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New Testament Writers
The three most distinguished writers of the New Testament are Peter, Paul and John. Between them they wrote twenty of the twenty-seven books which are in the NT, and represent the range of character and wisdom which has influenced Christianity throughout history.
After the ascension of Jesus the congregation of Jerusalem became the mother church of Jewish Christianity, and thus of all Christendom. It grew both inwardly and outwardly under the personal direction of the apostles, chiefly of Peter, to whom the Lord had early assigned a peculiar prominence in the work of building his visible church on earth.
No character in the New Testament is brought before us in such life-like colors, with all his virtues and faults, as that of Peter. He was frank and transparent, and always gave himself as he was, without any reserve.
He most sincerely loved the Lord from the start and had no rest nor peace till he found forgiveness. With all his weakness he was a noble, generous soul, and of the greatest service in the church.
To the Christian Church the double story of Peterís denial and recovery has been ever since an unfailing source of warning and comfort. Having turned again to his Lord, who prayed for him that his personal faith fail not, he is still strengthening the brethren.
1 Peter, 2 Peter
Saul or Paul was of strictly Jewish parentage, but was born, a few years after Christ, in the renowned Grecian commercial and literary city of Tarsus, in the province of Cilicia, and inherited the rights of a Roman citizen.
Saul was a Pharisee of the strictest sect, not indeed of the hypocritical type, so witheringly rebuked by our Saviour, but of the honest, truth-loving and truth-seeking sort, like that of Nicodemus and Gamaliel. His very fanaticism in persecution arose from the intensity of his conviction and his zeal for the religion of his fathers. He persecuted in ignorance, and that diminished, though it did not abolish, his guilt. He was determined to exterminate the dangerous sect from the face of the earth, for the glory of God. But the height of his opposition was the beginning of his devotion to Christianity.
The conversion of Paul marks not only a turning-point in his personal history, but also an important epoch in the history of the apostolic church, and consequently in the history of mankind.
Saul converted became at once Paul the missionary. Being saved himself, he made it his life-work to save others. His chief mission was to the Gentiles, without excluding the Jews, according to the message of Christ delivered through Ananias: "Thou shalt bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel."
The public life of Paul, from the third year after his conversion to his martyrdom, a.d. 40Ė64, embraces a quarter of a century, three great missionary campaigns with minor expeditions, five visits to Jerusalem, and at least four years of captivity in Caesarea and Rome.
In the Gospel of Mark, John appears as a Son of Thunder (Boanerges). This surname, given to him and to his elder brother by our Saviour, was undoubtedly an epithet of honor and foreshadowed his future mission, like the name Peter given to Simon. Thunder to the Hebrews was the voice of God. It conveys the idea of ardent temper, great strength and vehemence of character whether for good or for evil, according to the motive and aim.
The same thunder which terrifies does also purify the air and fructify the earth with its accompanying showers of rain. Fiery temper under the control of reason and in the service of truth is as great a power of construction as the same temper, uncontrolled and misdirected, is a power of destruction. Johnís burning zeal and devotion needed only discipline and discretion to become a benediction and inspiration to the church in all ages. more...
Gospel of John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Revelation