Showing posts from August, 2010

New Testament Tales - letters from the missionary field

Letters from the Missionary Field 1. Which is believed to the first written epistle? 2. Which city did Paul write his first letters to? 3. How many letters did Paul write to the Corinthians? 4. Which letters were carried by a runaway slave? 5. Where did Peter write his first letter from? 6. Why might we think 1&2 Timothy and Titus were written later than Paul’s other letters? 7. Why might Paul not have signed the letter to the Hebrews? 8. When did Peter write his second letter? 9. When did Jude write his letter? 10. When did John do his writing? The epistle of James is generally considered to have been written first, probably before 50AD since it doesn’t mention circumcision which became such a major controversy in the early church. Paul would have visited Galatia around 51AD carrying Peter’s letter with the judgment about circumcision (Acts 16), moving on to Philippi and Thessalonica (Acts 16,17) via jails and riots and to Corinth (Acts 18) where he spent eighteen mont

New Testament Tales - Out of Israel

Out of Israel 1. What nationality and background were the first Christians? 2. How long did Christian believers worship in Jerusalem before being scattered? 3. How soon after Jesus’ death did he appear to Saul of Tarsus? 4. Where were Christians first called Christians? 5. What were they called before that? 6. When were they first called Christians? 7. What happened around ten years after Jesus’ death? 8. When did Paul start travelling to preach the Gospel? 9. When did Paul start writing to preach the Gospel? 10. When did Luke start travelling with Paul? The book of Acts opens around 30AD. The first followers of Christ are crowd celebrating Pentecost, converted after hearing Peter’s sermon (Psalm 16:10, Joel 2:28). The church functions much like any other Jewish sect, except for a more radical call to sharing. Stephen, chosen to keep peace between Hellenist (Greek-speaking) and Nationalist (Arabic-speaking) believers, is stoned in 33AD, and Saul begins his persecution of Ch

New Testament Tales - Building a Church

Building a Church 1. What were the first deacons appointed to do? 2. Which men called to work in food distribution became famous for their preaching? 3. When did the first baptisms take place after Jesus’ resurrection? 4. What rules did the early church follow for Baptisms? 5. What rules did the early church follow for Communion? 6. What rules did the early church follow for sharing property? 7. Who is the first “evangelist”? 8. What happened to Ananias and Sapphira? 9. Who worked miracles in the early church? 10. Who spoke in tongues? After receiving the Holy Spirit, the disciples set about continuing Jesus’ mission, first as a Jewish sect in Jerusalem, and then around the world. Like many other Jewish sects, they cared for their widows and orphans. And like many human groups, they ended up trying to resolve disputes about fair play. The 12 disciples chose 7 people (generally considered to be the first deacons, though the Bible doesn’t say so) to deal with everyday life, f

New Testament Tales - Life after Death

Life after Death 1. How long did Jesus stay with the disciples after his resurrection? 2. What’s the biggest number of people the Bible records seeing Jesus after his resurrection? 3. What supernatural things did Jesus do after his resurrection? 4. What natural things did Jesus do after his resurrection? 5. What did Thomas do besides doubting? 6. Where did Jesus first appear after his death? 7. Where did Jesus last appear in the Bible after his death? 8. Who walked to Emmaus? 9. How long after the ascension was Pentecost? 10. Who is the thirteenth disciple? According to Acts (1:3) Jesus appeared to his disciples over a period of forty days after his resurrection. It’s not clear if anyone was keeping count, or if forty days was another way of saying “for a few weeks,” but forty is a number often used in the Bible – Noah’s flood, Jesus’ time in the desert, etc. Paul records Jesus appearing to 500 people at once (1 Cor 15:6), a pretty wild claim and one that would be easily di

New Testament Tales - Death and Resurrection

What Stories are Told of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection? 1. Who was Veronica? 2. What is the Turin shroud? 3. Who was Simon of Cyrene? 4. Who was Joseph of Arimathea? 5. What was the Holy Grail? 6. Who guarded the tomb? 7. Who moved the stone? 8. Who first realized Jesus was risen? 9. Who did Jesus first appear to? 10. Who first spoke in tongues? In the Bible, Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem as he carries his cross. Catholic tradition names one of the women as Veronica (a Latin version of Berenice, which means bearer of victory, though tradition includes the Greek eikon in the name, making it bearer of the image). Some traditions say she’s the woman who was healed of an issue of blood (establishing a prior connection between her and clothes touched by Jesus); others that she’s Martha, Lazarus’ sister. The story appears in the apocryphal Acts of Pilate. Some stories say Veronica’s veil was destroyed in the sack of Rome; others that it was never found; tradition says i

New Testament Tales - Why did Jesus die?

Why did Jesus die? 1. Who said “no one can see God and live?” 2. Who said “with his stripes we are healed?” 3. Who said “You shall bruise his heel?” 4. Who said “on a colt, the foal of an ass?” 5. Who said “they know not what they do?” 6. Who said “behold your son?” 7. Who said “you will be with me in Paradise?” 8. Who asked God why he had forsaken him? 9. Who said “It is finished?” 10. Who committed his Spirit into his Father’s hands? Why did Jesus die? In the Old Testament there are several places where we read that “no one can see God and live” (Exodus 33:20, Genesis 16). If the Godhead is “veiled” in Jesus, at least until the transfiguration, perhaps Jesus had to die so that we, all over the world, could see God and live. The Old Testament mandates different animal sacrifices to preserve the relationship between the people and God. Today we view the sacrifice of animals as somehow barbaric, though these animals died surrounded by sacred ritual and the devoted thanks of

New Testament Tales - What did Paul say?

What did Paul say? 1. about divorce? 2. about homosexuality? 3. about murder? 4. about sex outside marriage? 5. about law? 6. about faith? 7. about works? 8. about grace? 9. about women? 10. about the end of the world? Some people argue that Paul changed Jesus’ teaching, leading to a church based on Paul’s ideas rather than Jesus’. Certainly Paul teaches more about homosexuality (i.e. he mentions it), perhaps because of the locations in which he teaches. He treats it (and sex outside marriage) as sin, but references to homosexuality are couched in passages about fallen societies and the worship of pagan gods (Rom 1:22,26: such worship included “religious” homosexual acts), and in the context of God’s new law requiring more than “just” adherence to rules (I Cor 6:1,9, 1 Tim 1:10, 13). Paul’s teaching on marriage and divorce includes an injunction that it might be better to remain unmarried (1 Cor 7:7), but Jesus’ disciples made the same comment (Matt 19:10). Paul’s attitude