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Introduction to the New Testament Ebook

Introduction to the New Testament
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Title: Introduction to the New Testament
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Table of Contents

  • About This Book
  • Title Page
  • Preface
  • Prolegomena
  • The Gospels in General
  • Matthew
  • Mark
  • Luke
  • John
  • Acts
  • The Epistles in General
  • The Epistles of Paul
  • The Epistle to the Romans
  • The First Epistle to the Corinthians
  • The Second Epistle to the Corinthians
  • The Epistle to the Galatians
  • The Epistle to the Ephesians
  • The Epistle to the Philippians
  • The Epistle to the Colossians
  • The First Epistle to the Thessalonians
  • The Second Epistle to the Thessalonians
  • The Pastoral Epistles
  • The First Epistle to Timothy
  • The Second Epistle to Timothy
  • The Epistle to Titus
  • The Epistle to Philemon
  • The Epistle to the Hebrews
  • The General Epistle of James
  • The First General Epistle of Peter
  • The Second General Epistle of Peter
  • The First General Epistle of John
  • The Second and Third General Epistles of John
  • The General Epistle of Jude
  • The Revelation of John
  • Indexes



PREFACE

This little work on New Testament Introduction is the result of labor done in and for the class-room, and is primarily intended for my own students. It is not and does not pretend to be a work of original research, but depends in a large measure on the labors of such men as Davidson, Reuss, Weiss, Westcott, Lightfoot, Godet, Holtzmann, Julicher, Zahn, e. a. The indebtedness to these will be evident from its pages.
In method of treatment I have partly gone my own way, both in virtue of principles that are not generally recognized in works of Introduction and for practical considerations. As far as the limits of the work allowed, the directions given by Dr. Kuyper in his Encyclopaedia of Sacred Theology have been followed; not only the human but also the divine side of the Sacred Scriptures has been treated.
It has been my constant endeavor in writing this book, to make it a work that would introduce the students to the books of the New Testament, as they have in fact been transmitted to the Church, and not as some critic or other would have them be. Hence critical questions, though not disregarded, do not loom as large on its pages as they often do in works on Introduction; the positive constructive element has a decided precedence over the apologetic; and the human factor that operated in the origin and composition of the Scriptures, is not studied to the neglect of the divine.
A limited number of copies was printed, partly in deference to the expressed wish of some of my present and past students, and partly because I desire to use it as a text-book in the future, there being none of the smaller works on Introduction, such as those of Dods, Pullan, Kerr, Barth, Peake e. a., however excellent some of them may be in their own way, that gave me what I desired. If the book may in some small measure be instrumental in leading others to a greater appreciation and an ever better understanding of the New Testament writings, I shall be very grateful indeed.
L. BERKHOF. Grand Rapids, Mich., November 30, 1915.


PROLEGOMENA.

1. NAME AND IDEA.


The name Introduction or Isagogics (from the Greek εἰσαγωγή) did not always denote what it does today. As it is used by the monk Adrianus (circa 440) and by Cassiodorus (circa 570), it designates a conglomeration of rhetorical archaeo1ogica1, geographical and historical matter such as might be helpful in the interpretation of Scripture. In course of time the connotation of the word changed. Michaelis (1750) was the first one to employ it in something like its present sense, when he entitled his work, devoted to the literary historical questions of the New Testament, Einleitung in die gottlichen Schriften des neuen Bundes. The study of Introduction was gradually limited to an investigation of the origin, the composition, the history, and the significance of the Bible as a whole (General Introduction), or of its separate books (Special Introduction). But as a designation of this discipline the name Introduction did not meet with general approval. It was pointed out-and correctly so-that the name is too comprehensive, since there are other disciplinae that introduce to the study of the Bible; and that it does not express the essential character of the discipline, but only one of its practical uses.
Several attempts have been made to supply a name that is more in harmony with the central contents and the unifying principle of this study. But opinions differed as to the essential character of the discipline. Some scholars, as Reuss, Credner and Hupfeld, emphasizing its historical nature, would designate it by a name something like that already employed by Richard Simon in 1678, when he styled his work, "Critical History of the Old Testament. Thus Hupfeld says: "Der eigentliche und allein richtige Name der Wissenschaft in ihrem heutigen Sinn ist demnach Geschichte der heiligen Schrif ten Alten und Neuen Testaments." Begriff und Methode des sogenannten biblischen Finleitung p. 12. Reuss arranged his work entirely on this principle. It was objected however, by several scholars that a history of the Biblical literature is now, and perhaps for all time an impossibility and that such a treatment necessarily leads to a co-ordination of the canonical and the apocryphal books. And this is just what we find in the History of Reuss. Hence the great majority of New Testament scholars, as Bleek, Weiss, Davidson, Holtzmann, Julicher, Zahn e.a. prefer to retain the old name, either with or without the qualification, "historical-critical."
Another and important stricture on the name suggested by Hupfeld, is that it loses sight of the theological character of this discipline. Holtzmann correctly says: "Als Glied des Organismus der theologischen Wissenschaften ist die biblische Einleitung allerdings nur vom Begriffe des Kanons aus zu begreif en, nur in ihm findet sie ihre innere Einheit, "Historisch-critische Finleitung in das Neue Testament p. 11. This special consideration also leads Kuyper to prefer the name Special Canonics. Encyclopaedie der Heilige Godgeleerdheid III p. 22 ff. Ideally this name is probably the best; it is certainly better than the others, but for practical reasons it seems preferable to abide by the generally recognized name Introduction. There is no serious objection to this, if we but remember its deficiency, and bear in mind that verba valent usu.

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