to us, and our sins are forgiven. The instrument by which we are thus joined to Christ is Baptism. Chapter VI. If we have thus put on Christ we are dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
If we are in Christ Jesus, we walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. The Spirit of God dwells in us, and bears witness that we are the children of God. Who shall separate us from the Love of God? We are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Read the whole of the eighth chapter. It is the climax of the plan of salvation by which we are delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Does this mean that the Jews who were once the chosen people have been cast out of God's favor? By no means. They are admitted to salvation on exactly the same terms that everybody else is. They have only to believe in Christ. It is St. Paul's constant prayer and heart's desire that all Israel may be saved. There is no difference between the Jew and the Gentile for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. Blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles become, and so all Israel shall be saved.
 The final five chapters contain many helpful and practical precepts. Chapter XIII is on obedience to the civil government. Chapter XIV on a charitable attitude toward weak brethren. Chapter XV reverts to the subject of St. Paul's apostolate to the Gentiles, and XVI concludes with kind regards and best wishes to many friends in Rome. Twenty-six are mentioned by name, and other families and groups are included. The epistle ends with a long Doxology. "Now to him that is of power, etc."
God's glory, and our own eternal life is the motive of our justification, God's grace is the efficient cause of our justification, Christ's passion is the meritorious cause, Baptism is the instrumental cause, and faith is the subjective cause of our justification.
Discuss all of these elements which enter into human salvation.
What is meant by predestination? Is it the same as fatalism? Does it destroy free will? Can anything destroy free will?
Predestination means that God has made all men his children, and intends that they should inherit eternal life. He has also given every man an opportunity to achieve eternal life. See St. John III, 16. He has not predestinated any man for destruction.
What is St. Paul's attitude toward civil government? Was the Roman government a good one at this time?
What do we owe to the weak brother? What does the weak brother owe to us?
 Corinthians gives us a picture of a Gentile Church that had been newly converted to Christianity. Everything from moral standards to church organization, and forms of public worship, were in a fluid condition. They were a large and important group of people, but they were very much in need of advice and guidance, and they got it in this epistle.
The first seven chapters deal with factions and immoralities. There were four groups—one saying "I am of Paul," another "I am of Appollos," another "I am of Cephas," and still another "I am of Christ." Christ is not divided. The minister who makes the convert is nothing. All are one in Christ. St. Paul's preaching was not with worldly wisdom, but in the power of the Spirit. We are laborers together with God. We are his temple. If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy.
In Chapter IV the nature of the Ministry is discussed. In Chapter V a notorious case of immorality is reproved, and Christians are not to associate with open and notorious evil livers. Verses 7 and 8 are used in the Liturgy on Easter Day. In Chapter VII going to law is reproved, and many other forms of evil. Impurity is especially condemned because the body is sacred, in fact it is the temple of the Holy Ghost. Chapter VII discusses marriage as the remedy for impurity, and expresses some of the Apostle's own peculiar views, and the relative merits of celibacy and the marriage state.
Chapter VIII discusses the problem of attending feasts in heathen temples and eating meat that had been offered to an idol. We know that the idol is [51/52] nothing, but we are not to become a stumbling block to them that are weak. If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
Chapter IX, on the right of the ministry to be supported by the congregation ends with a fine passage on self control, and self discipline. Verses 24 to 27.
Chapter X alludes to the baptism of the Israelites under Moses, and then refers to the Communion as being a partaking of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The heathen had similar rites in their temples. The Christian cannot be a partaker both at the table of the Lord, and the table of devils. (People who think that Christians got their idea of the Eucharist from the Greek Mysteries, should read what St. Paul says here.)
Chapter XI first enjoins that women should wear a head covering in Church, second condemns disorderly conduct, and even drunkenness at the Lord's Supper, and then gives what was undoubtedly the first written account of the institution of the Holy Eucharist. "As oft as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death until he come." The chapter ends with a warning against the unworthy reception of the Sacrament.
Chapter XII is on spiritual gifts, which vary much, but are all subordinate to the unity of the members in one body.
Chapter XIII is the matchless gem on the supreme value of Charity or Christian Love. It should be memorized by all children while the power of verbal memory is still keen.
Chapter XIV is a long discourse on "Tongues," a special gift, which seems to have been local, and which has passed out of Christian experience.
 Chapter XV is the detailed account of the Resurrection of Christ (again the first written record), followed by a masterful explanation of the meaning of the Resurrection for us, and the nature of the Spiritual Body.
The epistle ends with Chapter XVI in which he refers to the Collection which he is taking, plans for his further journey, and personal greetings.
DISCUSSION ON I CORINTHIANS
What kind of a city was Corinth? Where was it situated?
What was the state of the Church there?
What bad features does St. Paul discuss? What does he say about the Eucharist?
What does he say about the Bread and the Cup?
How are we to prepare for Holy Communion?
What dangers did the unworthy recipient face?
What witnesses of the Resurrection does St. Paul mention?
How does he regard the Resurrection in relation to other beliefs?
What is the nature of the resurrection body?
Glory, incorruption, power, spirituality. The schoolmen used the words, agility, subtlety, inpassibility, and clarity.
Quote the last verse of Chapter XIII.
The Second letter to the Church at Corinth is the most intimate and personal of all St. Paul's epistles. He shows more of his inner feelings, his sorrows and troubles than in any other letter. He also shows more feeling for those he is writing to. He reveals his affection and sympathy to a marked degree. There is a winsomeness about the letter which is remarkable.
He strikes the key note at once. God is the source [53/54] of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles, that we may be able to comfort other people who are in trouble. This is certainly an unusual explanation of the reason grief comes to us, and it shows the unselfishness and broadmindedness of the Apostle. Grief is sometimes explained as a discipline, but here is a reason that makes it of service and unites us in sympathy and love to other people.
Chapter II. He was sorry he had to write a letter (I Cor.) which made them sorry, but they took it in the right way and carried out his disciplinary injunctions to the letter, so now that the brother has been punished, let him be forgiven lest he be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
Chapter III. How much more glorious is the ministry of the Gospel, than the ministry of the Law. A veil covered the face of Moses (see Exodus XXXIV, 33), but the veil is taken away in Christ.
Chapter IV. We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. This involves sharing the sufferings of Jesus, but this affliction which endureth but a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Read all of this chapter.
Chapter V. The glory of the future life is described. This glory is through our union with Christ.
Chapter VI. The sorrows of the ministry, yet it has its compensations. "As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing, and yet possessing all things."
Chapter VII. I was greatly comforted when Titus came and told me how you received and complied with my letter.
Chapters VIII and IX. Are about the collection which he was taking from all the Gentile Churches [54/55] for the benefit of the poor saints in Jerusalem.
Chapter X. Beginning with Chapter X, there is an abrupt and sudden change in the tone of the letter. The affectionate and personal tone disappears, and the Apostle asserts again his authority. The explanation seems to be that while writing the letter, word came from Corinth of a new critic who arrived from Jerusalem, who began spreading the most cruel and malicious statements, ridiculing his personal appearance, saying that he was afraid to show himself in Corinth, "his letters are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible," etc., etc. This compels him again to vindicate his apostleship. Are the others (Peter, John, etc.), ministers of Christ? "I am more. In labors more abundant, beside that which cometh on me daily, the care of all the Churches." Then follows Chapter XII, his inner spiritual experiences and his "thorn in the flesh." Chapter XIII ends with the beautiful and comforting words, 11, Finally brethren, farewell. (Read in class)
Why did St. Paul write this letter?
What is its main theme?
Who were the critics of St. Paul?
Why were they so malignant?
How did it all end?
What was the thorn in the flesh?
With what familiar benediction does this letter conclude?
PHILIPPIANS AND PHIILEMON
The Epistles of St. Paul are divided into four groups: Those written during the first Missionary Journey, I and II Thessalonians. Those of the [55/56] Second Journey, Galatians, Romans, I and II Corinthians, those of the first imprisonment in Rome, Philippians, Colossians, Ephesians and Philemon, and those of the second imprisonment, I and II Timothy, and Titus.
We are now taking up the study of the letters of the first imprisonment.
The letters written during his period of freedom and travel were composed when in a state of high nervous tension, and of great anxiety. Now that he is a prisoner and chained night and day to a guard, his anxieties seem to vanish, and he writes with calmness and peace of mind, and even with a heart overflowing with joy and gladness.
This is the character of the letter to Philippi. The circumstances were as follows. When the Christians of Philippi heard of St. Paul's confinement in Rome, they sent a collection of money to provide him comfort and necessities, by the hand of their priest, Epaphroditus. This was most gratefully received. Why the local Christians did not minister to him is an unanswered question. While in Rome, Epaphroditus was taken ill and his very life was despaired of. However in answer to the Apostles prayers, he finally recovered, and is now going back home bearing the letter and the thanks of the Apostle to his people.
The old fears and anxieties of the Judaic controversy have practically passed away. There are still rumblings of it, like the thunder of a storm that has gone by, but they no longer disturb the serenity of the aged leader.
St. Paul is now thankful for everything. He is thankful that his imprisonment has brought him contact with Caesar's household. He is thankful that Christ is everywhere being preached in Rome, [56/57] even if unsincerely by some, he is nevertheless happy. He does not care what happens to him. To live is Christ, to die is gain. However he hopes he may be acquitted at the coming trial, that he may visit his friends again.
There are a number of fine passages in the epistle, for example, II, 5 to 13, beginning, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus," which gives the reason why we bow our heads in the Creed, at the Gloria, and at other times, at the mention of the Sacred Name. III, 7 to 14, ending "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." III, 20-21, Our conversation is in heaven, etc.
IV, 4, 5, 7 and 8. Two good women, members of the Church at Philippi have had a quarrel. Help them to become reconciled.
Again he thanks them for their gift, "an odor of sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God." And ends with greetings and his blessing.
What reasons contributed to the Apostle's happy state of mind when writing this epistle?
What is the humiliation of the Incarnation? What is its exultation?
How is this exultation to be acknowledged? By whom?
What formality do we observe in this connection?
What are the things that we are to think about? Do a man's thoughts affect his character?
What evil thoughts are to be avoided?
Why is it a good thing to forget the things that are behind?
Here is a personal letter of the Apostle that accompanied the Epistle to the Church at Colosse. Philemon was a wealthy merchant prince of Colosse, [57/58] who had been converted by St. Paul, and there was a most affectionate and friendly relationship established between them.
While St. Paul was in Rome, a slave of Philemon named Onesimus (which means profitable), stole some money belonging to his master and came to Rome, where he would find refuge in the slums of the great metropolis. Here Onesimus happens to meet St. Paul, the prisoner, and is converted by him. He becomes devoted to the prisoner in Caesar's household, and ministers to his needs as an affectionate son. Eventually the story of his relation to Philemon comes out, and St. Paul feels that the only thing to do is to send him back again to his master. This is taking a risk, as the law permitted branding the runaway, and even torture and death.
However, St. Paul has confidence in Philemon, that when he hears of Onesimus's conversion, and the service he has rendered to the Apostle, Philemon will forgive him and receive him back again, not as a slave, but as a brother Christian. St. Paul offers to pay back the money which Onesimus stole, but feels that Philemon will forgive that, too, because of his affection for the Apostle.
The letter is written with the utmost courtesy and is a model for one who is asking a favor of a friend.
Does Christianity condone slavery? Why?
On what basis does St. Paul discuss the matter?
What Christian principle should regulate the relations between servants and their employers?
COLLOSSIANS AND EPHESIANS
These two epistles are companion letters, both [58/59] written during St. Paul's captivity in Rome, and sent by the same messenger to Ephesus and Colosse. In fact there is reference to an epistle to Laodicea which may have been the same as the Epistle to the Ephesians, the latter being a circular letter.
A new cloud is now appearing on the horizon, which presently became known as Gnosticism, or Science. It was based on the idea that matter and spirit, body and soul are diametrically opposed to each other and that matter is essentially evil. Therefore God could not have created it, but it was the product of a Demiurge or world maker. From the Supreme Being there were many emanations of angelic spirits, in a constantly descending order, until one was low enough to create matter. Salvation was to be found in a strict asceticism, "touch not, taste not, handle not."
The apostle sweeps away the whole idea of intermediate beings, and asserts that the fullness of God dwells in Christ, by whom he created all things, and by him all things consist, including all angels and principalities, and he is the head of the body, the Church, he is the first to arise from the dead, and by his death he has reconciled all things to himself. Read this passage, I, 10-23.
The Gnostics claimed to have a secret philosophy, which they imparten only to the inner ring of their disciples. II, 3. Let no man deceive you with vain words, and false philosophy. All the treasures of knowledge are in Christ. In him dwelleth the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him. Let no man beguile you in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, and not holding the Head. Read the whole second chapter.
The third chapter deals with the risen life in Christ, and its practical expression in daily life. [59/60] "Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus."
After practical advice to husbands, wives, children and servants, he concludes with personal salutations.
What was the error of Gnosticism?
Does it suggest any similar modern teaching?
What passage implies the divinity of Christ?
This Epistle is considered by many to be the finest of St. Paul's writings and the very cap stone of his theology. Its theme is "The Church." Each chapter contains a final passage which sets forth some aspect of the Church, the Holy Catholic Church in which we express our faith in the Creed.
The Church is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all. "Now are ye no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and the household of God, and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone in whom all the buildings, fitly framed together, groweth into an holy temple in the Lord." II, 19. "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named." III, 14. The purpose of the Ministry. For the edifying of the Body of Christ, "still we all come to the perfect man. To the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." Marriage is a type of the union between Christ and his Church.
Over against this high doctrine, there is a warning against the most carnal sins. High spiritual privilege does not take away temptation, and the need of the utmost vigilance against our spiritual foe. So in the concluding chapter there is the classic [60/61] passage. "Finally brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, etc."
What is the chief topic in this Epistle?
What does it say about the Church in the concluding verses of each chapter?
What is the Church?
Who is head of the Church?
What is the relation of Members of the Church to one another?
What is their relation to Christ?
Does it make any difference whether we belong to the Church, or not?
Can a person be a good Christian without belonging to the Church? Why?
I AND II TIMOTHY AND TITUS
These three Epistles are the last of St. Paul's writings. They were written after his first imprisonment, when he was set at liberty for a short season. They are called the Pastoral Epistles, because they have to do with pastoral office, or the Church's ministry.
There are also repeated warnings against false teachers and false doctrine, that seems to be of Jewish origin. There is also warning against oppositions of science falsely so called, suggesting the coming heresy of Gnosticism, which did not come into full bloom until the next century.
In opposition to false teaching, the minister is to uphold sound doctrine, to hold fast the form of sound words, to be nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, to give attention to reading, exhortation, to doctrine, take heed to the [61/62] doctrine. This advice is repeated again and again.
There is advice for women, how they are to adorn themselves, for wives, how they are to reverence their husbands, for young widows, that it is better to marry again, and for widows indeed, how they are to be cared for by the Church; also a word of advice for servants. (These servants were of course, slaves.)
The most interesting feature of these epistles is the fact that they show a three-fold division in the Christian ministry. At first glance we might assume that here in the New Testament we find mentioned by name the Bishops, presbyters (priests), and deacons, of all ages of Church history, and of our Church today. Such a conclusion is erroneous; for if we read carefully, we will see that St. Paul uses the two words, bishop and elder interchangeably. In short the "bishop" of the pastoral epistles is not a Bishop at all in our modern sense of the word, but only an elder, or as we should say, a priest. What then becomes of our three-fold order of the Ministry? It is right here in the Pastoral epistles, though it is not where we first looked for it. We have the two lower orders plainly enough, deacons and elders also called bishops. What then has become of the third and highest order? It is to be found in the two men to whom the letters are addressed, in Timothy and Titus.
We must classify the Ministry as follows. It consists first of an assisting and subordinate order called deacons. Second it consists of the local pastors of the congregation, of whom there were several in every city, called Elders, Presbyters, or bishops. These local pastors administered Baptism and Holy Communion and conducted the worship of the congregation. Then the third order was of a governing [62/63] and supervising character, having jurisdiction over all the churches in an area surrounding a large city. This Office was the full authority of the Apostolate, represented here by Timothy and Titus. Thus we have the beginnings of what is now called the Diocesan Episcopate.
The Second Epistle to Timothy was written after the Apostle's second imprisonment, and presumably just before his martyrdom. Read IV 6-8; wonderful words of comfort and courage, in the face of approaching death. Read also verses 16-18. The Saint was ready for that day.
What are the three kinds of Ministers referred to in these epistles?
What were they called by the writer?
What do we call them now?
What does St. Paul say about the marriage of the clergy?
The Epistle to the Hebrews is an important and interesting writing. Its author is unknown, but it is evidently so inspired, and fills so important a place in Christian teaching, that it was soon included in the sacred Canon.
There are three attitudes taken by New Testament writers toward the Jewish religion. St. Matthew, St. James, and practically all of the first Jewish converts thought it quite proper to be good Christians, and yet to practice the Mosaic law.
St. Paul on the contrary took the extreme position that Christianity was antagonistic to Judaism, and that for a Gentile Christian to practice the Law was to turn back from freedom to bondage. In the [63/64] Epistle to the Hebrews, we have still a third point of view. He writes to show not that Christ abolished the Jewish religion, but that he fulfilled it.
The Religion of Judaism was a type of Christ. It was only a shadow of that which was to come. Christ's religion was eternal, and perfect, while Judaism was imperfect, transitory, and simply symbolic, without true substance. Its sacrifices could never take away sins. So those Hebrews who still cherished the old Law need not be disturbed at its destruction (by the Romans) because in Christ, they had the true and indestructible substance.
Its outline is as follows—
Chapter I, 1-3. Christ the incarnate Son of God, by whom he made the world, and who is now seated at the right hand of God, is greater than the ancient prophets.
Chapters I, 4 to II, 18. He is greater than the Angels.
Chapter Iii. He is greater than Moses. Moses was a faithful servant in the house but Christ was the Son and heir.
Christ has an eternal priesthood, after the order of Melchizedek. Ps. 110. "The Lord sware and will not repent, thou art a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek." (There is no record of Melchizedek's death, so he is assumed to have been translated, that is taken to heaven without dying, as were Moses and Elijah.) Melchizedek was a King of Righteousness, and a King of Salem, which means a King of Peace.
Chapter VII. So Christ's priesthood is higher than that of Aaron, because it belongs to the eternal order.
Chapter IX. Gives a detailed account of the ceremonies of the Day of Atonement, and shows that [64/65] they were a type of the sacrifice, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ. Christ's ascension into heaven is our great High Priest entering into the Holy of Holies, to offer intercessions for us.
"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water (an allusion to baptism). Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is."
Chapter XI is a long list of Old Testament worthies "who obtained a good report through faith, but received not the promises, God having provided * * * that they without us, should not be made perfect."
Chapters XII and XIII contain many helpful precepts, continuing the thought of the epistle. "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." "Marriage is honorable in all." "Jesus Christ the same yesterday and forever." "We have an Altar." The communion table. "To do good and communicate, for with such sacrifices, God is well pleased." In our eucharistic sacrifice we join with our great High Priest in offering the sacrifice of praise to God continually.
Throughout the epistle, emphasis is laid not only on the Divinity of Christ, but also on the reality of his humanity, the fact that he was tempted in all points like as we are, that he suffered not only in body but in mind, that he agonized in prayer, therefore let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may find mercy and grace to help in time of need. The subject of the epistle is, in a word, our access to God, through the Priesthood of Christ.
 What three attitudes do New Testament writers take toward the Jewish religion?
What is the point of view of this Epistle?
Why is Christ greater than the Prophets, Angels, Moses, Aaron?
What were the ceremonies of the Day of Atonement? How did they symbolize Christ?
THE EPISTLE OF ST. JAMES
The Epistle of St. James is of great interest, if for no other reason, than the fact that it is in marked contrast to all the other books of the New Testament, especially the epistles of St. Paul. In fact at first sight, we might conclude that it was written in direct contradiction to the outstanding and fundamental doctrine of St. Paul, namely, Justification by Faith. Compare St. James II, 21, with Rom. IV, 2.
A more careful reading of both authors will show that there is no contradiction in their meaning, for when St. Paul uses the word "Faith," he means the kind of a belief in God which necessarily expresses itself in good works, whereas when St. James speaks of faith, he means simply intellectual assent, without any sense of moral obligation. "The devils believe and tremble."
But quite apart from this interesting feature, St. James has positive features which are of great value. If it has little doctrine, it has much practical wisdom. It may be compared with the Wisdom Books of the Old Testament, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Ecclesiasticus, to which there are a number of obvious references. It is practical. "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit widow and the fatherless in their affliction, and to [66/67] keep himself unspotted from the world." This does not mean that this is the whole of religion, but that it is a fair sample of it.
His sympathies are strongly with the poor, in contrast with the rich. I, 10 and V, 1 to 6.
He speaks of the purpose of Temptation or trial, as a testing of Character.
He tells of the dangers of careless conversation and the need of the control of the tongue.
The letter does not lend itself to a systematic analysis, or the development of a logical outline, but is filled with practical and helpful suggestions, so that we can pick it up, and begin anywhere to read with profit and edification.
A most important passage is found in V, 13 to 15 in which we find authority for the practice of the Anointing of the Sick, a sacramental rite for which provision is made in the Prayer Book, see page 320. See also St. Mark, VI, 13.
The mutual confession of sins is also recommended. V, 16. Martin Luther, with his usual impulsiveness called this letter "An epistle of straw," because he thought it contradicted St. Paul, but we may be happy that the Church in her wisdom, has included it in the sacred canon.
The St. James who wrote it, was called the Lord's brother, and was the Bishop of Jerusalem, frequently referred to in the Book of Acts, who was martyred by the Jews in Jerusalem in the year 62. Some scholars have identified him as the son of Alpheus, which is the same name as Cleopas, and hence James the Less of the Twelve Apostles. This is the point of view taken by the Prayer Book.
Who was James? Why was he called The Lord's Brother? If the explanation above given is correct, [67/68] his mother was a sister or cousin of the Virgin Mary.
See St. Mark XVI, 1-XV, 40. St. John XIX, 25.
Why did Luther think that St. James contradicted St. Paul?
What does St. James say about temptation?
What authority is there for the Unction of the Sick?
What is the general character of this epistle?
The Epistle of St. Peter is an interesting and valuable letter. St. Peter was martyred in Rome not later than the year 67 A.D. and this means that the letter was written some time before that date. As we shall see in our study of the contents, it must have been shortly before that date.
The tone of the letter is warm, loving and encouraging, written to strengthen the Christians to face not only the ordinary difficulties of their daily life, which were serious enough, but also a very special and bitter persecution which was impending, and which was shortly to overwhelm the Apostle himself.
The purpose of his writing was not doctrinal, but practical. He does not expound any article of the Faith as St. Paul does, in all of his letters. He does not argue, or try to convince his readers of the truths of the Christian religion. On the other hand he assumes that they thoroughly understand and believe Christian doctrine, and he makes this the basis of his appeal for courage and perseverance, and even joy in the face of the fiery trials which await them. Let us see what some of these truths are.
In the very opening sentence we find the doctrine of the Trinity, and the Atonement by the blood [68/69] of Jesus Christ. In the 3rd verse we find the Resurrection of Christ, our hope of salvation. In verse 11 there is reference to the gift of the Holy Spirit. In verse 18 there is reference to Redemption by the blood of Christ, more precious than gold and silver. And all of these produce salvation which finds expression in holiness of life.
Next, we have a picture of the Church, a spiritual house, equipped with a holy priesthood, which offers up spiritual sacrifices in worship of Almighty God.
Then he enjoins obedience to the Civil authority. Honor all men, Love the Brotherhood, Fear God, Honor the King.
Chapter II, 18-25 is a beautiful passage, enjoining obedience to servants, after the example of Christ.
Chapter III contains injunctions to husbands and wives, and tells us why baptism saves us. There is here an interesting passage telling of Christ's preaching to the spirits in prison, in the interval between his death and resurrection.
Chapter IV warns again of the fiery persecution that is impending, and V ends with an injunction to the Elders of the Church. It is a warm, hopeful, encouraging letter.
Who was St. Peter? Where did he write the letter? V-13.
What is the meaning of Babylon?
Is there anything in the letter to support the idea that St. Peter was the head of the Church?
Who is the head of the Church?
What doctrines does he allude to?
Who were the spirits in prison?
What is the purpose of the epistle?
What is its value for us?
 This Epistle, for critical reasons, was not included among the books of the New Testament, until the third or fourth century. However, whoever wrote it, it is an edifying and interesting letter, and so was at last included in the Canon. It has some interesting and valuable texts. "Exceeding great and precious promises. Partakers of the divine nature. Make your calling and election sure. We have not followed cunningly devised fables. No prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation. One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. Nevertheless we look for a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness."
A writer has described this epistle of "peculiar beauty, richness and originality. It has a special freshness, and vividness in what it says of the subjective, inner life of Christianity."
In its opening statement of the doctrine of the Incarnation, it is even more vivid than the opening of St. John's Gospel (St. John I, 1 to 14). "That which was from the beginning, which we have seen with our eyes, that which we beheld, and our hands have handled." No words could more strongly express objective reality.
The thought is developed by striking contrasts: light and darkness, sin and righteousness, Christ and anti-Christ, believers and the world, children of God and children of the devil, love of God and love of the world, perfect love and fear, love and hatred, those who continued with us and those who went out from us.
The outstanding ideas are: God is Light, if we [70/71] walk in Light we have fellowship with God the Father, and with one another, and the blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin. If we are in the Light, we keep his commandments. These commandments produce righteousness. The chief commandment is love. Love of God is the great duty of man, and the test of this love is our love for our neighbor. If a man says he loves God and hates his brother he is a liar. He is walking in darkness, and not in the light.
He then addresses both children and fathers, warning against the love of the world. "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
Anti-christs shall arise and go out from us. To deny that Christ has come in the flesh is to be an anti-christ. The true believer abides in the fellowship of the Church, in the fellowship of the Father and of Christ, and of the anointing of the Spirit.
We are the children of God, and so must purify ourselves from sin. Sin is lawlessness. If we are born of God we do not sin. Love is the test. Who hath this world's goods and seeth his brother hath need, and shutteth his compassion from him, how, dwelleth the love of God in Him?
Faith is necessary. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him and he in God. This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our Faith. We know that we are in him that that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
What are the outstanding ideas of the epistle?
What things does it contrast.
What is meant by Light?
What is righteousness?
What is the great commandment?
What is the test of our love for God?
What is meant by the world?
What is Faith, subjective or objective. How does Faith overcome the world?
 A short letter of 13 verses, addressed to a lady and her children, or possibly to a Church, in which case the children would be the members of the Church. He enjoins walking in the truth, exercising brotherly love, and walking in the commandments. The deceiver professes to improve on the Faith, and goes beyond it. Have nothing to do with people who bring a new doctrine. I hope to see you soon.
To Gaius whom I love in the truth. I pray for your prosperity and good health. I am especially pleased to hear of your hospitality and assistance to the missionaries whom you have set forward on their journey.
Diotrephes is to be rebuked for seeking pre-eminence in the Church, but Demetrius is commended of all men. (There is evidently a strife for leadership between these two.) I will not write further, though I have many things to say, as I hope to see you soon. Peace unto thee.
This is a short epistle, and the final one as found in the King James version. It is attributed to Jude, the brother of James. A reading of the text will show that the author was not one of the Twelve Apostles.
It is chiefly devoted to the denunciation of certain false teachers, who were equally corrupt both in doctrine and manner of living. See the similarity [72/73] between Jude and II Peter, II. One evidently copied the other. Jude is believed to have been the original.
As we are ignorant of the particular doctrines which are condemned, this part of the epistle has little significance to us. The beginning and ending of the letter, however, are of much value. The former gives us the arresting and well known text, "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the Saints." And the letter concludes, verses 24 and 25, with one of the most beautiful benedictions in the New Testament. There is also in verses 20 and 21 a clear reference to the Blessed Trinity.
THE REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE
The New Testament closes with the Revelation of St. John, the Divine, or theologian, the Doctor of Divinity.
The Book is called an apocalypse, or visions and prophecies, presented in highly figurative and imaginative form. It foretells the coming of Christ, the conflict between good and evil, the woes which were coming on the earth, the great struggle between Christ and anti-christ, the final overthrow of Babylon (Rome), the embodyment of the world's pomp and riches and power and wickedness, the triumph and victory of good, the punishment and destruction of evil, the establishment of Christ's kingdom on Earth, the beauty and glory of the heavenly Jerusalem.
While conflict and devastation are going on on earth, there are glimpses of Heaven, the throne of God, surrounded by countless angels and saints, by the four and twenty elders (the twelve patriarchs [73/74] and the twelve apostles) and the four beasts, or living creatures, sometimes interpreted as the four evangelists. There is the Lamb as it had been slain who receives honor and worship co-equal with him that sitteth on the throne.
The Martyrs are beneath the altar. There is much incense, which is the prayers of the Saints. The Saints are arrayed in white robes and carry palms, and sing "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty."
The ceremonies of the Greek Church, and to a lesser degree, those of the Western Church, are copied after the heavenly worship here described.
The book opens with impressive letters to the seven Churches of Asia Minor. They are addressed to the Angels-messengers-apostles of the Churches. We have here the beginning of the Provincial system, a group of Bishops under one Metropolitan (John), which soon become the norm of organization throughout the Church.
In the letters, two Churches are praised, three are both praised and blamed, and two are entirely blamed. However, high reward is promised in each case to him that overcometh.
Beginning with Chapter IV, we have the vision of heaven, the Lamb opening the seals of the book. As the seals are opened one by one, angels come forth and execute judgment upon the earth. There are seven seals, seven angels, seven bowls of wrath, the vision culminating in the destruction of Rome. Chapters IV-XVIII.
Chapters XIX-XXII. The final overthrow and punishment of evil and the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth.
Passages of special interest. Chapter VI. The Four Horses of the Apocalypse, white, red, black, [74/75] and pale, signifying conquest, the sword, famine, and death.
Chapter VI, 9. The souls under the altar, the intermediate state.
Chapter VII, 9. The state and occupation of the Saints.
Chapter XII. The woman arrayed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars, gives birth to a man child who shall rule the earth with a rod of iron.
Chapter VII, 7. War in heaven. Michael fights against the dragon and casts him out.
Chapter XIII. The number of the beast. 666. Much discussion about this number. It is evidently Caesar Nero, the letters of the name in their numerical equivalent are equal to 666. Nero had been dead 30 years. But the beast is represented as being slain and then coming to life again.
Chapter XVIII. The magnificence of Babylon. No passage in Virgil or of Horace describing the glory of Rome equals this picture of its wealth and power.
Chapter XX, 4, 5, 6. The Millenium. The thousand years reign of Christ on earth before the final resurrection and judgment. At times this has been a subject of much discussion and controversy.
Chapters XXI and XXII. The Heavenly city, its Golden pavement, its pearly gates, its Tree of Life, and its unending day. A glorious picture of heaven come down to earth, and a fitting climax of the New Testament as a whole, as it foretells God's ultimate purpose of mankind and all creation.
BLESSING AND HONOR AND POWER AND DOMINION BE UNTO OUR GOD FOREVER AND EVER. AMEN!