Scripture and Its Interpretation

A Global, Ecumenical Introduction to the Bible


4. The Writings of the New Covenant (The New Testament)

Reviewing the Chapter

  1. What four main kinds of literature do we find in the New Testament?
  2. What is a Gospel, and what are some of the issues (for example, the Synoptic Problem) involved in understanding how the Gospels came into existence?
  3. What are some distinctive aspects of each of the four canonical Gospels?
  4. How would you describe the nature, basic contents, and purpose of the letters we find in the New Testament? Be prepared to say something specific about the contents of Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, 1 Peter, Hebrews, and James.
  5. Describe the literary genre and basic contents of the book of Revelation (or the Apocalypse).
  6. What are some of the commonalities among the diverse books of the New Testament?
  7. How would you describe the relationship between the New Testament and the Old Testament?

Engaging a Central Issue

Respond to the following claim Michael Gorman makes in this chapter (p. 73): “In many respects, the NT is both a narrative continuation of, and an extended commentary on, the OT in light of Jesus Christ—that is, Jesus the Jewish Messiah.”

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. How has this chapter challenged your understanding of the NT?
  2. How might the understanding of the Gospels presented in this chapter affect the way you read and engage them individually and collectively?
  3. Is it important to know something about the specific situation, including the author and community, that occasioned a NT writing, such as a letter? Why or why not? Does it matter that we cannot always know the author and audience? Why or why not?
  4. Which one or two of the proposed unifying factors in the NT writings do you find most significant? Why?