Tag Archives: New Testament

“The whole Scripture” by John Newton

“I agree with you, that some accounted evangelical teachers have too much confined themselves to a few leading and favourite topics. I think this a fault, and I believe when it is constantly so the auditories are deprived of much edification and pleasure, which they might receive from a more judicious and comprehensive plan.

The whole Scripture, as it consists of histories, prophecies, doctrines, precepts, promises, exhortations, admonitions, encouragements, and reproofs, is the proper subject of the Gospel ministry.

And every part should in its place and course be attended to, yet so as that, in every compartment we exhibit, Jesus should be the capital figure, in whom the prophecies are fulfilled and the promises established, to whom, in a way of type and emblem, the most important parts of Scripture history have an express reference, and from whom alone we can receive that life, strength, and encouragement, which are necessary to make obedience either pleasing or practicable.”

–John Newton, Letters of John Newton (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1869/2007), 275.

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“The treasures of Paradise have been opened to you in the gospel” by John Calvin

“When you hear that the gospel presents you Jesus Christ in whom all the promises and gifts of God have been accomplished, and when it declares that He was sent by the Father, and has descended to the earth and spoken among men perfectly all that concerns our salvation, as it was foretold in the Law and to the Prophets — it ought to be most certain and obvious to you that the treasures of Paradise have been opened to you in the gospel and that the riches of God have been exhibited and eternal life itself revealed.

For, this is eternal life; to know one, only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent, whom He has established as the beginning, the middle, and the end of our salvation.

Christ is Isaac, the beloved Son of the Father who was offered as a sacrifice, but nevertheless did not succumb to the power of death.

He is Jacob the watchful shepherd, who has such great care for the sheep which He guards.

He is the good and compassionate brother Joseph, who in His glory was not ashamed to acknowledge His brothers, however lowly and abject their condition.

He is the great sacrificer and bishop Melchizedek, who has offered an eternal sacrifice once for all.

He is the sovereign lawgiver Moses, writing His law on the tables of our hearts by His Spirit.

He is the faithful captain and guide Joshua, to lead us to the Promised Land.

He is the victorious and noble king David, bringing by His hand all rebellious power to subjection.

He is the magnificent and triumphant king Solomon, governing His kingdom in peace and prosperity.

He is the strong and powerful Samson, who by His death has overwhelmed all His enemies.

It follows that every good thing we could think or desire is to be found in this same Jesus Christ alone. For, He was sold, to buy us back; captive, to deliver us; condemned, to absolve us; He was made a curse for our blessing, sin offering for our righteousness; marred that we may be made fair; He died for Our life; so that by Him fury is made gentle, wrath appeased, darkness turned into light, fear reassured, despisal despised, debt canceled, labor lightened, sadness made merry, misfortune made fortunate, difficulty easy, disorder ordered, division united, ignominy ennobled, rebellion subjected, intimidation intimidated, ambush uncovered, assaults assailed, force forced back, combat combated, war warred against, vengeance avenged, torment tormented, damnation damned, the abyss sunk into the abyss, hell transfixed, death dead, mortality made immortal.

In short, mercy has swallowed up all misery, and goodness all misfortune.

For all these things which were to be the weapons of the devil in his battle against us, and the sting of death to pierce us, are turned for us into exercises which we can turn to our profit.

If we are able to boast with the apostle, saying, ‘O hell, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?’ it is because by the Spirit of Christ promised to the elect, we live no longer, but Christ lives in us.

And we are by the same Spirit seated among those who are in heaven, so that for us the world is no more, even while our conversation is in it. But we are content in all things, whether country, place, condition, clothing, meat, and all such things. And we are comforted in tribulation, joyful in sorrow, glorying under vituperation, abounding in poverty, warmed in our nakedness, patient amongst evils, living in death.

This is what we should in short seek in the whole of Scripture: truly to know Jesus Christ, and the infinite riches that are comprised in Him and are offered to us by Him from God the Father.

If one were to sift thoroughly the Law and the Prophets, he would not find a single word which would not draw and bring us to Him. And for a fact, since all the treasures of wisdom and understanding are hidden in Him, there is not the least question of having, or turning toward, another goal.”

–John Calvin, “Preface to Olivetan’s New Testament” in Calvin: Commentaries (Library of Christian Classics, Vol. XXIII), Ed. Joseph Haroutunian (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1958), 68-70.

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“Biblical theology is essential ” by Graeme Goldsworthy

“The serious and informed teaching of biblical theology is essential to the life of the church, like the hub of a wheel. The hub of the church and of the life of the believer is Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord.

He is not only the hermeneutical center of the whole Bible, but, according to the biblical testimony, He gives ultimate meaning to every fact in the universe. He is thus the hermeneutical principle of all reality.”

–Graeme Goldsworthy, “Biblical Theology as the Heartbeat of Effective Ministry,” in Biblical Theology: Retrospect & Prospect, Ed. Scott Hafemann (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), 284.

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“Christ crucified” by Stephen Charnock

“Christ crucified is the sum of the Gospel, and contains all the riches of it. Paul was so much taken with Christ, that nothing sweeter than Jesus could drop from his pen and lips. It is observed that he hath the word ‘Jesus’ five hundred times in his Epistles.”

–Stephen Charnock, “The Knowledge of Christ Crucified,” in The Complete Works of Stephen Charnock, Vol. 4 (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1684/1865), 495.

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“This precious and tender message about Christ” by Martin Luther

“The New Testament is a book in which are written the gospel and the promises of God, together with the history of those who believe and of those who do not believe them.

For ‘gospel’ [Euangelium] is a Greek word and means in Greek a good message, good tidings, good news, a good report, which one sings and tells with gladness.

For example, when David overcame the great Goliath, there came among the Jewish people the good report and encouraging news that their terrible enemy had been struck down and that they had been rescued and given joy and peace; and they sang and danced and were glad for it [I Sam. 18:6].

Thus this gospel of God or New Testament is a good story and report, sounded forth into all the world by the apostles, telling of a true David who strove with sin, death, and the devil, and overcame them, and thereby rescued all those who were captive in sin, afflicted with death, and overpowered by the devil.

Without any merit of their own He made them righteous, gave them life, and saved them, so that they were given peace and brought back to God. For this they sing, and thank and praise God, and are glad forever, if only they believe firmly and remain steadfast in faith.

This report and encouraging tidings, or evangelical and divine news, is also called a New Testament. For it is a testament when a dying man bequeaths his property, after his death, to his legally defined heirs.

And Christ, before His death, commanded and ordained that His gospel be preached after His death in all the world [Luke 24:44–47]. Thereby He gave to all who believe, as their possession, everything that He had.

This included: His life, in which He swallowed up death; His righteousness, by which He blotted out sin; and His salvation, with which He overcame everlasting damnation.

A poor man, dead in sin and consigned to hell, can hear nothing more comforting than this precious and tender message about Christ. From the bottom of his heart he must laugh and be glad over it, if he believes it true.”

–Martin Luther, “Preface to the New Testament (1522)” in Luther’s Works, Vol. 35: Word and Sacrament I, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 35 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 358–359.

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“The cause of our whole redemption” by Herman Bavinck

“The Scriptures continually view the suffering and death of Christ from a different perspective and in each case illumine another aspect of it. Like the person, the work of Christ is so multifaceted that it cannot be captured in a single word nor summarized in a single formula.

In the different books of the New Testament, therefore, different meanings of the death of Christ are highlighted, and all of them together help to give us a deep impression and a clear sense of the riches and many-sidedness of the mediator’s work.

In the Synoptics, Christ appears on the scene as a preacher and founder of the kingdom of God. That kingdom includes within itself the love of the Father, the forgiveness of sins, righteousness, and eternal life; and Jesus, in His capacity as Messiah, ascribes to Himself the power to grant all these benefits to His disciples.

Just as He has power to heal the sick, so He also has the authority to forgive sins. By this combination of powers, He proves that He is the complete Savior of His people. For that reason, too, there is no way of gaining admission into that kingdom and no participation in those benefits except by faith in His name.

For it is He Himself who gives His life as a ransom for many and who, in His death, breaks His body and sheds His blood to inaugurate and confirm the new covenant with all its blessings (Matt. 20:28; 26:28).

In the Acts of the Apostles, the death of Christ is especially presented as an appalling crime that was inflicted on Christ by the hands of lawless men but was nevertheless from eternity included in counsel of God (Acts 2:23; 4:28; 5:30).

Therefore, God also raised Him from the dead and exalted Him as Lord and Christ, Ruler and Savior, in order, in His name, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:36; 4:12; 5:31).

For Paul, Christ’s death on the cross was originally the great offense, but when it pleased God to reveal His Son in it, that cross became for him the crown of Jesus’ messiahship and the only means of salvation. For on that cross God made Him to be sin and a curse for us in order that in Him we would have wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption, salvation and eternal life (Rom. 3:24; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13).

The Letter to the Hebrews describes Christ especially as the perfect and eternal high priest who was not only Himself sanctified (perfected) through suffering (2:10; 5:9) but by His one perfect sacrifice put away the sins of His people (7:27; 9:26; 10:12) and is still continually at work as high priest in heaven, continuing and completing the purification, sanctification, and perfecting of His own (7:3, 25; 8:1; 9:14; 10:12ff.).

Peter pictures Christ’s suffering as that of a lamb without blemish or spot; and in that suffering He not only bore our sins and redeemed us from our futile ways of life but left us an example that we might follow in His steps (1 Pet. 1:18f.; 2:21f.).

And John makes Christ known to us as the lamb and the lion, as the life and the light, as the bread and the water of life, as the grain of wheat that, dying, bears fruit, and as the good Shepherd who gives His life for the sheep, as the Savior who gives life to the world, and as the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

So, indeed, one can find in the New Testament different appraisals of the person and work of Christ, which, however, do not exclude but rather supplement one another and enrich our knowledge. Just as in the old covenant there were diverse sacrifices and the promised Messiah was repeatedly presented under different names, so this many-sidedness in the description carries over into the New Testament and even markedly increases.

The death of Christ is a paschal offering, a covenant offering, a praise offering as well as a sacrifice; a ransom and an example; suffering and action; a work and a ministry; a means of justification and sanctification, atonement and consecration, redemption and glorification; in a word, the cause of our whole redemption.”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006), 3:383-384.

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“Dear is the treasure who lies in them” by Martin Luther

“What is the New Testament but a public preaching and proclamation of Christ, set forth through the sayings of the Old Testament and fulfilled through Christ? In order that those who are not more familiar with it may have instruction and guidance for reading the Old Testament with profit, I have prepared this preface to the best of the ability God has given me.

I beg and really caution every pious Christian not to be offended by the simplicity of the language and stories encountered there, but fully realize that, however simple they may seem, these are the very words, works, judgments, and deeds of the majesty, power, and wisdom of the most high God.

For these are the Scriptures which make fools of all the wise and understanding, and are open only to the small and simple, as Christ says in Matthew 11:25.

Therefore, dismiss your own opinions and feelings, and think of the Scriptures as the loftiest and noblest of holy things, as the richest of mines which can never be sufficiently explored, in order that you may find that divine wisdom which God lays here before you in such simple guise as to quench all pride.

Here you find the swaddling cloths and the manger in which Christ lies, and to which the angel points the shepherds (Luke 2:12). Simply and lowly are these swaddling cloths, but dear is the treasure, Christ, who lies in them.”

–Martin Luther, “Preface to the Old Testament (1523/1545),” in Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings, 2nd Ed, Ed. Timothy F. Lull (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2005), 114.

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