New Testament

IMPORTANT NOTE: These questions are designed to stimulate a careful review of all course materials. The answers may be found in the lectures, readings, and/or the New Testament itself. Check those resources first before contacting the professor with any questions.
You should be able to identify and explain the significance of the following names or terms.

Alexander the Great Ezra Ptolemies
Antiochus Epiphanies Nehemiah Qumran
Apocrypha Herod Antipas Sadducees
Diaspora Maccabean Revolt Samaritans
Hellenization Herod the Great Zerubbabel
Cornelius Zacchaeus Seleucids
Apocalypticism Pentecost Septuagint
Essenes Temple Torah
Synoptic gospels Synagogue Zealots
Scribes Pharisees Second Temple Judaism

You should be able to answer the following questions:

Second Temple Judaism and Political Landscape Prior to NT

• What are the dates generally given for the Second Temple Period?
• What events mark the beginning and ending of the Second Temple Period?
• Who lead the three separate returns to Jerusalem after the exile and what did each of these individuals emphasize in terms of Israel’s post-exilic identity?
• Describe some aspects of Hellenization (Greek culture), which threatened Israel’s identity in the period between the testaments?
• What were the two responses by Israel to the Hellenization under Greco-Roman rule?
• What was significant about the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek?
• What is the attitude of the Psalms of Solomon towards the Roman general Pompey?
• What are the four pillars of Jewish faith according to N.T. Wright? How was each significant to Jewish identity?
• List five aspects of the Temple’s significance.
• How did the early church redefine the four central pillars of the Jewish faith?
• Which group within first century Judaism had control of the high priesthood?
• Which group within first century Judaism were the precursors of “rabbinic Judaism”?
• What are the two “keynotes” of Pharasaism?
• Why is the intertestamental literature important to our understanding of the New Testament?
• Describe the “promise” and the “peril” in at least three categories of the Roman Imperial system in the first century.

Canon, Gospels and Acts

• What eventually became the criteria for determining a book’s canonicity?
• What is meant by the statement that the gospel writers match historical reliability with careful composition?
• How much material is shared between the three synoptic gospels? How much material is shared between the synoptics and John’s gospel?
• How do we deal with apparent discrepancies in the gospel accounts?
• What is the difference in the two genealogies given in Matthew and Luke?
• Name the two gospels in which the birth of Jesus is recorded.
• Who are the rather surprising additions to Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus?
• Why does Jesus get baptized?
• According to the lectures, what does Jesus see as the center of Torah?
• What four categories summarize Jesus’ public ministry?
• Give three types of “mighty works” performed by Jesus during his public ministry.
• According to some scholars, which event most likely triggered Jesus’ death?
• Which gospel has the greatest amount of discourse (teaching) material?
• Which gospel was most likely written for a Jewish audience? What clues tell you that?
• How exactly does Matthew present Jesus as Israel and as a new Moses?
• How would you summarize the gospel of Matthew?
• In which gospel does the Sermon on the Mount appear?
• The beatitudes draw inspiration from which Old Testament book and chapter?
• What is the key hermeneutic for understanding the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount?
• In Matthew’s apocalyptic discourse, which two themes does Jesus meld and why?
• Why do we emphasize that “make disciples” is the only imperative in the Great Commission (Matt 28:16-20)?
• Jesus’ death ushered in what might be termed “inaugurated eschatology.” What does this actually mean?
• Which gospel is characterized more by the deeds of Jesus than by his teaching?
• Which gospel appears to have been written first according to most contemporary scholars?
• What are some distinctives of Mark’s gospel?
• What are some important themes in the gospel of Mark?
• According to the lectures, the theme of purity unites which two stories in the gospel of Mark?
• What is the significance of the jar of spikenard in Mark 14?
• What are some characteristics of the jar of spikenard in Mark 14 that add interest and depth to the story?
• Which gospel was addressed to an individual?
• How would you summarize the gospel of Luke?
• What are some of the major themes of Luke-Acts? (NOTE: In the outline notes, Lecture 4, II, it only states Major Themes of Luke’s Gospel but should read Major Themes of Luke-Acts)
• How do Luke’s infancy narratives contribute to the overall themes of Luke-Acts?
• How does Luke demonstrate the conflict and crisis in Jesus’ ministry and that of the church? Provide concrete examples.
• How does Luke demonstrate that God is bringing about a new, inclusive, Spirit-filled community?
• With which saying does Jesus conclude the episode with Zacchaeus?
• How does Luke foreshadow the Book of Acts at the end of his gospel?
• In what chapter of what book does Jesus demonstrate that the entirety of the Old Testament teaches about him?
• Why does John echo the words of Genesis 1 when he begins his gospel?
• How do we reconcile John’s narrative of the cleansing of the temple at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry vs. at the end in the synoptics?
• List the “I am” statements in John’s gospel.
• Which gospel is characterized by the interplay of signs, discourses and feasts?
• Name four Jewish feasts, which are referred to in John’s gospel.
• List six “signs” which Jesus performs in John’s gospel.
• Which four geographical references in Acts 1 form a kind of outline for the book as a whole?
• The Pentecost event in Acts 2 stands in contrast to which important Old Testament story?
• The Pentecost event (the Spirit falling on a group of people) is repeated four times in the Book of Acts including a very dramatic first time. Name the chapter and the people group where we see the Pentecost event repeated in Acts.
• How do we know that the Cornelius episode is important to Luke? And how does this event contribute to the overall themes of the Book of Acts?
• What is the importance of the speeches in Acts?
• What is significant about the Jerusalem council (Acts 15) and how does this contribute to Luke’s overall theme in Acts?
• List some important pastoral principles found in Paul’s speech to the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:17-38).
• How does Luke tie Jesus and Paul together?
• What are some church planting characteristics that we identified in the Book of Acts?
• Compare and contrast the way that Paul preaches to Jews in Acts vs. the way he preaches to Gentiles.

Paul, Galatians and 1 / 2 Thessalonians

• Why is Paul such an important figure within the New Testament and in relation to the New Testament writings?
• Why must we pay attention to the particular situation in which Paul wrote his letters?
• In the scholarly community, which letters are considered genuine Pauline epistles?
• Why do some state that Paul’s “missionary journeys” should be characterized more as establishing missionary outposts?
• Why is it important to track Paul’s journey’s as it relates to his writings?
• Why would some argue that Paul hijacked Christianity?
• What are some Pauline emphases in his epistles?
• What is the problem being addressed in Galatians?
• Why does Paul feel it is so critical to confront Peter as he relates in Galatians?
• How are Paul, Silvanus and Timothy all related to the Thessalonian church?
• What is the occasion for the writing of 1 Thessalonians?
• What is the purpose of Paul’s description of the second coming in 1 Thessalonians?
• What is the main theme of 2 Thessalonians?
• What is the New Testament perspective regarding eschatology? How is it used?