A Faithful Version

From the Stephens Text of 1550



Billions of people have the New Testament, but most do not understand what it really is. Although many have read it, very few realize why, when, and by whom it was written. Chapters One through ____answer these vital questions.

What Is the New Testament?

The New Testament is not a collection of cleverly concocted myths to establish a religious movement or to create vast ecclesiastical empires to rule men and women. It is the divinely inspired account of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, whose life and teachings fulfilled hundreds of prophecies in the Old Testament. It is a message from God the Father and Jesus Christ to all mankind—not only to the rich and educated, but also, even more importantly, to the common man and woman. Its God-breathed words and teachings set forth the Father's entire plan for our salvation, called the "gospel of grace" and "the gospel of the kingdom of God." The New Testament proclaims God the Father's love for us, shown in His forgiveness of our sin, and reveals the way to eternal life through Jesus Christ, as summarized in John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish, but may have everlasting life." It is the greatest book in the world! The New Testament is greater than the Old Testament, because the New Testament interprets the Old. Combined, the New and Old Testaments constitute the entire Word of God revealed to the world.

The New Testament is God the Father's personal revelation of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Jesus was no ordinary man, wisdom-teacher, or religious sage! He was God manifest in the flesh (I Tim. 3:16). However, before He was made flesh, He was the Creator, the LORD God of the Old Testament. The apostle John was inspired to reveal the truth of Jesus Christ's divine identity when He wrote: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Hun, and not even one thing that was created came into being without Him. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

"The true light was that which enlightens everyone who comes into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through Him, but the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him; but as many as received Him, to them He gave authority to become the children of God, even to those who believe in His name; who were not begotten by bloodlines, nor by the will of the flesh, nor by the will of man; but by the will of…




It is vital to understand that the New Testament was written in Koine Greek, which was the common spoken and written language for hundreds of years in Palestine and the Roman Empire before the days of Jesus and His apostles. This is the language that Jesus, the apostles and early New Testament Church used. Greek was the universal language of commerce and trade.

Some erroneously teach that the New Testament was originally written in the Hebrew language and was later translated into Greek. Because they have not studied the history of Palestine, they fail to realize that Hebrew had ceased to be spoken by the Jews many centuries before the New Testament era.

Under the Babylonian and Medo-Persian empires, 640-330 BC, Aramaic exerted the greatest influence. The writings of Daniel, who lived and worked during the time of the Chaldean and Persian Empires, show the extensive influence of Syriac and Chaldee, which were dialects of Aramaic. The Persians ruled Palestine from the time of Daniel and Ezra until its invasion by Alexander the Great in 330 BC. From that time, the influence of Aramaic was overshadowed by the influence of Greek. Samuel G. Green, a renowned Biblical scholar, described this significant change as follows:

"But as a direct result of the conquests of Alexander the Great and his successors, the Greek tongue had been carried into almost all the countries of the civilized world, and had become the medium of commercial intercourse, the language of the courts, and, in fact, the universal literary tongue of the provinces afterwards absorbed in the Roman Empire. The natives of Alexandria and of Jerusalem, of Ephesus, and even of Rome, alike adopted it; everywhere with characteristic modifications, but substantially the same. Hence it had become a necessity to translate the Old Testament Scriptures into Greek....This translation, or the Septuagint, naturally became the basis of all subsequent Jewish Greek literature, and in particular of the New Testament" (Green, Handbook to the Grammar of the Greek Testament, pp. 155-156, emphasis added).

The Influence of Greek in Jewish Literature

As Green stated, the Greek translation of the Old Testament was followed by other Jewish Greek literature. Rabbi B. Z. Wacholder is one of the leading scholars in Jewish Greek literature of the period from Alexander to Christ. Martin…



The answer to this question is fundamental to the authenticity and authority of the New Testament as the inspired Word of God. Some scholars and theologians believe that the New Testament is merely a collection of religious myths written decades after the deaths of those who were traditionally held to have written them. However, when one examines the New Testament, one discovers substantial evidence that those who wrote it were the original disciples of Jesus Christ and eyewitnesses of His ministry, and that what they wrote is the true, inspired Word of God.

Part One:

The Compilation and Writing of the Gospels

and the Book of Acts

No one today who seeks to know the authorship of the Gospels can ignore the popular theories of scholars who believe that the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were written by third- or fourth-generation storytellers and are pure folklore and myth. Robert W. Funk and the scholars in the "Jesus Seminar" in Santa Rosa, California, are perhaps the most extreme of this group in their rejection of the Gospels—and the rest of the New Testament—as the inspired Word of God They theorize that nearly all the stories about Jesus Christ contained in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are purely folklore. They explain the compilation of the Gospels as follows:

"In the absence of hard information, scholars theorize that the New Testament gospels were composed during the last quarter of the first century by third-generation authors on the basis of folk memories preserved in stories that had circulated by word of mouth for decades. The oral stories the four evangelists recorded had been shaped, reshaped, augmented, and edited by numerous storytellers for a half century or more before achieving their final written forms" (Robert W. Funk and the Jesus Seminar, The Acts of Jesus, p. 2).

"The followers of Jesus no doubt began to repeat his witticisms and parables during his lifetime. They soon began to recount stories about him, perhaps about his encounters with critics or about his amazing way with the sick and demon-possessed. As time went by, the words were gathered into compounds and clusters suggested by common themes or by catchwords to make them easier to remember and quote. His parables were retold and adapted to new audiences with each performance. The stories were likewise repeated by individual storytellers, who retold them in their own words, sometimes adding or omitting details as imagination or memory dictated" (Ibid., p. 2)…




Chapters One through Three have established, from Scripture and history, who wrote the New Testament and in what language. This chapter focuses on when it was written. The opinions and hypotheses of scholars vary widely. On the one hand, some view the New Testament as a collection of fables and myths verbally passed on by storytellers for generations before any written documents were made. On the other hand, many scholars believe that most of the New Testament was written before the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. Both theories will be examined in this chapter; and the historical evidence will be compared with the internal evidence of the New Testament. Then, the facts will be put together and key historical dates and persons of the Roman Empire will be coordinated with the chronology of the book of Acts and the calculated Hebrew calendar to determine the approximate dates at which the books of the New Testament were written. Investigation will begin with the earliest written, and progress in chronological order to the latest written. This order differs somewhat from the placement of books in the canonical New Testament.

Robert W. Funk and the Jesus Seminar has presented the following chronological framework for the compilation of the gospels: "It is essential in assessing the historical reliability of the gospels to bear in mind that sayings ascribed to Jesus and individual stories told about him circulated orally for two decades or more before the first written records were created. It was another two decades or more before the first narrative gospel was composed. And then it was another decade or two before the derivative gospels were composed. In round numbers, the chronology of the written gospels may be divided into twenty-year periods:

30 C.E. death of Jesus

50+ C.E. written collections of sayings (Q)

70+ C.E. first narrative gospel (Mark)

90+ C.E. derivative gospels (Matthew, Luke, John)" (Robert W. Funk and the Jesus Seminar, The Acts of Jesus, p. 8).

In their chronology of the compilation of the Gospels, the only year that is correct is the year of Jesus' crucifixion—30 CE, or 30 AD. As we will see later, all the other dates are far too late. To support their hypotheses, these scholars have posited a chronological framework for the writing of the Gospels that spans sixty years. By using such a scheme, they are able to discount the possibility that any of the Gospels were completed before 70-90 AD. This chronology is not based on the true facts of history or the verifiable dates of historical persons mentioned in the New Testament. It also ignores the internal evidence in other books of the New Testament…




The First Key:

The Battle Against False Apostles,

False Doctrines and the Great Apostasy

Before the apostles even began preaching the gospel, Jesus warned them time and time again that there would be false prophets and ministers, and even false Christs (Matt. 24:4-5, 11, 24). They were confronted with this from the very beginning. They were to beware not only of the teachings of Judaism but also those of the pagan Gnostic religion of Samaria and Egypt, as well as other heathen religions. Since Ezra's day, Samaria had been a stronghold of false worship. The apostate worship of the Samaritans, which might have been the primary reason for canonizing the Old Testament, continued down to New Testament times and beyond.

The first confrontation of the apostles with a false prophet occurred at Samaria. The Gnostic heresy of Samaria reared its ugly head in a new manner to work against the apostles and the burgeoning New Testament Church. Early in the ministry of the apostles, in 31 AD, they were confronted by the influential Gnostic religious leader of Samaria, Simon Magus, who claimed to be the great power of God: "But there was a certain man named Simon, who had from earlier times been practicing sorcery in the city and astounding the nation of Samaria, proclaiming himself to be some great one. To him they had all given heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, 'This man is the great power of God.' Now they were giving heed to him because he had for a long time bewitched them with sorceries" (Acts 8:9-11).

Newly ordained a deacon, Phillip came to Samaria to preach the Gospel. After Simon saw the miracles that Phillip had performed, he was baptized. Although Phillip baptized Simon, however, it is evident that God never honored that baptism and Simon never received the Holy Spirit, because he never repented and received the laying on of hands. When the apostles in Jerusalem heard of this, they sent Peter and John to Samaria to oppose Simon Magus, who wanted to buy the power of the Holy Spirit: "Now when Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given by the laying on of the hands of the apostles, he offered them money, saying, 'Give this authority to me also, so that on whomever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit.' But Peter said to him, 'May your money be destroyed…





One of the most profound questions regarding the Old and New Testament Scriptures is: When and by whom were the Scriptures canonized?

The canonization of the Scriptures was the process by which certain books officially became recognized as the God-inspired, authentic books of the Holy Scriptures. These books and these alone—to the exclusion of all others—were to be accepted, and used with full faith and confidence as the inspired, authoritative Word of God. Once these books had been canonized by the true servants of God, all other books and writings were officially excluded. While other writings, books and epistles may elaborate on certain points of Scripture or history, they may never be considered Scripture. They do not have the authority of Scripture, nor are they equal to Scripture, because they were never included in the official and final canonization. In fact, God even inspired that some books, which are referenced in the Old and New Testament, be excluded from canonization.

As such then, the officially canonized Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are the inspired Word of God. Thus, the Bible bears the authority of God as His revealed Word to the exclusion of all other writings. It is the "Truth of God" from "the God of Truth" to the apex of His creation—mankind. Every person can have full faith and confidence that the Holy Bible is the Word of God. It reveals how one is to live and how one can worship God in Spirit and in truth. When the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, he elaborated on the inspiration and use of the Holy Scriptures: "And that from a child you have known the holy writings [the canonized Old Testament], which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture [including the New Testament books] is God-inspired, and is profitable for doctrine, for conviction, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work" (II Tim. 3:15-17).

Because the Scriptures are God-inspired, not humanly contrived myths and folklore, Jesus Christ made it clear that everyone is to live by them. When He was tempted by Satan the devil, Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of man, emphatically exclaimed that He Himself lived by every word of God: "And when the tempter came to Him, he said, 'If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.' But He answered and said, 'It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." ' "




Historical Background—70 AD to 100 AD

In Palestine, by the spring of 70 AD, the stage was set for the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The noted Jewish historian, Josephus, wrote that during the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread, April 13-20, 70 AD, a record number of Jewish pilgrims, who were pious followers of Judaism, came from all parts of the Roman Empire to keep the Passover and Feast. The Romans allowed the Jews free passage into the city. He recorded that there were "two million seven hundred thousand and two hundred persons who were pure and holy," (besides those who were not pure) in and around the city of Jerusalem (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, bk. 6:9:3). Since they did not believe that Jesus Christ was the prophesied Messiah, perhaps they were anticipating that if enough Jews observed the Passover at the temple in Jerusalem, its prophesied destruction could be turned back; then, the Messiah would come and defeat the Roman army, and they would be saved. However, that was not to be. After the multitudes were in the city, the Roman army under Titus surrounded Jerusalem, and its doom was sealed.

Soon, Jerusalem would be utterly destroyed. Within the city and its temple, the internal fighting between various Jewish factions killed many thousands. In addition, because of the tremendous number of people trapped in the city, the food supply was soon exhausted. Coupled with the assaults by the Roman army, tens of thousands died of famine—with many resorting to cannibalism. In the streets, rotting bodies were heaped high and stacked in the upper rooms of the houses. So appalling was the scene that when the Romans entered the city, they could hardly believe that what they witnessed was true. Josephus described the horrifying carnage they encountered: "So the Romans being now become the masters of the walls, they both placed their ensigns upon the towers, and made joyful acclamations for the victory they had gained, as having found the end of this war much lighter than its beginning; for when they had gotten upon the last wall, without any bloodshed, they could hardly believe what they found to be true; but seeing nobody to oppose them, they stood in doubt what such an unusual solitude could mean.

"But when they went in numbers into the lanes of the city with their swords drawn, they slew those whom they overtook without mercy, and set fire to the houses whither the Jews were fled, and burnt every soul of them, and laid waste a great many of the rest; and when they were come to the houses to plunder them, they found in them entire families of dead men, and the upper rooms full of dead corpses, that is, of such as died by famine; they then stood in horror at this sight,…