Understanding the First Testament

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Understanding Second Testament Theology
The subject of Second Testament Theology is a big one. There are several massive volumes that share great insights on the subject. I have listed four of these for you in a short bibliography below. These sessions are built as a primer to help the student to begin his or her journey into the world of Second Testament Theology. There are several grids through which one can view the information that the authors of the Second Testament present. I have chosen the kingdom of God as a grid. It appears to me to be the focus of the writers of the Second Testament books and makes the most sense out of those books. The late Dr. George Eldon Ladd (d. 1982) and Dr. James Kallas have been my mentors in my own journey. Ladd presents the kingdom of God theology in A Theology of the New Testament that serves as the text for this course. James Kallas inspired me to understand how this theological mindset played itself out on the pages of the Second Testament and in the practical dealing of daily life. My first introduction to Kallas was The Significance of the Synoptic Miracles: Taking the Worldview of Jesus Seriously. Over the years, Jim became a friend and I had the honor to republish “Significance” and also publish two other books for him: Biblical Chaos: Holding Opposites Together in Tension (2012) and The Bible Twice Denied: A Cure of the Continuing Collapse of Christian Influence (2013). To each one, I owe an enormous debt. I trust that you will find the information, which we cover, somewhat stimulating in your own kingdom journey.

1. Understanding the Kingdom of God
2. Understanding the Cosmic Conflict on Earth
3. Understanding the Kingdom of God and the Ecclesiae
4. Understanding The Works of Jesus
5. AD 49-51: Understanding the Theology of Galatians, James, 1 & 2 Thessalonians
6. AD 53-57: Understanding the Theology of 1 & 2 Corinthians, Romans
7. AD 60-61: Understanding the Theology of Mark, Philemon, Colossians, Ephesians, Luke, Acts, Philippians
8. AD 63-80: Understanding the Theology of 1 Timothy, Titus, 2 Timothy, 1 & 2 Peter
9. AD 63-80: Understanding the Theology of Matthew, Hebrews, Jude
10. AD 80-100: Understanding the Theology of John, 1, 2, 3 John, Revelation

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Read Me First

 

Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.

 

I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Second

 

Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Third

 

The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.

 

Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.

 

Happy Reading!

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)