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New Testament Survey

About Christ



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And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Luke 24:27
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It’s All About Christ

It must be remembered that the entire Bible is about Jesus Christ. The “seed” of woman which will bruise the heal of the serpent (Gen 3:15) is Jesus. The “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” who is the ultimate ruler (Rev 19:11) is Jesus Christ. As you read and study all of Scripture, but especially the New Testament, this must be remembered. Accordingly, it is good to have a perspective on the actual chronology of Jesus’s life as a man. This means rearranging the material of the Gospels into a time frame based upon Christ’s life on earth. Such an effort is commonly called a harmony of the Gospels. Very detailed harmonies have been published and may be found in many study Bibles. A study of all these harmonies will reveal differences of opinion over the location of some events. For example, are the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-6-7) and the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 11) the same event?

Our study does not require a detailed, verse-by-verse harmony. But it is good to have a basic understanding of how the Gospels fit together. Following is such a general harmony. Please note in reviewing these harmonies, man’s lust of detail and knowledge creates one final survey issue. When did Christ commence His ministry? Or stated another way, when was Christ crucified?

Our modern calendar was developed under the reigns of Julius Caesar and Pope Gregory. In 46 B.C., Julius Caesar adapted a new calendar to correct the dates of the calendar to the seasons. This calendar was designed to have the civil and religious and solar calendars all in accord. This correction occurs today as leap years.

As the Christian religion became the predominate religion the Roman empire, people began to reckon time from the birth of Christ rather than from day 1 on the Julian calendar. What would have been the year 47 became A.D. 1.

However, the Julian calendar proved to be defective. In 1582, the Gregorian calendar skipped ten days to again adjust the “leap years,” restoring the concurrence of solar and civil years. It is referred to as the Gregorian calendar and is the calendar in use today, even though it took about 200 years for the majority of the world to switch to this calendar for dating purposes..

Around 1600, the movement was put forth that the calculations of the early Christians as to the date of birth of Christ was not correct. Records discovered over the past couple of hundred years support this argument. Based upon biblical statements as the key to the timing of events, Jesus was actually born in 4/5 B.C. Modern historical information shows that Herod the Great died in April, 4 B.C. He was king when Jesus was born. Further, in order to fit with the story of the Magi (Matt 2:16), Jesus was probably born at least one year before Herod’s death.

Luke 3:1 tells us John the Baptist began his ministry in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar. This appears to be 28/29 A.D. Christ’s public ministry commenced shortly thereafter, probably then in the summer or fall of A.D. 29. This would make Jesus 32 or 33 years of age, “about” the age of thirty as stated by Luke 3:23.

Jesus was crucified on the Jewish feast of Passover (John 12:1; 13:1; 18:28). Since the date of Passover may be calculated because it occurs on the same Jewish calendar date each year, Nisan 14, there are only two options during this period for a Friday date. One was in A.D. 30 and the other in A.D. 33. This last date is the most likely and fits with the chronology of John’s Gospel. John specifically mentions three different Passovers, John 2:13, 6:4, and 11:55. A review of all the Gospels suggest a fourth Passover at John 5:1. This, then, coincides with a date of death in A.D. 33.

A harmony of the life of Christ will be found here.  It is a large page and will take a few seconds to load.  It will open in a separate window.

 

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Is the actual date of Jesus’ death important?

One way to think of Christ’s ministry is to group it as three years and consider each year as having a theme. In this approach, the

As you review the chronology, note that parables, miracles, teachings to crowds, and talks with individuals are all mixed together. In today’s world of efficient evangelism, we may become too involved in worrying about what our evangelistic style is and how to use it. When we do this we lose sight of our audience. Jesus kept His audience in sight at all times. He used different styles of reaching out in differing situations, all based upon the audience. Remember how Paul phrases it.

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20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
1 Corinthians 9:20-22

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Are you like Paul?

How well do you do?

 

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