Introduction of the New Testament
Summary of introduction to the new testament
Louis Berkof by systematically addressing the origin of the Gospel and the Epistles of the New Testament, their content, characteristics, authorship, composition, and canonical significance, Takes on the difficult undertaking of ensuring that the New Testament is accurately understood within what he perceives is the correct historical setting. Berkhof primarily intended this book for his students at Calvin Theological Seminary where he taught for nearly 30 years. Introduction to the New Testament incorporates the research and labors of many past scholars, and church Fathers, and presents it in such a way as to make “Introduction to the New Testament” a diverse and authoritative study.
The Gospel in General
Louis Berkhof takes the position that the early Church consciously perceived the four books of Jesus’s Ministry, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as a single Gospel. Berkhof cites in his defense Irenaeus writing that states “The Gospel is essentially fourfold” and Augustine who writes of the Gospel that they are “the four Gospels, or rather, the four books of one Gospel”. This concept of viewing the four treatises writers as a single Gospel binds the four even the more tightly to one another, to wit Berkhof calls them fourfold portraiture of the Saviour, or a fourfold representation of the Apostolic Christ.
The Synoptic Problem
Louis Berkhof does not try to deny the differences in content, wording, and order, of the synoptic Gospel, but rather addresses the four most common theories by scholars that attempt to explain those differences away. Finding holes in all four of the theories himself Berkhof suggests that the possible answer may be a combination of oral tradition, Petrine influence, and many other factors. Then the author infers that the answer is hidden in the first two verses of the Gospel of Luke. “1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, 2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word”.
The Johannine Problem
How do we justify the vast differences in the synoptic Gospel and the Gospel of John?. This very question has come to be known as simply the “Johannine Problem”. In an attempt to answer this problem Berkhof divides the problem into two categories. First those “Differences Touching the External Coarse of Events in the Lords ministry” and second, those “Differences in Regard to the Form and Content of the Lord’s Teaching.” When considering the two categories, Berkhof accounts for the differences using four simple arguments; • We should not lose sight of the true character of John’s writing. Moreover, neither John’s Gospel nor the Synoptic Gospel was meant to be a history of the Lord’s earthly life, but rather a pen-picture taken from a particular view of the Apostolic Christ. • The intent when John wrote the Gospel as it says in Chapter 20 verse 31 “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” Therefore, John naturally speaks of Christ rather than the Kingdom of God, and he does those things that as much as possible proves that Jesus is Christ. • John was acquainted with the other Gospels and avoided as much as possible repeating facts that were already known. This is seen in how he writes the Gospel, it appears he has a pre-supposition that the readers had some basic knowledge of the certain facts. In Chapter 6 verses 51-58 John presumes that the reader understands the Lord’s Supper, though he never explains the ascension there is from scripture the assumption that the reader had a previous knowledge of it. ( John 6:62, 20:17) • Finally, The Gospel of John has the stamp of the author. John was a much deeper, spiritual, thinker, and pondered the mysteries of Jesus Christ....
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