2. Early Christian Literature

   
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2. EARLY CHRISTIAN LITERATURE

I. MOTIVES FOR WRITING

1. There are three groups of Christian writings:

a. The 27 New Testament writings.
b. The Apostolic Fathers.
c. The New Testament Apocrypha.

2. The New Testament was written in everyday style of Greek. Jesus’ oral teaching was in Aramaic.

3. In New Testament times the “letter” was a popular form of communication.

4. One great motive for New Testament writing was to preserve the record for teaching—not to write a history.

5. Luke is the only New Testament writer who evinced anything like an interest in history.

6. Another motive for writing was to make converts—evangelization.

7. Still a third motive was “edification” of believers.

8. In the case of Paul, much of his writing was to combat “errors” and settle disputes.

9. Early New Testament writings were on papyrus. Later on parchment.

10. The arrangement of the New Testament is not chronological. Gospels come first, followed by Acts and Paul’s letters to the churches. Then the remainder, followed by Revelation.

II. NEW TESTAMENT AND APOCRYPHA

1. New Testament students think that the gospel writers had a common source— called Q. This was the notes of the Apostle Andrew. See (1341.2) 121:8.1

2. Long after Luke wrote “Acts of the Apostles,” other writers wrote the acts of Peter, Paul, John, and others.

3. Paul’s epistles are the oldest of the New Testament writings—Thessalonians being the oldest.

4. The Urantia Book suggests that Paul was “one of the authors of Hebrews.”

5. II and III John, James, Jude, and II Peter are late writings and by other authors than those assigned.

6. There was little to choose between II Peter and other writings ascribed to Peter which were rejected.

7. Ephesians, after Paul’s writing, was revised and edited by a later Christian author.

8. The apocryphal writings most seriously considered by early Christians were:

I and II Clement
Epistles of Barnabas, Polycarp, and Ignatius.
Shepherd of Hermas.
The Didache.

9. Among the early apologists were:

Justin Martyr.
Aristides.
Tatian.
Athenagoras.
Theophilus.

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