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A STEP BEYOND
TESTS AND ANSWERS
_____ 1. The Synoptic Gospels are
B. Matthew, Mark, and Luke
C. Matthew, Luke, and John
B. Mary and Joseph went there to register for tax purposes
C. Mary and Joseph went there to escape from King Herod
B. a person who met Jesus at Bethany
C. the person who took Jesus' body and buried it in his own tomb
B. quoting the Old Testament book of Leviticus
C. quoting a Greek proverb
B. Matthew and Luke
C. Mary Magdalene and John
B. Caesarea Philippi
B. a Roman official who expressed sympathy for Paul when he was in prison
C. a Samaritan magician who offered the apostles money if they'd give him the ability to confer the Holy Ghost
B. a Sadducee
C. an Essene
11. Discuss the reasons why Jesus found himself in conflict with the Jewish authorities of his day.
12. What is the kerygma? What is its content? Where in the New Testament is it found?
13. Discuss the attitudes toward the government of the Roman Empire expressed in the New Testament.
_____ 1. The Gospel of Matthew begins with
B. a genealogy of Jesus
C. the words "In the beginning was the Word"
B. the same form in all four Gospels
C. very similar forms in 1 Peter and the Acts of the Apostles
B. a series of sayings of Jesus
C. the central teaching of Paul's Epistle to the Colossians
B. Paul, echoing the Old Testament book of Habakkuk
C. James, echoing the Greek playwright Menander
B. redaction criticism
C. beliefs about the end of the world
B. Christians need not be circumcised, because Jesus was not circumcised
C. Christians could eat whatever they chose, though they should not shock other Christians who disagreed with them about food rules
B. to John, in the Book of Revelation
C. to Paul, according to Paul's account of his conversion in Galatians
11. Women play an important part in the New Testament. Discuss.
12. The early Christians expected the Parousia. What does this mean, and what does the New Testament say about it?
13. Discuss the tensions between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians during New Testament times.
11. The Gospels cite several reasons for conflict between Jesus and the Jewish authorities- chiefly the Pharisees and Sadducees- of his own time. One is that Jesus and his followers did not observe the Jewish law strictly, especially the rules forbidding people to do many things on the Sabbath. Another is Jesus' criticism of the authorities. Jesus offended the Sadducees, who did not believe in immortality, by teaching the resurrection of the dead. He attacked the Pharisees as hypocrites, saying they added human regulations to the law and put less important rules ahead of more important ones. Third, the Jewish authorities, especially the high priest and his council in Jerusalem, apparently feared that Jesus might be planning a political rebellion that would threaten their own position and invite bloody repression from the Roman government. Finally, to the authorities who didn't believe the claim of Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of God, the assertion seemed a blasphemy against God.
12. Kerygma is a Greek word meaning preaching, or proclamation, with the accent on what is preached rather than on the act of preaching. The early Christian kerygma is the proclamation of salvation provided by God in Jesus' life, death, and resurrection, and the invitation to receive that salvation through baptism and reception of the Holy Spirit. In a sense, therefore, the whole New Testament has a kerygmatic character. The classical expression of the kerygma, however, is in the speeches in the Acts of the Apostles, beginning with Peter's speech at Pentecost. Many statements in Paul's Epistles have a similar kerygmatic quality.
13. Although the Gospels depict Jesus as being put to death by the Roman government, most New Testament writers advocate submission to the Roman authorities. The early Christians were not revolutionaries. There is very little probability that an attempt to overthrow the Empire could have succeeded. The Jewish revolt of 66 to 70 showed that. And if the government had collapsed, what would replace it? The apostles were certainly not politicians. Paul, in Romans 13, teaches that "the powers that be are ordained of God," and the author of 1 Peter agrees that it is God's will that Christians submit to the established authorities. The main exception to this viewpoint in the New Testament is the Book of Revelation, whose author speaks of the Roman Empire under the symbol of a diabolical monster, and looks forward to its downfall. But there's no evidence that the author advocated political subversion, either. He expected God to overthrow the Roman state as part of the events that would take place at the end of the world.
11. There are three principal ways in which women play an important part in the New Testament. First, the gospels report that a number of Jesus' close friends were women. These include the women who travel with him and the apostles from Galilee to Jerusalem, and also Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, in Bethany. Second, women played a leading role in the life of the early church as it is depicted in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Epistles. Thus the Jerusalem church meets at the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, and Priscilla and Aquila are regularly spoken of as a couple, whether we hear that a church meets in their home or that they instruct Apollos about Christian teachings. Third, women often take the lead in symbolically important situations in the New Testament. Thus in the Gospel of John the Samaritan woman is the first person to whom Jesus openly discloses that he is the Christ; Mary Magdalene and other women are the first Resurrection witnesses; and Lydia, a woman of Philippi, is the first convert Paul makes in Europe. The prominence of women in the New Testament may not surprise a modern reader, but in view of the low status of women in first-century Mediterranean society, it is remarkable.
12. The Parousia is the Second Coming of Jesus. The Gospels report that Jesus said the Son of man would come in power and glory to gather his elect. Since they also report he spoke of himself as the "Son of man," it seems clear they depict Jesus as promising to return to the world supernaturally at a future time. The belief in the Second Coming was central to early Christian eschatology. Paul speaks of it, notably in 1 Thessalonians. The Book of Revelation depicts it in vivid, visionary terms. As time went by, some Christians evidently began to lose confidence in the Parousia. The author of 2 Peter tells his readers "the Lord is not slack concerning his promise," but is giving people more time to repent their sins.
13. The first Christians were all Jews, and they continued to obey the Jewish law. When Gentiles began to become Christians, many believed that they had to do the same. This produced two serious problems. On the practical side, the requirements of circumcision and food laws doubtless made some Gentiles reluctant to become Christians. On the theoretical side, the admission of Gentiles to the church raised the question whether the Jewish law was still binding, after the coming of the Christ. Paul firmly believed the coming of Jesus had done away with the law. He didn't circumcise Gentile converts and said Christians could eat what they liked. Some Jewish Christians opposed him. A temporary compromise was reached at the Council of Jerusalem about A.D. 50. It recognized that the law did not bind Gentiles, but tried to minimize friction by imposing a few simplified food rules on Gentiles. In the long run, Paul's view prevailed.
TERM PAPER IDEAS
© Copyright 1986 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.