Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What are the Old and New Testaments?

Before we read anymore of Luke, let's go over what the Old and New Testaments are.

The Old Testament is scripture that both Christians and Jews consider holy. It was written by multiple people from c.1400 BC to 400 BC. It has 39 books. The different books have different styles: law, history, proverbs, philosophy, song lyrics, prayers, prophecies, poetry.

The New Testament is written by followers of Jesus Christ, from c.40 AD to 80 AD. These writers frequently quote the Old Testament, believing that it foretold things about Jesus - things that they saw come true, or heard about. The New Testament has 27 books: 5 story books, 21 letters, and 1 apocryphal book (an old genre).

Both Testaments together are the Christian Bible.

Just a thought: I think that ancient Judaism (in it's purist form) and Christianity (in it's purist form) are the same religion.

Another Snippet on Luke

Forgot to mention, Luke was friends with the Apostle Paul (who wrote many of the letters in the New Testament). He traveled with him on some of his journeys.

Let's Start in Luke

I'm kicking off this blog with the book of Luke, because it's the next one on my list. I first read Luke when I was in 7th grade and really liked it.

A bit about Luke, the book
Luke is the third book in the New Testament (42nd book in the Bible), though, really, it's just a long letter. It was written by a guy named Luke. The book is traditionally called The Gospel According to (St) Luke.

A bit about Luke, the person
Luke is unique to the Bible. He is the only writer who wasn't a Jew. Well, there are snippets here and there that are written by Gentiles (non-Jews). For instance, King Nebuchadnezzar of the Neo-Babylonian empire wrote a part of the book of Daniel; some other kings wrote parts at the end of Proverbs. But as far as entire books go, Luke is the sole Gentile writer in the Bible.

Luke was from Antioch, or Antakya, Turkey. He was a physician. He seems to enjoy or value history. You can tell by the way he writes. He always mentions everything in context of history.

A bit more about Luke, the book
Luke wrote this book to a guy named Theophilus, a name that means "Loved by God" - I think. Theo -> God. Philus -> Love. He wrote the book in Greek.

It's part 1 of a two part story. Part 2 is called The Book of Acts, or, The Acts of The Apostles. Part 1, Luke, is about the life of Jesus of Nazareth.

Off the top of my head, I don't recall when it was written. I think around 50 AD? So about fifteen years after Jesus died. Maybe? What do our friends at Wikipedia say? What do you think?

As far as manuscripts go, they have manuscripts from the late 100s AD. So, that's like trusting that a copy of Moby Dick bought at Barnes & Noble today is the same thing that Herman Melville wrote back in 1850. Wouldn't you say?

One more thing
Luke makes a point that this story is in chronological order. Nice. Thanks, Luke! What a pal!

New Blog

I'm starting a new blog because, 1) it's 3:30 am and I'm not tired and don't expect to fall asleep soon, 2) I keep intending to change the nature of my other blog, unsuccessfully, 3) umm... I think it will be good for me.

This blog is about following Jesus Christ.

I'll try to post frequently. So subscribe. More importantly, comment. This blog will work best as a dialogue.