Vol.IX No.XII Pg.7
February 1973

You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Some friends from school got to gather to rap about the Bible, and one asked how we knew these writings were really old, and intended as something other than private letters. CG


Keep those rap sessions going, but dont expect to solve ancient history questions without proper research. No reputable scholar denies the general historicity of the N. T. Its purpose is declared internally and externally.

The very form of the N.T. may surprise the beginner who, because he is told this is a rule book, may expect to find doctrines and commands neatly indexed and detailed. He may be confused by the many letters and may wonder if these writings were ever intended to be used as a guide for faith and conduct today. But there is a vast difference in a private letter and the epistolary literary form used to convey a message to the public. (Consider our To whom It May Concern or Open Letter.) The Holy Spirit chose a variety of literary forms in which to embalm the truth.

Note Col. 4:16, And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. (The last expression is genitive— the epistle of Laodicea, i.e., one that had been written to them.) In Acts 15:23-29 (see 16:4) there is a record of a letter meant to be distributed to various brethren, to testify of certain necessary things. The letter to Corinth, though having specific application to the church in Corinth, was addressed also to all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Cor. 1:2)

Peter willed, before his death, to put his instructions in a permanent form so that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. (2 Pet. 1:13-f.) To that end, he wrote First and Second Peter. (2 Pet. 3:1-2) In this same chapter he wrote of Pauls epistles, and classified them with the other Scriptures. (vs. 16)

The physician Luke wrote that thou mightest know the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed. That is to say, he wrote deliberately, a record of events. One can scarcely read Lu. 1:1-4 and Acts 1:1-f, without realizing this long-range intent. And John declares the sufficiency of his writings for their intended purpose, saying, These are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of Cod; and that believing ye might have life through His name. (Jn. 20:31)

The writings of the Ante-Nicean Fathers (up to 325 A.D.) are filled with quotations from the books of the N. T.; used to prove and establish various doctrines. A quote is of weight only if the public (readers) accept the source as authoritative. The very wide use of N. T. Scripture in these early years, and the care taken to reproduce and preserve the writings, further prove their validity as permanent statements of the faith...delivered unto the saints. He that hath an ear, let him hear.