A BRIEF BIBLE HISTORY
A SURVEY OF
THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS
THE WESTMINSTER PRESS
XXX xj ^^ ^rxx X X y^y ^m^
htb :..-j 1932
Division 13s *o 3 5*
^,N OF PR.'.V^
A SURVEY OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS
JAMES OSCAR BOYD, Ph.D., D.D.
JOHN GRESHAM ]\L\CHEN, D.D.
THE WESTMINSTER PRESS
Copyright, 1922, by
The Trustees of the Presbyterian Board of
Publication and Sabbath School Work
Printed in the United States of America
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHURCH IN OLD
I. Before Abraham 7
11. The Patriarchs 10
HI. Egyptian Bondage and Deliverance 13
IV. Moses as Leader and Lawgiver 16
V. The Conquest and Settlement of Canaan 19
VI. The Period of the Judges 22
VII. Samuel and Saul: Prophecy and Monarchy 25
VIII. David and Solomon; Psahns and Wisdom 28
IX. The Ivingdom of Israel 31
X. The Ivingdom of Judah, to Hezekiah 34
XL Judah, from Hezekiah to the Exile 37
XII. The Exile and the Restoration 40
XIIL The Jewish State Under Persia 43
XIV. Israel's Religious Life 46
XV. "The Coming One" 49
THE LIFE OF CHRIST AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF
THE CHURCH IN NEW TESTAMENT TIMES
I. The Preparation 55
II. The Commg of the Lord 58
III. The Baptism. 61
IV. The Early Judean Ministry 64
V. The Beginning of the GaUlaean Ministry 67
VI. The Period of Popularity 70
VII. The Turning Point 73
VIII. Jesus as Messiah 76
IX. The Prediction of the Cross 79
X. The Last Journeys 83
XL Teaching in the Temple 86
XII. The Crucifixion 89
XIIL The Resurrection 93
XIV. The Beginnings of the Christian Church 96
XV. The First Persecution 99
XVI. The Conversion of Paul 102
XVII. The Gospel Given to the Gentiles 105
XVIII. The First Missionary Journey and the Apostolic Council. . 109
XIX. The Second Missionary Journey 112
XX. The Third Missionary Journey. The Epistle to the
XXI. The Third Missionary Journey. The Epistles to the
Corinthians and to the Romans 118
XXII. The First Imprisonment of Paul 122
XXIII. The Close of the Apostohc Age 125
This book surveys the history of God's redeeming grace. It reviews
Old Testament history, disclosing the stream of God's redeeming pur-
poses flowing down through the older times. It reviews New Testament
history, disclosing the broadening and deepening of that purpose for us
men and for mankind in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and his
The chapters included in this book appear also as a part of Teaching
the Teacher, a First Book in Teacher Training, and are issued in this
form to supply the demand for a brief Bible history, for popular reading.
Harold McA. Robinson.
The Development of the Church in Old
By James Oscar Boyd, Ph.D., D.D.
Genesis, Chapters 1 to 11
That part of the globe which comes within the view of the Old
Testament is mostly the region, about fifteen hundred miles square,
lying in the southwestern part of Asia, the southeastern part of Europe,
and the northeastern part of Africa. This is where the three conti-
nents of the Eastern Hemisphere come together. Roughly speaking it
includes Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, S>Tia, Palestine, Arabia, and
Egypt, with a fringe of other lands and islands stretching beyond
The heart of all this territory is that little strip of land, lying be-
tween the desert on the east and the Mediterranean Sea on the west,
knowTi as Syria and Palestine. It is some four hundred miles in length
and varies from fifty to one hundred miles in width. It has been well
called "the bridge of the world," for like a bridge it joins the largest
continent, Asia, to the next largest, Africa. And as Palestine binds the
lands together, so the famous Suez Canal at its southern end now binds
the seas together. To-day, therefore, as in all the past, this spot is the
crossroads of the nations.
Palestine has long been called the "Holy Land," because it is the
scene of most of the Bible story. Yet it would be a mistake to sup-
pose that that Bible story is hmited to Palestine. The book of Genesis
does not introduce the reader to Canaan (as it calls Palestine) until
he has reached its twelfth chapter. There is a sense in which the history
of God's people begins with Abraham, and it was Abraham who went
at God's bidding into the land of Canaan. The story of Abraham will
be taken up in the second lesson; but the Bible puts before the hfe of
Abraham all the familiar story that lies in the first eleven chapters of
Genesis and that forms the background for the figures of Abraham and
The location of this background is the basin of the Tigris and Eu-
phrates Rivers. These two streams are mentioned in Gen. 2 : 14 (the
Tigris under the form "Hiddekel") as the third and fourth "heads"
8 TEACHING THE TEACHER
of the "river that went out of Eden to water the garden" in which
our first parents dwelt. The region is at the southern end of what is
now called Mesopotamia. At the northern end of this river basin
towers the superb mountain known as Mount Ararat. But the "moun-
tains of Ararat," mentioned in Gen. 8 : 4 as the place where Noah's
ark rested when the waters of the Flood had subsided, are no particular
peak, but are the highlands of Kurdistan, which in ancient times were
called Urartu (Ararat). Between Kurdistan on the north and the
Persian Gulf on the south, the highlands of Persia on the east and the
great Syrian Desert on the west, occurred the earliest drama of human
That drama was a tragedy. It became a tragedy because of man's
sin. The wonderful poem of creation in Gen., ch. 1, has for the refrain
of its six stanzas, "God saw that it was good." Best of all was man,
the last and highest of God's works — man, made in "his own im-
age," after his likeness. On the sixth "day," when God made man,
God said of his work, "Behold, it was very good." More than that:
through the kindness of God man is put in a "garden," and is
ordered to "dress it and to keep it." Ch. 2 : 15. Adam sees his superi-
ority to the rest of the animal kingdom, over which he is given "do-
minion." He is thus prepared to appreciate the woman as a helpmeet
for him, so that the unit of society may ever mean for him one man
and one woman with their children. Adam is also warned against sin
as having disobedience for its root and death as its result.
All this prepares us to understand the temptation, the miserable
fall of the woman and the man, their terror, shame, and punishment.
Ch. 3. And we are not surprised to see the unfolding of sin in the life
of their descendants, beginning with Cain's murder of Abel, and grow-
ing until God sweeps all away in a universal deluge. Chs. 4, 6.
God's tender love for his foolish, rebellious creatures "will not let
them go." At the gates of the garden from which their sin has for-
ever banished them, God already declares his purpose to "bruise" the
head of that serpent, Rom. 16 : 20, who had brought "sin into
the world and death by sin," Gen. 3 : 15. Through the "seed of the
woman" — a "Son of man" of some future day — sinful man can escape
the death he has brought upon himself. And from Seth, the child
"appointed instead of" murdered Abel, a line of men descends, who
believe this promise of God. Ch. 5. In Enoch we find them "walking
with God," V. 24, in a fellowship that seemed lost when paradise was
OLD TESTAMENT TIMES
lost. In Lamech we find them hoping with each new generation that
God's curse will be at length removed. V. 29. And in Noah we find
them obedient to a positive command of God, ch. 6 : 22, as Adam
had been disobedient.
In the Flood, Noah and his family of eight were the only persons to
survive. When they had come from the ark after the Flood, God gave
them the promise that he would not again wipe out "all flesh." Ch.
9:11. But after it appeared that God's judgments had not made them
fear him, God was just as angry with Noah's descendants as he had
been with the men before the Flood. Pride led them to build a tower to
be a rallying point for their worship of self. But God showed them
that men cannot long work together with a sinful purpose as their
common object; he broke up their unity in sin by confusing their speech,
ch. 11, and scattering them over the earth, ch. 10. This second dis-
appointment found its brighter side in the Une of men descended from
Noah thropugh Shem, ch. 11 : 10, who also cherished God's promises.
And the last stroke of the writer's pen in these earUest chapters of the
Bible introduces the reader to the family of Terah in that line of Shem,
and thus prepares the way for a closer acquaintance with Terah's son,
Abraham, "the friend of God."
QUESTIONS ON LESSON I
1 . About how large is the world of the Old Testament, and where does
2. What special importance has Palestine because of its position?
3. How much of the story in Genesis is told before we are carried to
4. Locate on a map the scene of those earhest events in human
5. Show how the first two chapters of Genesis prepare for the tragedy
of sin and death that follows.
6. How does the brighter side of hope and faith appear from Adam to
7. What effect did the Flood have on men's sin and their faith in
8. Trace the descent of the man God chose to become "the father of
10 TEACHING THE TEACHER
Genesis, Chapters 12 to 50
God's purpose to save and bless all mankind was to be carried
out in a wonderful way. He selected and "called" one man to
become the head and ancestor of a single nation. And in this man
and the nation descended from him, God purposed to bless the whole
Abraham was^that man, and Israel was that nation. God made
known his purpose in what the Bible calls the Promise, Gal. 3 : 17, the
Blessing, v.. 14, or the Covenant, v. 17. Its terms are given many
times over in the book of Genesis, but the essence of it lies already in
the first word of God to Abraham, Gen. 12 : 3, "In thee shall all the
families of the earth be blessed."
To believe this promise was a work of faith. It was against all
appearances and all probability. Yet this was just where the religious
value of that promise lay for Abraham and for his children after him
— in faith. They had to believe something on the basis solely of their
confidence in the One who had promised it. Or rather, they had to
beheve in that Person, the personal Jehovah, their God. They must
absolutely trust him. To do so, they must "know him." And that
they might know him, he must reveal himself to them. That is why
we read all through Genesis of God's "appearing" or "speaking" to this
or the other patriarch. However he accomplished it, God was always
trying thus to make them better acquainted with himself; for such
knowledge was to be the basis of their faith. Upon faith in him de-
pended their faith in his word, and upon faith in his word depended
their power to keep alive in the world that true rehgion which was
destined for all men and which we to-day share. Abraham's God is
Not Abraham's great wealth in servants. Gen. 14 : 14, and in flocks
and herds, ch. 13 : 2, 6, but the promise of God to bless, constituted
the true "birthright" in Abraham's family. Ishmael, the child of
doubt, missed it; and Isaac, the child of faith, obtained it. Gal. 4 : 23.
Esau "despised" it, because he was "a profane [irreligious] person,"
Heb. 12 : 16, and Jacob schemed to obtain it by purchase. Gen. 25 : 31,
and by fraud, ch. 27 : 19. Jacob bequeathed it to his sons, ch. 49, and
OLD TESTAMENT TIMES 11
Moses delivered it in memorable poetic form to the nation to retain
and rehearse forever. Deut., ch. 32,
When Abraham, the son of Terah, entered Canaan with Sarah his
wife and Lot his nephew and their great company of servants and fol-
lowers, he was obeying the command of his God. He no sooner enters
it than God gives him a promise that binds up this land with him and
his descendants. Gen. 13 : 14-17. Yet we must not suppose that
Abraham settled down in this Promised Land in the way that the Pil-
grim Fathers settled in the Old Colony. Although Canaan is promised
to the "seed" of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as a possession, they did
not themselves obtain a foothold in it. Apart from the field of the
cave Machpelah, at Hebron in the south, Gen., ch. 23, and a "shoul-
der" (shechem) or fragment of land near Shechem ("Jacob's Well"),
in the center of Canaan, the patriarchs did not acquire a foot of the
soil of what was to become "the Holy Land." Abraham wandered
about, even going down to Egypt and back. Isaac was sometimes at
Hebron and sometimes at Beer-sheba on the extreme southern verge
of the land. Jacob spent much of his manhood in Mesopotamia, and
of his old age in Egypt. For after divine Providence in a remarkable
manner had transplanted one of Jacob's sons, Joseph, into new soil,
Gen,, ch. 37, his father and his brothers were drawn after him, with the
way for their long Egyptian residence providentially prepared for
them, Gen, 50 : 20,
Side by side with the growth of a nation out of an individual we find
Grod's choice of the direction which that growth should take. Not
all, even of Abraham's family, were to become part of the future people
of God. So Lot, Abraham's nephew, separates from him, and there-
after he and his descendants, the Ammonites and the Moabites, go
their own way. As between Abraham's sons, Ishmael is cast out, and
Isaac, Sarah's son, is selected. And between Isaac's two sons, Esau
and Jacob, the choice falls on Jacob. All twelve of Jacob's sons are
included in the purpose of God, and for this reason the nation is called
after Jacob, though usually under his name "Israel," which God gave
him after his experience of wrestUng with "the angel of the Lord" at
the river Jabbok. Gen. 32 : 22. Those sons of his are to become the
heads of the future nation of the "twelve tribes", Acts 26: 7.
Even while Lot, Ishmael, and Esau are thus being cut off, the great-
est care is taken to keep the descent of the future nation pure to the
blood of Terah's house. Those three men all married alien wives:
12 TEACHING THE TEACHER
Lot probably a woman of Sodom, Ishmael an Egyptian, and Esau two
Hittite women. The mother of Isaac was Sarah, the mother of Jacob
was Rebekah, and the mothers of eight of the twelve sons of Jacob
were Leah and Rachel; and all these women belonged to that same house
of Terah to which their husbands belonged. Indeed, much of Genesis
is taken up with the explanation of how Isaac and Jacob were kept
from intermarrying with the peoples among whom they lived.
The last quarter of the book, which is occupied with the story of
Joseph and his brethren, is designed to link these "fathers" and their
God with the God and people of Moses. The same Jehovah who had
once shown his power over Pharaoh for the protection of Abraham
and Sarah, and who was later to show his power over another Pharaoh
''who knew not Joseph," showed his power also over the Pharaoh of
Joseph's day, in exalting Joseph from the dungeon to the post of high-
est honor and authority in Egypt, and in delivering Jacob and his whole
family from death through Joseph's interposition. What their long
residence in Egypt meant for God's people will be seen in another
QUESTIONS ON LESSON II
1. In what promise does God reveal to Abraham his plan to bless the
2. How was Abraham brought to believe in God's promise? What
difference did it make whether he and his descendants believed
it or not?
3. Did the patriarchs see that part of the promise fulfilled which gave
them possession of "the Holy Land"? Read carefully Gen.
15 : 13-16 and Heb. 11:9, 10, 14-16.
4. Make a "family tree" in the usual way, showing those descendants
of Terah who play any large part in the book of Genesis. Under-
score in it the names of those men who were in the direct line of
5. How were Isaac and Jacob kept from marrying outside their own
6. Explain Joseph's words, "Ye meant evil against me; but God meant
it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much
people alive." Gen. 50 : 20.
OLD TESTAMENT TIMES 13
Egyptian Bondage and Deliverance
Exodus, Chapter 1
God says through his prophet Hosea, Hos. 11:1, "When Israel was
a child, then I Loved him, and called my son out of Egypt." See also
Matt. 2 : 15. There was a loving, divine purpose in the Egyptian
residence of God's people. What was it? What did this period mean
in the career of Israel?
Most obviously, it meant growth. From the ''seventy souls," Ex.
1 : 5, that went down into Egypt with Jacob, there sprang up there a
populous folk, large enough to take its place alongside the other nations
of the world of that day. Observe the nature of the land where this
grow^th took place. Egypt was a settled country, where the twelve
developing tribes could be united geographically and socially in a way
impossible in a country like Palestine. However oppressed they were,
they nevertheless were secluded from the dangers of raids from with-
out and of civil strife within — just such dangers as later almost wrecked
the substantial edifice slowly erected by this period of growth in
Egypt meant also for Israel a time of waiting. All this growth was
not accomplished in a short time. It lasted four hundred and thirty
years. Ex. 12 : 40, 41. Through this long period, which seems like a
dark tunnel between the brightness of the patriarchs' times and that
of Moses' day, there was nothing for God's people to do but to wait.
They were the heirs of God's promise, but they must wait for the ful-
fillment of that promise in God's own time, wait for a leader raised up
by God, wait for the hour of national destiny to strike. As Hosea,
ch.U : 1 expresses it, this "child" must wait for his Father's "call." The
Egyptian period left an indelible impression on the mind of Israel. It
formed the gray background on which God could lay the colors of his
great deliverance. It is because God knew and planned this that he so
often introduces himself to his people, when he speaks to them, as "Je-
hovah thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the
house of bondage."
In the third place, this Egyptian period meant for Israel a time of
chastisement. The oppression to which the descendants of Jacob were
exposed, when "there arose a new king over Egypt, who knew not
14 TEACHING THE TEACHER
Joseph," Ex. 1 : 8, was so severe, prolonged, and hopeless, v. 14, that
it has become proverbial and typical. Since every male child was to
be put to death, v. 22, it is clear that the purpose of the Egyptians was
nothing less than complete extermination. "It is good for a man that
he bear the yoke in his youth": if that be true, then the children of
Israel derived good from the school of discipline in which they grew
up. True, as we read their later story, we feel that no people could be
more fickle. Yet there is no other nation with which to compare
Israel. And it is very probable that no other nation would have been
serious-minded enough even to receive and grasp the divine revelation
and leading of Moses' and Joshua's time. God, who had "seen the
affliction of his people," who had "heard their cry" and sent Moses to
them to organize their deliverance, wrote forever on this nation's soul
the message of salvation in a historical record. At the start of their
national life there stood the story, which they could never deny or
forget, and which told them of God's power and grace.
Exodus, Chapters 5 to 15
All this lay in Israel's experience in Egypt. The next lesson will tell
of the character and work of the man whom God chose to be leader.
The means by which Moses succeeded in the seemingly impossible task
of marching a great horde of slaves out from their masters' country,
was the impression of God's power on the minds of Pharaoh and his
people. It was a continued, combined, and cumulative impression.
Of course it could not be made without the use of supernatural means.
We must not, therefore, be surprised to find the story in Exodus bristling
with miracles. To be sure, the "plagues" can be shown to be largely
natural to that land where they occurred. And the supreme event of
the deliverance, the passage of Israel through the Red Sea on dry
ground, was due, according to the narrative itself, to a persistent
wind, Ex. 14 : 21, such as often lays bare the shallows of a bay, only
to release the waters again when its force is spent.
Nevertheless, it is not possible to remove the "hand of God" from
the account by thus pointing out some of the means God used to ac-
complish his special purposes. It was at the time, in the way, and in
the order, in which Moses announced to Pharaoh the arrival of the
plagues, that they actually appeared. This was what had its ultimate
effect on the king's stubborn will. And when Israel was told to "go
forward," with the waters right before them, and when the Egyptians
OLD TESTAMENT TIMES 15
were saying, ''They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath
shut them in," Ex. 14 : 3 — it was just at that juncture that the east
wind did its work at God's command; when Israel was over safely, it
went down. Such things do not ''happen." It made a profound im-
pression on Israel, on Egypt, and on all the nations of that day; all
united in accepting it as the work of Israel's God. Ex. 15 : 11, 14-16;
Josh. 2 : 10.
The important point for the nation was to know, when Moses and
Aaron came to them in the name of God, that it was their fathers' God
who had sent them. On account of this need, which both the people
and their leaders felt, God proclaimed his divine name, Jehovah (more
precisely, Yahweh, probably meaning "He is," Ex. 3 : 14, 15), to Moses,
and bade him pronounce the same to Israel, to assure them that he was
"the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob," and thus what Moses
came now to do for them was just what had been promised to those
fathers long before. The passover night was the fulfillment of God's
good word to Abraham. Ex. 13 : 10, 11 . How that word went on and
on toward more and more complete fulfillment will be the subject of the
QUESTIONS ON LESSON III
1. What advantages had Egypt over Palestine as the place for Israel
to grow from a family into a nation?
2. What value was there for Israel in a negative time of waiting at the
beginning of its history?
3. Compare the effect on Israel with the effect on a man, of passing
through a time of difficulty while developing.
4. Name the ten "plagues of Egypt" in their order. How far can they
be called "natural"?
5. If the east wind drove back the Red Sea, what did God have to do
with Israel's escape from the Egyptian army?
6. Why should w^e not be surprised to find many miracles grouped at
this stage of Bible history?
7. How did God identify himself in the minds of the people with the
God of their fathers? What was his personal name?
16 TEACHING THE TEACHER
Moses as Leader and Lawgiver
Exodus, Chapters 2 to 4
One of the things Israel had to wait for through those centuries in
Egypt was a leader. When the time came God raised up such a leader
for his people in Moses.
The story of how Moses' life was preserved in infancy, and of how
he came to be brought up at the court of Pharaoh with all its advan-
tages for culture, is one of the most fascinating tales of childhood.
Ex. 2 : 1-10. But not many who know this famihar tale could go on
with the biography of the man of forty who fled from Pharaoh's ven-
geance. Moses found by personal contact with his "brethren," the
children of Israel, that they were not yet ready for common action, and
would not easily acknowledge his right to lead them. After killing an
Egyptian slave driver there was nothing for Moses to do but to flee.
He spent the second forty years of his life, Acts 7 : 23, 30; Ex. 7 : 7,
in the deserts about the eastern arm of the Red Sea — the region known
to the Hebrews as Midian. There he married the daughter of the
Midianite priest Reuel. (Jethro was probably Reuel's title, meaning "his
excellency.") While herding his sheep in the mountains called Horeb
(Sinai) , Moses received at the burning bush that personal revelation of
the God of his fathers, which lay at the base of all his future labors for
God and his people. Ex. 3 : 1 to 4 : 17. It was a commission to lead
Israel out of their bondage in Egypt into the land promised to their
Though very humble as to his fitness for such leadership, Moses was
assured of Jehovah's presence and help. He was equipped with extra-
ordinary powers for convincing the proud Pharaoh that his demands
were God's demands; and he was given the aid of his brother Aaron, who
had a readiness of speech which Moses at this time seems to have lacked.
Exodus, Chapters 16 to 24
How the two brothers achieved the seemingly impossible task of
winning out of Egypt, and of uniting a spiritless and unorganized
mass of slaves upon a desperate enterprise, is the narrative that fills
the early chapters of Exodus. But with Israel safe across the Red
OLD TESTAMENT TIMES 17
Sea, Moses' leadership had only begun. He instituted an organization
of the people for relieving himself of his heavy duties as judge. He
determined the hne of march, and sustained the spirits of the fighting
men in their struggle against the tribes of the desert who challenged
But, above all, Moses became the "mediator" of the "covenant,"
Heb. 9 : 19-21, between the Hebrews and Jehovah their God at Mount
Sinai. On the basis of the Ten Commandments, Ex. 20:2-17;
Deut. 5 :6-21, that guide to God's nature and will which formed the
Hebrew constitution, the people agreed to worship and obey Jehovah
alone, and Jehovah promised to be their God, fulfiUing to them his
promises made to their fathers. By solemn sacrifices, according to the
custom of the time, when the symbolism of altar and priesthood was
well understood, this covenant was sealed.
Exodus, Chapter 25 to Numbers, Chapter 36
After long seclusion on the mount alone with God, Moses ordered the
erection of a house of worship. It had to be portable, so as to accom-
pany them in their wanderings and express visibly, wherever set up,
the reUgious unity of the twelve tribes. Aaron and his sons were con-
secrated to be the official priesthood of this new shrine and were clothed
and instructed accordingly. Minute details regulated all sacrifices, and
similar minute instructions enabled the priests to decide questions of
ceremonial cleanness and uncleanness in matters of food and health.
AU these laws and regulations, mainly recorded in Leviticus, were
given through Moses, either alone or in association with his brother.
It is not surprising to learn that there were those who challenged this
exclusive leadership in every department of the national life. We
read of a willful disregard of divine orders even in the family of Aaron,
with immediate fatal results. Lev. 10 : 1-7. Like punishment over-
took those members of the tribe of Levi who showed jealousy of the
house of Aaron, and those elements in other tribes that claimed rights
equal or superior to those of Moses. Num., chs. 16, 17. It would be
strange, indeed, if God, who had vindicated his servant Moses against
Pharaoh, should let his own authority as represented by Moses be chal-
lenged within the camp of Israel. He punished to save.
Just as God took up the Sabbath and circumcision, old customs of
the preceding era, into the law of Israel, so also he spoke to this people
through an elaborate system of feasts and pilgrimages, which bound
18 TEACHING THE TEACHER
up their whole year with the worship of God. Indeed, the principle of
the seventh part of time as sacred was extended to the seventh year,
and even to the fiftieth year (the year following the seventh seven),
for beneficent social and economic uses. Lev., ch. 25.
When at length the nation, thus organized and equipped, set forth
from Sinai, Num. 10 : 11, they required a leadership of a different
kind — military leadership and practical statesmanship. They found
both in Moses. He it was who led them through all the long wander-
ings in the peninsula of Sinai, bearing their murmurings and meeting
their recurrent difficulties with a patience that seems almost divine,
save for that one lapse which was to cost him and Aaron their entrance
into the Promised Land. Num. 20 : 10-12.
At the border of the land, from the top of Pisgah in the long moun-
tain wall of Moab, Moses at last looked down into that deep gorge
of the Jordan Valley at his feet, which separated him from the hills of
Canaan, Beyond this river and the Dead Sea, into which it empties,
lay the land long ago promised to the seed of Abraham. Moses had
been permitted to lead the people to its very gateway ; but it remained
for another, his younger helper, Joshua, to lead them through the gate
into the house of rest.
The Book of Deuteronomy
But before he surrendered his power to another and his life to his
Maker, the aged Moses rehearsed in the ears of Israel the great prin-
ciples of God's law. He pleaded earnestly with them to accept it from
the heart, to adapt it to the changed conditions of their new settled
life with its new temptations, and to hand it down as their most precious
heritage to their children after them. This is the purpose and sub-
stance of the book of Deuteronomy, which gets its name from the fact
that it is a "second lawgiving." It is the Law of Sinai repeated, but
in oratorical form, charged with the feeling and spirit of that "man of
God," whose name is forever linked with the Law and with the God
who gave it to mankind.
QUESTIONS ON LESSON IV
1. How did Moses' forty years in Egypt and his forty years in Midian
help to prepare him for leadership?
2. What was the constitution of the new Hebrew State established at
Sinai? How was it ratified?
OLD TESTAMENT TIMES 19
3. How was the tabernacle suited to the religious needs of Israel dur-
ing Moses' lifetime?
4. Show how the Law of Moses takes up the old principle of the Sab-
bath and applies it to the life of Israel.
5. Where did Moses' leadership end, and what was his last service to
The Conquest and Settlement of Canaan
The Book of Joshua
On the death of Aaron his son, Eleazar, succeeded him as high priest.
But when Moses died, it was not a son who succeeded him in the
political and moral leadership of Israel, for that position was not
hereditary. Joshua, a man of Ephraim, was divinely designated for
this work. He was fitted for the difficult undertaking by military ex-
perience, Ex. 17 : 9-14, by personal acquaintance with Canaan, Num.
13 : 8, 16; 14 : 6, 30, 38, and by long and intimate association with
Moses, Ex. 33 : 11; Num. 11 : 28; Deut. 34 : 9; Josh. 1:1. The book
of Joshua, which records his career, divides naturally into two parts,
first, the conquest, chs.l to 12, and second, the settlement, chs. 13 to 22.
Two further chapters, chs. 23, 24, contain Joshua's valedictory address.
Before Moses' death two and a lialf tribes had already received their
assignment of territory on the east of the Jordan, out of lands con-
quered from the Amorite kings, Sihon and Og. But the fighting men
of these tribes agreed to accompany the other tribes and share their
struggle till all had obtained an inheritance. So when the great host
l^assed over the Jordan, not far from where it empties into the Dead
Sea, the men of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh crossed with the rest.
Jehovah, who at the Red Sea a generation earlier had struck terror
into the hearts of all nations by his wonderful interposition to save
Israel and destroy its enemies, repeated here his saving help, by stem-
ming the swift current of the Jordan River, till all had passed over dry
shod to the western side.
Once over, they found themselves face to face with Jericho, a city
which commanded the passes into the mountain country beyond.
Spies previously despatched to learn the weakness of Jericho had re-
ported the panic of its inhabitants and so prepared the Hebrews to
20 TEACHING THE TEACHER
believe God's word, when through Joshua he announced a bloodless
victory here at the beginning of their conquest. Without a blow
struck Jericho fell, and all its inhabitants were "devoted," at Jehovah's
strict command. Even their wealth was to be "devoted," that is, the
cattle slain and the goods added to the treasury of the sanctuary.
Only Rahab, who had saved the spies, and her family were excepted.
One man, Achan, disobeyed the ban on private spoils. His covetous-
ness and deception, revealed by Israel's defeat in the expedition against
Ai which followed the fall of Jericho, and detected by the use of the
sacred lot, was punished by the execution of all who were privy to
Better success attended the second attempt to take Ai. With these
two cities reduced, Jericho at the bottom and Ai at the top of the
valley leading up from the Jordan floor to the central highland, Joshua
was in a position to attack anywhere without fear of being outflanked.
Middle, south, and north was the order commended by military con-
siderations. Accordingly those cities which, because in the middle of
the land, felt themselves the most immediately threatened, took the
first steps to avert the menace. A group of five towns lying just north
of Jerusalem, with Gibeon at their head, succeeded by a ruse in getting
a treaty of peace from Joshua. The Gibeonites deceived Joshua by
representing themselves as having come from a great distance to seek
an alliance. Joshua's pride was flattered and he fell a victim to the
trick. The consequences were serious, for these Canaanites, though
reduced to vassalage, remained as aUens in the heart of the land, and
cut off the southern from the northern tribes of Israel.
A confederacy of the chief cities in the region south of Gibeon,
headed by the king of Jerusalem, determined to strike the first blow.
But their campaign against the Gibeonites, now the allies of Israel,
ended in a quick advance by Joshua and his complete subjugation of
all these cities, the humiliation and death of their kings, and the "de-
votion" of the inhabitants who fell into his hands.
A similar campaign followed in the north, with the city of Hazor
at the head of the Canaanite forces. At the "waters of Merom," a
small lake a few miles north of the Sea of Galilee, a surprise attack by
Joshua deprived his enemies of their advantage in horsemen and
chariots on the level ground they had selected for battle, and resulted
in the utter rout of the Canaanites and the general slaughter of every
soul that did not escape by flight from the "devoted" towns.
OLD TESTAMENT TIMES 21
Thus from Mount Hermon on the north to the wilderness of the
wandering on the south, the whole land had been swept over and
reduced to impotence by the Hebrew invader. It was time to appor-
tion it now to the several tribes. This was accomplished under the
direction of Joshua and Eleazar. Judah and Joseph, the two strongest
tribes, were assigned, the one to the south and the other to the north
of the main mountain mass. Levi's inheritance was to be "the Lord,"
that is, the religious tithes, and his dwelling was to be "among his
brethren," that is, in designated towns throughout all the land. A
commission of three representatives from each of the seven other west-
ern tribes divided the rest of the conquered territory into seven fairly
equal parts. These then were assigned to the seven tribes by lot at
the tabernacle at Shiloh. As for the eastern tribes, when they returned
to their homes across the Jordan, they built an altar at the ford, as a
permanent "witness" to the unity of all the sons of Jacob, however the
deep gorge of the Jordan might cut them off from one another.
At Shechem, where Abraham built his first altar in Canaan, Joshua
had renewed the covenant between the people and their God as soon
as he had secured control of Mount Ephraim, the middle high-
lands. He had not only read the Law of Moses to all the people here,
but also inscribed it on stones for the sake of permanence and pub-
hcity. And now, when the conquest was complete and Joshua was
nearing his end, he reassembled the people at the same spot, to remind
them there of that solemn covenant, and to leave with them his final
charge of fideHty to their God and his one central sanctuary.
QUESTIONS ON LESSON V
1 . How was Joshua specially fitted to succeed Moses as leader of Israel?
2. Which tribes received their inheritance east of the Jordan? How
did these show their sense of the unity of all Israel (a) at the be-
ginning, and (6) at the close of the conquest?
3. What justification can be urged for the stem measures which Israel
took with the Canaanites and their possessions?
4. What was the plan of Joshua's campaign, and what relation did the
capture of Jericho and Ai bear to it?
5. How did the men of Gibeon deceive Joshua, and why? What last-
ing damage was caused by his treaty with them?
6. Locate on a map the inheritance of each of the tribes.
22 TEACHING THE TEACHER
The Period of the Judges
The Books of Judges and Ruth
In Egypt, Israel had grown from a family into a folk. In the wilder-
ness the folk had become a nation. In the conquest the nation had
gotten its home. But in the period of the Judges which followed the
conquest this steady advance seemed interrupted. What do we find
at this time?
We find a loose confederacy of tribes, aware of their common origin,
yet too jealous of local names and rights to combine for a common end,
too selfish to help one another until the danger of one has become a
tragedy for all.
The nature of the land the Hebrews had occupied helped this divisive
tendency. The great gash of the Jordan Valley, its bed two or three
thousand feet below the mountain country on either side, cut off the
eastern minority from the western majority. In the west a plain sepa-
rated the foothills of the central range from the seashore. This plain
not only contained enemies like the PhiHstines whom only a united
Israel could have conquered, but also quickly altered the type of its
Hebrew settlers. Right across the mountain belt from the sea to the
Jordan stretched an almost unbroken plain (Esdraelon), varying from
sea level to the lower level of the Jordan. This cut off the mountaineers
to the north (GaUlee) from those to the south (Ephraim). And a
glance at any physical map will show how even in the mountain coun-
try deep, lateral valleys reach up from either side so far toward the
center that communication from north to south is only by a series of
violent grades, save along that narrow ridge in the middle where runs
the highroad between Hebron, Jerusalem, Shechem, and Jezreel.
Under these conditions only some strong positive force could pre-
vent the disintegration of the Hebrew nation. Such a force the re-
ligion of Jehovah was intended to be, and would have been, if the peo-
ple had remained faithful to it. It had one high priest, descendant of
Aaron, and associated therefore with all the memories of Moses and
Sinai. It had a single sanctuary, the seat of Ark and oracle, the center
of pilgrimage three times a year. It had one law for all Hebrews, a
law far superior to the codes of all other nations, and revealing the
nature and will of a single moral and spiritual deity. All this provided
OLD TESTAMENT TIMES 23
the focus for a mighty nation, with a pure "theocracy," that is, a gov-
ernment by God himself. But the people did not remain faithful.
They fell away in this time of the Judges.
The Book of Judges, which tells the story of this period, records a
long list of names, each one connected with some particular enemy
of Israel, some tribe or group of tribes dehvered, and some definite
term of years during which the deliverer "judged" the people. On
this list the most conspicuous names are those of Deborah and of
Gideon in the north, of Jephthah east of the Jordan (Gilead), and of
Samson in the south. Most of the other judges are httle more than
names to us. Deborah stands out, not only because she was a woman,
but also for her wonderful "song" preserved in the fifth chapter, cele-
brating Barak's victory over the Canaanites near Mount Carmel.
Gideon is memorable for his strategems and his persistence, and for
his near approach to a real kingship, which was offered to him and his
house after his victory, but which he declined, saying, "Jehovah shall
rule over you." Ch. 8 : 23. His son Abimelech was actually termed
king in and around the city of Shechem for a few years, but perished
miserably for his sins. Ch. 9 : 6, 56. Jephthah's career was mainly con-
cerned with the region east of the Jordan, but his admirable "apology' -
for Israel showed his sense of Hebrew solidarity. Samson's picturesque
story, with its petty loves and hates, its riddles and its practical jokes,
ended in a sacrificial death which in part redeems its meanness. But
neither Samson nor any of his predecessors accomplished anything
Two words of caution belong to the study of this book and of these
times. First, we must not suppose that one judge necessarily follows
another in point of time because his story follows the other's story in
the book. Judges 10 : 7 shows that oppressions of different sections of
the land by different enemies might be taking place at the same time,
and suggests that the figures assigned to each judge at the close of his
story cannot safely be added together to find the total length of this
period. And second, those figures themselves (nearly always forty or
eighty) are to be taken as "round numbers," rather than as precise
data such as we look for to-day to make out a table of chronology.
In the same way the four hundred and eighty years of I Kings 6 : 1 is
evidently intended as twelve times forty years, to represent the whole
time from the Exodus to Solomon. For when we have subtracted from
the beginning of it one forty-year term for the wanderings, and from
24 TEACHING THE TEACHER
the end of it three forty-year terms for Eli, I Sam, 4 : 18, Saul, Acts
13 : 21, and David, I Kings 2:11, then we have left eight forty-year
terms for the Judges. Eight times forty is three hundred and twenty.
Those three hundred and twenty years would then^correspond with
the three hundred years mentioned by Jephthah in Judg. 11 : 26 as
dividing Moses' days from his own. Under these circumstances we
are wise to wait for further light from archaeology before fixing the
precise date of any one of these interesting persons,
There are three additions or appendices to the Book of Judges. The
first of them, including chs. 17, 18, tells how the Danites came to live
in the extreme north, and the origin of the idolatrous sanctuary at that
city of Dan which was reckoned as the northern limit of Canaan —
"from Dan to Beer-sheba." The second occupies the three remaining
chapters of Judges, and records the civil war between Benjamin and the
other tribes on account of "the sin of Gibeah," Hos. 10 : 9. And the
third appendix is the story of Ruth the Moabitess which now makes a
separate book in the Bible. Besides its inherent charm the story
claims special notice because of the light it throws on that Bethlehem
family which was soon to furnish the nation its great king, David.
QUESTIONS ON LESSON VI
1. What influences made for the loss of Hebrew unity as soon as
Joshua's generation was dead?
2. What forces remained to bind the tribes together? Why did not
these forces suffice?
3. How were the persons selected who ruled Israel in this period?
Were they "judges" in the same sense as our judges to-day?
4. What three groups of tribes tended to draw together under com-
mon leaders? Tell the exploits of one distinguished judge belong-
ing to each of these groups.
5. With what reserve should we use the figures in this book to con-
struct a chronology of the period?
6. Point out the relation of the book of Ruth to the closing portion
of the Book of Judges. What lends Ruth peculiar historical
OLD TESTAMENT TIMES 25
Samuel and Saul : Prophecy and Monarchy
The First Book of Samuel
Sometimes Eli and sometimes Samuel are called the last of the Judges.
But neither of these was a judge in the same exclusive sense as Gideon
or Samson. Eli was the high priest, but exercised the office of judge
for his time. Samuel was a prophet, who also "judged Israel" in the
interval between EU's death and Saul's accession. Both men mark
the time of transition between the period of the Judges and the
monarchy. And the two names are most closely linked, for it
was under EU's instruction, at the sanctuary in Shiloh, that Samuel
The story of Hannah and her dedication of her little son to God as
a "Nazirite," I Sam. 1:11; compare Num. 6 : 1-8, to dwell all his hfe
at the house of God, I Sam. 1 : 28, has a peculiar charm for young and
old. It gives a picture of personal piety in a rude age, and thus serves
to correct our idea of the times. Beginning at a very early age, I Sam.
3 : 1 to 4 : 1, Samuel became the chosen and recognized mouthpiece of
That is the essential meaning of a prophet — one who speaks for God.
Exodus 4 : 16 is instructive, for it shows that as Aaron was to be "a
mouth" to Moses, while Moses was *'as God" to Aaron, so the prophet
was God's mouthpiece or spokesman. Of course a prophet was often a
person who also spoke before — one, that is, who predicted what should
come to pass. And the fact that his words were actually fulfilled be-
came a proof of his divine commission, both in theory, Deut. 18 : 22,
and in practice, Isa. 44 : 26. But the bulk of the prophets' messages
were, Uke those of Samuel, addressed to their own time. They were
preachers of righteousness, warners against sin, the nation's conscience,
and the Lord's remembrancers.
It is the chief glory of Samuel that he was not only first in the long
hne of the Hebrew prophets — the most remarkable succession of men
the world has ever seen — but also the founder of the prophetic order.
By the prophetic order we mean the prophets as a group conscious
of their solidarity, the identity of their principles and aim. Samuel
gathered about his dominating personality those persons who were
sympathetic with him in spirit, and who shared with him some of that
26 TEACHING THE TEACHER
power of testimony which "the word of Jehovah" conferred. They
seem to have hved together, I Sam. 19 : 20, in communities similar to
those two centuries later under Ehjah and Elisha. They used musical
instruments in their devotions, which were public as well as private.
Ch. 10 : 5. They were the center of patriotic zeal as well as of religious
effort. In fact, the behef in Israel's God was so evidently the bond
that bound Israel together, that for the common man patriotism
and reUgion were in danger of being regarded as one and the same
It is not surprising, therefore, that out of Samuel's time and from
the forces which Samuel set in motion, there came two movements which
changed the course of the nation's history: an outward movement for
independence, and an inward movement for monarchy. A revival of
rehgion could not fail to rouse the subjected Hebrews against their
oppressors, the Philistines. The reverses they suffered in battle against
their better armed and better led enemies put it into their minds to
set up a king, "like all the nations."
Samuel, as the national leader, was God's agent in selecting, con-
secrating, and establishing the first king. He chose Saul, of the tribe
of Benjamin, a man of heroic proportions though of modest demeanor.
Ch. 9 : 2, 21. His choice met the popular approval, at first with gen-
eral and outward acquiescence, though with much inward reserve
and individual revolt; but after his first successful campaign with
universal loyalty. Ch. 10 : 27; 11 : 12-15.
That first military effort of the new monarch was against the Am-
monites. But a greater test remained in the menace of the Philistines,
whose garrisons at strategic points in the mountains of Israel served to
keep the tribes in check. Under those circumstances Saul was cau-
tious, for he had but a small force, inadequately armed, at his dis-
posal. But the initiative, for which all Israel waited, was taken by
Saul's son, Jonathan. Unknown to his father, Jonathan, accom-
panied only by his armor-bearer, but encouraged by an indication of
God's will and by the enemy's slackness, ch. 14 : 12, attacked boldly
a Philistine garrison that relied too much on the natural strength of
its position. He began in this way a panic in the enemy's ranks, and
soon drew after him in pursuit of them not only Saul's small army
but multitudes of Hebrews who in their hiding places only waited such
a signal to fall upon the hated oppressor. The victory of Michmash
was overwhelming, the mountain country was cleared of the Phil-
OLD TESTAMENT TIMES 27
istines, and an independent people began to enjoy the reign of their
Unhappily Saul did not prove himself so well equipped for the
kingship in character and disposition as in personal prowess. Jealousy,
natural in a king whose claim to authority was so new and weak, was
heightened in Saul by a malady that induced fits of sullenness and rage.
His humihty and modesty of other days gave place to envy, vanity,
and cruelty. Even God's express commands through the same prophet
on whose divine commission Saul's claim to the throne rested were
not heeded, for Samuel had to rebuke him for disobedience and only
refrained from publicly rejecting him at Saul's abject entreaty. Ch.
15 : 30.
Room was found in Saul's heart for jealousy of the popularity and
success of David, ch. 18 : 8, the young man of Bethlehem in Judah
whom at first he had loved and attached to his person, ch. 16 :21.
Jonathan, though heir to his father's throne and aware that David had
been designated as Jehovah's choice for king, ch. 20 : 15, 31, had noth-
ing but affection for David his friend. But Saul pursued David openly,
after failing in repeated secret attempts to make away with him. And
the close of Saul's life is marred by his vindictive pursuit of his rival,
till death in battle with the Philistines at Mount Gilboa brought the
first king of Israel to a miserable end and left the way open for David
to become his successor.
QUESTIONS ON LESSON VII
1. Who shares with Samuel the leadership of Israel in the time of
transition from the judges to the kings, and what relation did he
bear to Samuel?
2. What was a prophet, what is meant by the prophetic order, and
what is Samuel's particular service and distinction among the
3. What motive led to the popular demand for a king, and how did
Samuel as God's representative regard this demand?
4. Sketch the character of Saul. What was his achievement for Israel?
Wherein did he fail?
5. Compare Saul and Jonathan in abihty and character.
28 TEACHING THE TEACHER
David and Solomon : Psalms and Wisdom
The Second Book of Samuel; I Kings, Chapters 1 to 11;
I Chronicles, Chaptfer 10 to II Chronicles, Chapter 9
One of Saul's sons, Ish-bosheth, for a short time after the death of
his father and brothers in battle, attempted to maintain his right to
succeed Saul on the throne. But when Abner, his kinsman and the
head of the army, turned to David, son of Jesse, who was already-
reigning at Hebron as king over Judah, all the tribes followed him.
Both Ish-bosheth and Abner soon perished.
With his new dignity David promptly acquired a new capital, better
suited than Hebron in location and strength to be the nation's center.
He captured the fortress of Jebus, five miles north of Bethlehem, his
old home, from its Canaanitish defenders, and enlarged, strengthened,
and beautified it. Under its ancient name of Jerusalem he made it
both the political and the religious capital of Israel.
The Ark of the Covenant, which in Eli's time had been captured by
the Philistines, had been returned by them, and for many years had
rested in a private house, was regarded as the very heart and symbol
of the national religion. David therefore brought it first to Jerusalem,
and instead of uniting with it its former housing, the old Mosaic taber-
nacle, he gave it a temporary home in a tent, intending to build a splen-
did temple when he should have peace. But war continued through
the days of David, and at God's direction the erection of a temple,
save for certain preparations, was left to Solomon, David's successor.
David was victorious in war. His success showed itself in the en-
largement of Israel's boundaries, the complete subjection — for the
time — of all alien elements in the land, and the alUance with Hiram,
king of Tyre, with the great building operations which this alliance
made possible. A royal palace formed the center of a court such as
other sovereigns maintained, and David's court and even his family
were exposed to the same corrupting influences as power, wealth,
jealousy, and faction have everywhere introduced. Absalom, his
favorite son, ill requited his father's love and trust by organizing a
revolt against him. It failed, but not until it had driven the king, now
an old man, into temporary exile and had let loose civil war upon the
OLD TESTAMENT TIMES 29
Solomon, designated by David to succeed him, did not gain the
throne without dispute, but the attempt of Adonijah, another son, to
seize the throne failed in spite of powerful support. The forty-year
reign of Solomon was the golden age of Hebrew history — the age to
which all subsequent times looked back. Rapid growth of commerce,
construction, art, and literature reflected the inward condition of
peace and the outward ties with other lands of culture. But with art
came idolatry; with construction came ostentation and oppression;
with commerce came luxury. The splendor of Jerusalem, wherein
Solomon "made silver . . . to be as stones, and cedars ... as
the sycomore- trees," I Kings 10 : 27, contained in itseK the seeds of
However, there are two great types of literature which found their
characteristic expression in the days of David and Solomon and are
always associated with their names — the psalm with David, and the
proverb (or, more broadly, "wisdom") with Solomon. Kingdom,
temple and palace have long since passed away, but the Psalter and
the books of Wisdom are imperishable monuments of the united
The Psalter is a collection of one hundred and fifty poems, of various
length, meter, and style. As now arranged it is divided into five books,
but there is evidence that earUer collections and arrangements preceded
the present. Among the earhest productions, judged both by form and
by matter, are those psalms which bear the superscription *'of David,"
though it would not be safe to assert that every such psalm came
from David's own pen or that none not so labeled is not of Davidic
origin. Judged alike from the narrative in the book of Samuel, and
from the traditions scattered in other books as early as Amos, ch. 6 : 5,
and as late as Chronicles, I Chron. 15 : 16 to 16 : 43; ch. 25, David was
both a skilled musician himself and an organizer of music for public
worship. It is not surprising, therefore, to find a body of rehgious
poems ascribed to him, which not only evidence his piety and good
taste, but also, though individual in tone, are well-adapted to com-
mon use at the sanctuary.
The psalms are poems. Their poetry is not simply one of substance,
but also a poetry of form. Rime, our famihar device, is of course ab-
sent, but there is rhythm, although it is not measured in the same
30 TEACHING THE TEACHER
strict way as in most of our poetry. The most striking and char-
acteristic mark of Hebrew poetic form is the parallel structure: two
companion lines serve together to complete a single thought, as the
second either repeats, supplements, empjiasizes, illustrates, or con-
trasts with the first.
Proverbs; Job; Ecclesiastes
Poetry is also a term to which the book of Proverbs and most of the
other productions of "Wisdom" are entitled. While they are chiefly
didactic (that is, intended for instruction) instead of lyric (emotional
self-expression), nevertheless the Wisdom books are almost entirely
written in rhythmic parallelism and contain much matter unsuited to
ordinary prose expression. In the Revised Version the manner of
printing shows to the English reader at a glance what parts are prose
and what are poetry (compare, for example, Job, ch. 2 with Job, ch. 3) ,
though it must be admitted that a hard and fast line cannot be drawn
between them. Compare Eccl., ch. 7 with Proverbs.
"The wise," as a class of public teachers in the nation (see Jer.
18 : 18), associated their beginnings with King Solomon (Prov. 24 : 23;
25 : 1), whose wisdom is testified to in the book of Kings, as well as
his speaking of "proverbs," that is, pithy sayings easy to remember and
teach, mostly of moral import. I Kings 4 : 29-34. But the profound-
est theme of wisdom was the moral government of God as seen in his
works and ways. The mysteries with which all men, to-day as well as
in ancient times, must grapple when they seek to harmonize their
faith in a just and good God with such undeniable facts as prosperous
sinners and suffering saints, led to the writing of such books as Job
(the meaning of a good man's adversities) and Ecclesiastes (the vanity
of all that mere experience and observation of life afford). In the
case of these Wisdom books, as in that of the Psalms, the oldest name —
that of the royal founder — is not to be taken as the exclusive author.
Solomon, like David, made the beginnings; others collected, edited,
developed, and completed.
QUESTIONS ON LESSON VIII
1. In what tribe and town did David first reign as king? How did he
secure a new capital when he became king of all Israel? How and
why did he make this the religious capital also?
OLD TESTAMENT TIMES 31
2. What advantages and disadvantages did David's continual wars,
and his imitation of other kings' courts, bring to him, his family,
and his people?
3. What was David's part in the development of religious poetry?
How does Hebrew poetry differ generally from English poetry in
form? Name the books of the Old Testament written chiefly or
wholly in poetry.
4. Who built the first Temple? Who were "the wise" in Israel, whom
did they venerate as their royal patron, and what did they aim to
accomplish by their writings?
The Kingdom of Israel
I Kings, Chapter 12 to II Kings, Chapter 17
With the death of Solomon came the lasting division of the tribes
into two kingdoms, a northern and a southern, known as the Kingdom
of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah. Rehoboam on his accession an-
nounced a policy of repression and even oppression that alienated com-
pletely the loyalty of Ephraim and the other northern tribes, which
were never attached to the house of David in the same way as the
tribe of Judah was. Under a man of Ephraim, therefore, Jeroboam the
son of Nebat, who in earlier years had challenged even Solomon's title,
the ten tribes revolted from Rehoboam and established a separate state.
Rehoboam found himself too weak to prevent this secession, and he
and his descendants of David's dynasty had to content themselves with
the narrow boundaries of Judah. To be sure, in Jerusalem they pos-
sessed the authorized center of public worship for the whole nation.
It was to offset this advantage that Jeroboam made Bethel, that spot
associated in the minds of the people with the patriarchs themselves,
his religious capital. And, influenced perhaps by the Egyptian example
of steer worship (for he had long lived as a fugitive in Egypt in Solo-
mon's reign), he made golden steers and placed them in the sanctuary at
Bethel and in that at Dan in the extreme north. (See close of Lesson
VI.) To these places and under these visible symbols of brute force, Jero-
boam summoned his people to worship Jehovah. It was the old na-
tional religion but in the degraded form of an image worship forbidden
by the Mosaic Commandments.
32 TEACHING THE TEACHER
A throne thus built on mere expediency could not endure. Jero-
boam's son was murdered after a two years' reign. Nor did this usurper
succeed in holding the throne for his house any longer than Jeroboam's
house had lasted. At length Omri, commander of the army, succeeded
in founding a dynasty that furnished four kings. Ahab, son of Omri,
who held the throne the longest of these four, is the king with whom we
become best acquainted of all the northern monarchs. This is partly
because of the relations between Ahab and Elijah the prophet. Ahab's
name is also linked with that of his queen, the notorious Jezebel, a
princess of Tyre, who introduced the worship of the Tyrian Baal into
Israel and even persecuted all who adhered to the national religion.
This alliance with Tyre, and the marriage of Ahab's daughter to a
prince of Judah, secured Israel on the north and the south, and left
Ahab free to pursue his father's strong policy toward the peoples to
the east, Moab and Syria. Upon Ahab's death in battle against Syria,
Moab revolted, and the two sons of Ahab, in spite of help from the
house of David in Jerusalem, were unable to stave off the ruin that
threatened the house of Omri. Jehu, supported by the army in which
he was a popular leader, seized the throne, with the usual assassination
of all akin to the royal family. His inspiration to revolt had been due
to Jehovah's prophets, and his program was the overthrow of Baal
worship in favor of the old national religion. Though Jehu thoroughly
destroyed the followers of Jezebel's foreign gods, he and his sons after
him continued to foster the idolatrous shrines at Bethel and Dan, so
that the verdict of the sacred writer upon them is unfavorable: they
"departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, where-
with he made Israel to sin."
Mesha, king of Moab, II Kings 3 : 4, lived long enough to see his
oppressors, the kings of Omri's house, overthrown and the land of
Israel reduced to great weakness. (See article "Moabite Stone" in any
Bible dictionary.) Jehu's son, Jehoahaz, witnessed the deepest humilia-
tion of Israel at the hands of Syria. But it was not many years after
Mesha's boasting that affairs took a complete turn. Jehu's grandson,
Jehoash, spurred by Elisha the prophet even on his deathbed, began
the recovery which attained its zenith in the reign of Jeroboam II,
fourth king of Jehu's line. Though little is told of this reign in the
Book of Kings, it is clear that at no time since Solomon's reign had a
king of Israel ruled over so large a territory. It was the last burst of
glory before total extinction.
OLD TESTAMENT TIMES 33
There is a history lying between the reigns of Jeroboam I, founder
of the Northern Kingdom, and of Jeroboam II, its last prosperous
monarch, which has scarcely been referred to in this brief sketch of its
kings. It is the history of Jehovah's prophets.
Hosea; Amos; Jonah
. Reference has ah-eady been made to the rise of the prophetic order
as such, in the time of Samuel. (Lesson VII.) With each crisis in the
affairs of the nation God raised up some notable messenger with a word
from him to the people or to the ruler. But all along the fire of devotion
to God and country was kept alive by humbler, unnamed men, who
supphed a sound nucleus of behevers even to this Northern Kingdom
with its idolatrous shrines and its usurping princes I Kings 18 •4-
19 : 18. 6 • »
The greatest names are those of Ehjah and Ehsha. The earher
struggle to keep Israel true to Jehovah focuses in these two men, one
the worthy successor of the other. Their time marked perhaps the
lowest ebb of true rehgion in all the history of God's Kingdom on earth.
It is no wonder, therefore, that such stern, strong men were not only
raised up to fight for the God of Moses and Samuel and David, but
also endowed with exceptional powers, to work wonders and signs for
the encouragement of the faithful and the confounding of idolators
and sinners. Such was the purpose of their notable miracles.
Ehjah and Elisha wrote nothing. But in their spirit rose up Hosea
and Amos a century later— men who have left a record of their proph-
ecies in the books that bear their names. Denunciation of sin, espe-
cially in the higher classes, announcement of impending punishment for
that sin, and promise of a glorious, if distant, future of pardon, peace,
and prosperity through God's grace and man's sincere repentanc^-
these things form the substance of their eloquent messages. Hosea is
noteworthy for his striking parable of a patient husband and a faith-
less wife to illustrate God's love and Israel's infidehty. Amos, himself
a herdsman from Judah sent north to denounce a king and people
not his own, is startUng in the suddenness with which he turns the
popular rehgious ideas against those who harbor them. See, for ex-
ample, ch. 3 : 2, where Amos makes the unique "relation between Je-
hovah and Israel the reason, not for Israel's safety from Jehovah's
wrath, as the people thought, but for the absolute certainty of Israel's
punishment for all its sins. These two prophets, the last of the Northern
34 TEACHING THE TEACHER
Kingdom, had the melancholy duty of predicting the utter overthrow
of what the first Jeroboam had set up in rebellion and sin two centuries
QUESTIONS ON LESSON IX
1. When, why, and under whose lead did the ten tribes break away
from the house of David?
2. Outline the fortunes of the kings of Israel from Jeroboam I to Jero-
3. Who were the outstanding prophets in the Northern Kingdom, and
what was the substance of their messages?
The Kingdom of Judah, to Hezekiah
I Kings, Chapter 12 to II Kings, Chapter 17; II Chronicles, Chapters 10 to 28;
Obadiah; Joel; Micah; Isaiah (in part)
The revolt of Jeroboam and the ten northern tribes reduced the
dominion ruled by Rehoboam, grandson of David, to narrow bounds.
Before his disastrous reign was over, Judah was still further humiliated
by an invasion under Shishak, a Pharaoh of the twenty-second dynasty
of Egypt, who despoiled Jerusalem of the treasures which Solomon
had amassed. After the death of Rehoboam and the short reign of his
son, Abijam, Judah was ruled successively by Asa and Jehoshaphat,
each succeeding his father peacefully and each reigning long and, on
the whole, prosperously. Another invasion from the south which
threatened to be as disastrous as that of Shishak, under "Zerah the
Ethiopian" was repelled by Asa. Internal reforms, both religious and
civil, were carried out by these vigorous rulers.
The natural rivalry and intermittent warfare between north and
south, which had arisen through the division under Rehoboam, ceased
for a time after Jehoshaphat entered into alliance with King Ahab and
took Athaliah, Ahab's daughter, as wife for his son Joram. The kings
of Samaria and Jerusalem made common cause against Syria and
Moab, and a temporary success seemed to crown the new policy. But
prophets of Jehovah repeatedly warned the king who sat on David's
throne of the danger to the true religion from such an alliance with
OLD TESTAMENT TIMES 35
It was not long before their warnings were justified by the facts.
Athahah, Joram's queen, was the daughter not only of Ahab but also
of Jezebel and brought with her to Jerusalem the fierce spirit and
heathen habits of her Tyrian mother. King Ahaziah her son lost his
life through his close association with King Jehoram of Israel, his
uncle, for Jehu made away with both kings at the same time, and with
all the princes of Judah, kinsmen of Ahaziah, on whom he could lay
his hands. The old tigress at Jerusalem, Athaliah, now turned upon
her own flesh and blood, the children of Ahaziah, and murdered them
all so as to secure the power for herself. One grandson alone, the
infant Joash, escaped, saved by an aunt who hid him and his nurse
from the cruel queen mother. Six years later this child was proclaimed
king in the Temple courts by Jehoiada, the high priest. AthaUah was
slain, and a new era began in Judah with the destruction of Baal wor-
ship and the repair of Jehovah's Temple.
Joash was too weak to do more than buy off the king of Syria when
his army threatened Jerusalem, and he himself met his death in a con-
spiracy. The same fate befell his son Amaziah, after a reign that prom-
ised well but was wrecked on the king's ambition to subdue the North-
ern Kingdom under him. Uzziah (or Azariah) succeeded to the throne,
though for half of his long reign he and his kingdom seem to have
been in a state of vassalage to Jeroboam II, the powerful ruler of Israel.
The latter part of Uzziah's reign was more prosperous, in spite of the
king's pitiable state — for he was stricken with leprosy and had to live
apart. It was on this account that he associated his son Jotham with
himself, and during the sixteen years of Jotham's reign — most of which
was included within the long nominal reign of Uzziah — the PhiUstines,
Ammonites, and Arabians were defeated in warfare, while consider-
able building both in and out of the capital helped to prepare the little
kingdom for the troublous days just ahead.
The mighty kingdom of Assyria, with its capital at Nineveh on the
Tigris River, was the force which God used to punish his faithless
people. Lying beyond the kingdoms of Syria, Israel's nearest neigh-
bors on the north, AssjTia was not at first felt to be the menace which
in the end it proved to be. Whenever Assyria was strong, Syria was
weak, and the king in Samaria could breathe freely. But there came
a day when a king of unusual power ascended the throne at Nineveh,
Tiglath-pileser (or Pul, as he was also called, see II Kings 15 : 19, 29),
and the fate of both Syria and Israel was sealed.
36 TEACHING THE TEACHER
Ahaz, the son of Jotham who had just died, saw in this Assyrian
the means of dehvering Judah out of the hands of Pekah, king of Israel,
and Rezin, king of Syria, who had joined forces to capture Jerusalem
and put a king of their own on the throne of David. By a great present
Ahaz bought the support of Tiglath-pileser, who sent an army to
attack Judah's foes. Syria was devastated, the inhabitants were car-
ried away captive from all the eastern and northern parts of Israel
(Gilead and Galilee), Phoenicia and Philistia were overrun, and Ahaz,
among other kings, went to Damascus in person to do homage to this
In the Northern Kingdom, reduced now to little more than the cen-
tral highlands of Ephraim and Manasseh, Hoshea, a proteg6 of the
Assyrian king, reigned for a few years. But he and his foohsh advisers,
unable to read the signs of the times, looked to Egypt for help and
revolted. This time the end had come. Shalmaneser, now on the
Assyrian throne, came against Samaria, and after a siege lasting al-
most three years, took and destroyed it. The whole population was
carried away, after the drastic policy of deportation practiced by
Assyria, and an alien population was introduced to take their places.
Thus ended the Northern Kingdom after lasting a little over two
centuries. And thus began that strange mixed people, known as the
Samaritans, who settled in the central part of the Holy Land.
The effect of Israel's doom upon the minds of the king and people of
Judah may be imagined. From the pages of Micah and Isaiah, con-
temporary prophets in Judah, can be seen how God was speaking to
Judah through the ruin of Israel. Ahaz's policy of relying on human
help from Assyria instead of divine help from Jehovah was refuted by
its outcome. With Syria and Samaria ruined, there lay nothing be-
tween Jerusalem and the Assyrian. And it is in Hezekiah's reign —
the next after that of Ahaz — that the ruthless conqueror from Nineveh
is found overrunning Judah itself. How king, prophet, and people
met that crisis will begin the next lesson, for it belongs to the period
when the Southern Kingdom is all that remained of the organized He-
brew nation in Palestine.
QUESTIONS ON LESSON X
1. What were the relations between the kingdoms of Judah and Israel
OLD TESTAMENT TIMES 37
2. Who altered these relations for a time? How? With what con-
sequences for Judah's pohtics and religion?
3. Who was Joash, and how did he come to the throne?
4. What was the occasion of Judah's first intimate contact with Assyria?
Discuss Ahaz's policy in the light of Isa. 7 : 1-9.
5. WTiat were the stages in the downfall of the Northern Kingdom?
What became of the conquered people, and who replaced them?
See II Kings, ch. 17.
Judah, from Hezekiah to the Exile
II Kings, Chapters 18 to 25 ; II Chronicles, Chapters 29 to 36;
Isaiah (in part); Nahum; Habakkuk; Zephaniah; Jeremiah;
Lamentations; Ezekiel, Chapters 1 to 32
Although outwardly Judah appeared to be the same after the fall
of the Northern Kingdom as before, it was not so. A very different
situation confronted Hezekiah from that which had confronted his
father Ahaz when he called on Assyria for help against Syria and
Israel. Now there were no "buffer states" between Assyria's empire
and little Judah. And it was only a score of years after Samaria fell
when Jerusalem felt the full force of AssjTia. Sennacherib, fourth in
that remarkable list of the six kings^ who made Nineveh mistress of
Asia, sent an army to besiege Jerusalem, wdth a summons to Hezekiah
to surrender his capital.
A different spirit ruled this king. Isaiah, the same great prophet
who had counseled Ahaz to resist Pekah and Rezin but had failed to
move him to faith in Jehovah, found now in Ahaz's son a vital faith in
the God of Israel in this far sorer crisis. In reponse to that faith Isaiah
was commissioned by God to assure king and people of a great deliver-
ance. The case, to all human seeming, w^as hopeless. But the re-
sources at God's disposal are boundless, and at one blow "the angel
of Jehovah" reduced the proud Assyrian host to impotency and drove
them away in retreat. II Kings 19 : 35. Scribes who record the
achievements of ancient monarchs are not accustomed to betray anj--
of the failures of their royal heroes. But between the lines of Sennach-
1 Tiglath-pileser, 745-727 B.C.; Shalmaneser, 727-722; Sargon, 722-705; Sennach-
erib, 705-681; Esar-haddon, 680-668; Ashurbanipal, 668-626.
38 TEACHING THE TEACHER
erib's records we can read confirmation of the Bible's report of some
great catastrophe to Assyrian arms. Jehovah rewarded the faith of
his people in him.
The seventh century before Christ, which began just after this event,
witnessed both the rise of Assyria to its greatest height, and its sudden
fall before the Chaldeans, a people from the Persian Gulf, who suc-
ceeded in mastering ancient Babylon and in winning for it a greater
glory than it had ever known in former times. Even in Hezekiah's
reign these Chaldeans, under their leader Merodach-baladan, were
already challenging the supremacy of Nineveh, and in doing so were
seeking allies in the west. When the king of Judah yielded to the
dictates of pride and showed to these Chaldean ambassadors his treas-
ures, Isaiah announced to him that the final ruin of Judah was to come
in future days from this source, and not from Nineveh as might then
have been anticipated.
Manasseh, Hezekiah's successor, was indeed taken as a captive to
Babylon for a time, but the captor was a king of Assyria. II Chron.
33 : 11. Manasseh was thus punished for his great personal wicked-
ness, for he is pictured as the worst of all the descendants of David, an
idolator and a cruel persecutor. Yet his reign was long, and at its
close he is said to have repented and turned to Jehovah. But this did
not prevent his son Amon from following in his evil ways. A revolt of
the people within two years removed Amon, however, and set his
young son, Josiah, upon the throne. Josiah's reign is important for
the history of Judah.
By putting together all that can be gleaned from Kings, Chronicles,
and the prophets, it can be seen that Josiah gradually came more and
more under the influence of the party in Judah that sought to purge
the nation of its idolatry and bring it back, not merely to the com-
paratively pure worship and life of Hezekiah's and David's daj^s, but
to an ideal observance of the ancient Law of Moses. The climax in the
progressive reformation in Judah was reached in Josiah's eighteenth
year, 622 B.C., when the king and all the people entered into a ''solemn
league and covenant" to obey the Law of Moses both as a religious
obligation and as a social program.
The Law book which was found while workmen were restoring the
Temple passed through the hands of Hilkiah, the high priest, who
therefore committed himself, together with the priests, to this reform.
And what the true prophets of Jehovah thought of it may be seen, for
OLD TESTAMENT TIMES 39
example, from Jer., ch. 11, which tells that this prophetic leader preached
in the streets of Jerusalem and through the cities of Judah, saying,
"Hear ye the words of this covenant, and do them."
Josiah attempted to attach to Jerusalem all those elements in the
territory of the former kingdom of Israel which were in sympathy with
Jehovah's Law, and at Bethel itself he defiled the old idolatrous altar
and slew its priests. In fact, it was on northern ground, at Megiddo,
that Josiah met his tragic end and the new wave of patriotic enthusi-
asm was shattered, when, in battle against Pharaoh-necho and a great
Egyptian army, the king of Judah was killed.
Josiah's four successors were weak and unworthy of David's line.
After Jehoahaz, the son whom the people put on the throne to succeed
Josiah, had been removed by Necho, Jehoiakim, another son, reigned
for eleven years. He owed his throne to the Pharaoh and was at first
tributary to him. But early in his reign came the first of many cam-
paigns of the Chaldeans into Palestine, as Nebuchadnezzar, master of
Asia, extended his power farther and farther south after crushing the
Egyptians at Carchemish in 605 B.C. Jehoiakim had to bow to
Nebuchadnezzar's yoke and seems to have lost his life in a fruitless
attempt to shake it off. A great number of the leaders of Judah,
nobles, priests, soldiers, and craftsmen, were deported, together with
Jehoiachin, the young son of Jehoiakim, who had worn the crown but
three months, 598 b.c.
For eleven years more, however, the remnant of Judah maintained a
feeble state under Zedekiah, a third son of Josiah and the last of David's
line to mount the throne. In spite of his solemn oath to the king of
Babylon and in the face of the express warnings from Jehovah through
his prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel, this weak and faithless king re-
volted from Babylon, put his trust in the Egyptian army, and pre-
pared to stand a siege. But Jerusalem's end had now come, as Samaria's
had come before, and through a breach in the northern wall the Chal-
dean army entered; the king fled and was captured, blinded, and
deported, and the whole city, including houses, w^alls, gates, and even
the Temple — that famous Temple of Solomon which had stood nearly
four centuries — was totally destroyed, 587 b.c. All that remained of
the higher classes, together with the population of Jerusalem and the
chief towns, were carried away to Babylonia, to begin that exile which
had been threatened even in the Law, and predicted by many of the
prophets, as the extreme penalty for disobedience and idolatry.
40 X TEACHING THE TEACHER
QUESTIONS ON LESSON XI
1. How did the fall of Samaria affect the Kingdom of Judah?
2. How did Hezekiah meet the threats of Sennacherib? What was
3. Which king carried through a reformation of religion? What was
the basis of the covenant he imposed on Judah? How did he
meet his end?
4. Describe the relations of the Chaldeans to Judah in the time of
Hezekiah, of Jehoiakim, of Zedekiah?
5. When did Jerusalem fall? Did it fall unexpectedly and without
The Exile and the Restoration
Ezekiel, Chapters 33 to 48; Daniel; Ezra, Chapters 1, 2
When the northern tribes were carried away by Assyria they lost
their identity in the mass of the nations. Only individuals from among
them attached themselves to the organized nucleus of Judah. From
that time the one tribe of Judah stood out so prominently as repre-
sentative of the whole nation, that "Jew" (that is, man of Judah)
has been equivalent to Hebrew. Paul says that he was of the tribe of
Benjamin; the aged prophetess Anna is said to have been of the tribe
of Asher, Luke 2 : 36, and all the priests were of course of the tribe of
Levi; yet long before New Testament times all such Israelites were
commonly referred to as "Jews."
Judah did not lose its identity among the nations when Jerusalem
fell. The Jews who were not deported, among them the prophet Jere-
miah, were put under the government of a certain Jewish noble, Geda-
liah, who ruled the land from Mizpah as representative of the great
king. Many fugitives returned to live under his sway when they
found that it was beneficent. But Gedaliah was soon murdered by a
prince of David's house, whom the king of Ammon had set on to do
this mischief and then received and protected. The other Jewish
leaders feared to remain within reach of the king of Babylon after this
insult to him, and against the warnings of Jeremiah they all went
down to Egypt. That removal ended all organized Jewish life in
Palestine for nearly half a century.
OLD TESTAMENT TIMES 41
In Babylon, however, an event occurred long before that time had
elapsed, which marked the political recognition of Judah's separate
identity as a nation. That event was the release of Jehoiachin from
prison by the new king of Babylon, Evil-merodach, successor of Neb-
uchadnezzar. Jehoiachin, it will be remembered, was the unfortunate
prince of David's Hne who held the throne only three months after his
father Jehoiakim's death and was then deported to Babylon in 598.
From that time on, through all the remainder of Nebuchadnezzar's long
reign, he had been imprisoned in Babylon. But now he was not only
released, but given a pension from the royal treasury for the rest of his
life and a standing superior to all the other captive princes in
This was in 562, and many Jewish hearts must already have begun
to beat with fresh hope, as the old loyalty to David's house flamed up,
and the promises of a restoration recorded in the old Law and the
Prophets were echoed by the prophet of the Exile, Ezekiel. This
man, himself a priest by birth, had been carried to Babylon at the same
time as Jehoiachin, and through all those years of doom had there
preached to his countrymen, first to the portion exiled with him while
Jerusalem still stood, but after 587 to the whole people united in a
common catastrophe. His voice had even reached to Jerusalem, as
he joined Jeremiah in reminding King Zedekiah of his oath to Neb-
uchadnezzar. With the elevation of Jehoiachin and the stirring of
the national hopes, Ezekiel became the prophet of hope. He pictures
the breath of Jehovah stirring to life the dry bones in the valley of
death. Ezek., ch. 37. And he warns the optimistic people that only
as God takes away from them their old stony heart and gives them a
heart of flesh, and sprinkles clean water upon them to cleanse them
from their pollution through idolatry, can they be fit to form the new
community wherein God shall indeed reign. Ch. 36 : 25, 26. What
such a community might outwardly and visibly resemble, Ezekiel
pictures in a long, detailed, descriptive vision wherewith his book
closes. Chs. 40 to 48.
Another outstanding Jew of the Exile was a man of an entirely dif-
ferent type. Daniel, a noble youth carried away from Judah to Babylon
at the first clash of Nebuchadnezzar's armies with the Jews, 605 b.c,
and brought up at the court, succeeded through interpreting a dream of
the king in attracting his notice and winning his favor, much as Joseph
had done in ancient Egypt. Dan., ch. 2. From his position of political
42 TEACHING THE TEACHER
power, Daniel was able, doubtless, to minister to the interests of his
brethren, the Jewish exiles. Possibly it is to him that Jehoiachin owed
his astonishing reversal of fortune. At any rate Belshazzar, the last
ruler of the Chaldean state, still maintained Daniel in power, in spite
of the very solemn warning of ruin to that state which Daniel fearlessly
pronounced. Ch. 5. When the Persians succeeded the Chaldeans as
masters of Babylon, this Jewish statesman still held his high post, and
retained it in spite of the bitter enmity of officials who used his Jewish
faith as a handle against him. Ch. 6. In fact, there is no better way
to understand the favor accorded the Jews by Cyrus, the Persian con-
queror, and the edicts preserved in Ezra 1 : 2-4; 6 : 3-5, than by sup-
posing that Daniel, who had the king's ear, brought to his attention
the earlier prophecies of Jeremiah and of other spokesmen for Jehovah,
God of the Jews.
Certainly, however the affair was managed, it turned out entirely
to the Jews' liking. All who were willing to return to Palestine were
permitted and encouraged to go. They were assisted by the gifts of
their brethren who could not, or would not, leave Babylon. They bore
back with them the old vessels for the service of the sanctuary which
Nebuchadnezzar had carried off. And, best of all, they took with them
royal authority to erect the Temple of Jehovah on its ancient site, at
the expense of the king of Persia, that is, out of taxes and tribute he re-
mitted. At their head went a prince of the old royal house, and a high
priest who was grandson of that high priest whom Nebuchadnezzar
had executed half a century before. Their number totaled forty-two
thousand three hundred and sixty, with enough slaves in addition to
make the entire company number nearly fifty thousand.
Their purpose was threefold: to reoccupy the Holy Land, to rebuild
Jerusalem, and to erect a temple where Solomon's Temple had stood.
We should be likely to rate the importance of these three objects in the
same order as that in which they have just been named. But not so
the believing Jew. It was above all else the sacred house of his God
that he wanted to see restored, so that the prescribed sacrifices of the
Law might be resumed, the nation's sin might thus be atoned for, and
God might once more visibly dwell among his people. All else was in
order to this one great end. The origin of Judaism, which lies in the
movements of this time, cannot be understood unless this supreme
motive is clearly grasped. Hoj\' Judaism developed under the new con-
ditions will be the subject of the next lesson.
OLD TESTAMENT TIMES 43
QUESTIONS ON LESSON XII
1. What is meant by ''a Jew"?
2. How did government of Hebrews by a Hebrew come to an end in
Palestine for the first time since Saul's day?
3. What was the first political event to arouse the exiled Jews from
4. Compare Ezekiel and Daniel in their personality, position, and
5. When Cyrus captured Babylon in 539, what did he do for the Jews,
and how came he to do it?
6. How many Jews returned to Palestine under Cyrus, and what was
their uppermost motive?
The Jewish State Under Persia
Ezra, Chapters 3 to 10; Esther; Nehemiah; Haggai;
For two centuries Judea, like the rest of western Asia, was under
the domination of the Persians, whose great royal names, Cyrus, Darius,
Xerxes, Artaxerxes, are familiar to every student of history. The Old
Testament spans one of those two centuries of Persian rule, 539-430,
while for the other century, 430-332, we are dependent for the little we
know about the Jews upon some documents recently discovered in
Egypt, an occasional notice in classical historians, and the brief nar-
rative of Josephus, the Jewish historian of the first Christian century.
Even in the century covered by the books of the Bible there are long
stretches of silence separating periods that are fairly reported. First
comes the time of Zerubbabel and Jeshua, the leaders, civil and religious,
under whom the Jews returned and erected the Temple. This story
carries us, though with a seventeen-year gap in its midst, from 538,
the year after Cyrus took Babylon, to 515, the sixth year of Darius the
Great, and is recorded in the first six chapters of the book of Ezra. To
help us in understanding this time we have also the prophecies of
Haggai and Zechariah, though the last six chapters of Zechariah belong
to another age.
After the completion of the new Temple the curtain falls on Judea
and, save for a single verse, Ezra 4 : 6, we hear no more of it for fifty-
44 TEACHING THE TEACHER
seven years. However, the interesting story of Esther belongs in these
years, for the Ahasuerus of the Bible is the Xerxes of Greek history —
that vain, fickle, and voluptuous monarch who was beaten at Salamis
and Plataea. The Jews must have been a part of the vast host with
which he crossed from Asia to Europe. But the drama unfolded in the
book of Esther was played far from Palestine, at Susa, the Persian
With the seventh year of the next reign — that of Artaxerxes I — the
curtain rises again on Judea, as we accompany thither the little band of
Jews whom Ezra, the priestly "scribe," brought back with him from
Babylonia to Jerusalem. This account is found in the last four chapters
of the book of Ezra, most of it in the form of personal reminiscences
covering less than one year.
The curtain falls again abruptly at the end of Ezra's memoirs, and
rises as abruptly on Nehemiah's memoirs at the beginning of the book
which bears his name. But there is every reason to believe that the
letters exchanged between the Samaritans and the Persian court, pre-
served in the fourth chapter of Ezra, belong to this interval of thirteen
years between the two books of Ezra and Nehemiah. For this alone can
explain two riddles: first, who are "the men that came up from thee unto
Jerusalem," Ezra 4 : 12, if they are not Ezra and his company, ch. 7?
And second, what else could explain the desolate condition of Jerusalem
and Nehemiah's emotion on learning of it, Neh. 1 : 3, if not the mischief
wrought by the Jews' enemies when "they went in haste to Jerusalem,"
armed with a royal injunction, and "made them to cease by force and
power"? Ezra 4 : 23.
Some persons are inclined to date the prophet Malachi at just this
time also, shortly before Nehemiah's arrival. But it is probably better
to place the ministry of this last of the Old Testament prophets at the
end of Nehemiah's administration. Nehemiah's points of contact with
Malachi are most numerous in his last chapter, ch. 13, in which he writes
of his later visit to Jerusalem. Compare Neh. 13 : 6 with ch. 1:1.
In Cyrus' reign the great Return was followed immediately by the
erection of an altar and the resumption of sacrifice. Preparations for
rebuilding the Temple, however, and even the laying of the corner
stone, proved a vain beginning, as the Samaritans, jealous of the new-
comers and angered by their own rebuff as fellow worshipers with the
Jews, succeeded in hindering the prosecution of the work for many
years. Ezra 3 : 1 to 4 : 5.
OLD TESTAMENT TIMES 45
It was not until the second j'ear of Darius' reign, 520, nearly two
decades later, that the little community, spurred out of their selfish-
ness and lethargy by Haggai and Zechariah, arose and completed the
new Temple, in the face of local opposition but with royal support.
Ch. 4 : 24 to 6 : 15.
Fifty-seven years later, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes, 458,
came Ezra with some fifteen hundred men, large treasures, and sweep-
ing privileges confirmed by a royal edict, the text of which he has
preserved in the seventh chapter of his book. He was given the king's
support in introducing the Law of God as the law of the land, binding
upon all its inhabitants, whom he was to teach its contents and punish
for infractions of it. How Ezra used his exceptional powers in carrying
out the reform he judged most needed — the dissolution of mLxed mar-
riages between Jew and Gentile forbidden by the Law — is told in detail
in his own vivid language in chs. 9, 10. It helps us to understand
Malachi's zeal in this same matter. Mai. 2 : 11. And the difl&culty of
this reform appears also from Nehemiah's memoirs, since the same
abuse persisted twenty-five years after Ezra fought it. Neh. 13 : 23-27.
After the failure to fortify Jerusalem recorded in Ezra 4 : 8-23,
Nehemiah, a Jew in high station and favor at Artaxerxes' court, ob-
tained from his king a personal letter, appointing him governor of
Judea for a limited time, with the special commission to rebuild the
walls and gates of Jerusalem. The same bitter hostility which the
Samaritans and other neighbors in Palestine throughout had shown
toward the returned Jews, reached its climax in the efforts of Sanballat
and others in public and private station to hinder Nehemiah's purpose.
But with great energy and bravery, and with a personal appeal and
example that swept all into the common stream of patriotic service,
Nehemiah built the ruined walls and gates in fifty-two days, instituted
social reforms, ch. 5, and imposed a covenant on all the people to obey
the Law which Ezra read and expounded. Chs. 8 to 10. Elements in
the little nation that joined with his enemies to discredit and even to
assassinate him were banished or curbed. The origin of the peculiar
sect of the Samaritan is connected with Nehemiah through his rigor
in banishing a grandson of the high priest who had married Sanballat's
daughter. This disloyalty of the priesthood is also one of Malachi's
chief indictments against his nation, and the basis of his promise that
a great reformer, an "Elijah," should arise to prepare the sinful people
for the coming of their God.
46 TEACHING THE TEACHEH
QUESTIONS ON LESSON XIII
1. How long after the Return was the Temple finished? Who hindered?
2. What are the scene and the date of the book of Esther?
3. Compare the return of the Jews to Jerusalem under Ezra with that
under Zerubbabel (a) in date, (6) in numbers, (c) in purpose and result.
4. Tell the story of Nehemiah : the occasion of his return, his enemies,
his achievements. In what did Ezra help him?
5. Associate the ministry of the three prophets of this period after the
Exile with the leaders and movements they respectively helped.
Israel's Religious Life
It has often been said that while civilization owes its art and letters
to Greece and its law and order to Rome, it owes its religion and ethicS
to Palestine. This is true, within limits, provided we understand that
what Israel contributed was not the product of its "native genius for
religion," but was due to the persistent grace of its God, who took this
"fewest of all peoples" and made of it the custodian of his revelation
and the cradle of his redemption for the whole world. When, however,
the Hebrew claimed preeminence through these two things, a saving
God and a righteous Law, it was no idle boast. So Moses eloquently
asks in Deuteronomy: "What great nation is there, that hath a god
so nigh unto them, as Jehovah our God is whensoever we call upon him?
And what great nation is there, that hath statutes and ordinances so
righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?" Deut. 4 : 7, 8.
Religion as developed in Israel had two sides, an inward and an
outward. On its inward side it consisted of a faith in Jehovah cherished
in the hearts of the people, together with the sentiments of reverence
and love, and the purposes of loyalty and consecration, which grew out
of that faith. On its outward side religion consisted of certain objects
and ceremonies, adapted to express by act and symbol the relation be-
tween God and his people.
But there is also another distinction often made in speaking of re-
ligion, the distinction between individual religion and national religion.
Each member of the Hebrew nation held a personal relation to his God.
The Law of God addressed him individually as it said to him, "Thou
OLD TESTAMENT TIMES 47
shalt not." And, on a still higher level, Moses summed up that Law for
him in these memorable words, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with
all thy heart." Yet the entire body of Israel, as such, held a relation to
God which his spokesmen are continually trying to illustrate and en-
rich by all sorts of figures. God is Israel's "Rock," "Possessor" or
"Purchaser," "Redeemer," "Father" — until Isaiah can even say to the
nation, "Thy Maker is thy husband," and Hosea and Ezekiel can por-
tray God's dealings with Israel under the allegory of a marriage.
It would be a mistake, however, to suppose that all the inward re-
ligion was individual and all the outward religion national. There was
provision in the ceremonial law, not only for sacrifices on a national
scale, like those of the day of atonement, but also for each man to ex-
press outwardly his own penitence or devotion or gratitude or obliga-
tion to God by means of a personal sacrifice, publicly offered but pri-
vately planned and provided. And, on the other hand, the psalms and
the prophets cannot be understood, unless we realize the general re-
ligious life of the nation that lies back of these highly individual forms
of expression. That was why, when David thinking of himself could
write, "The Lord is my shepherd," the whole people could take that
sentence and the psalm it begins for use in public worship as the col-
lective expression of Israel's trust in its God.
The great fact of sin is responsible for the perversion of the true
relation between these different varieties of religious life. In theorj',
every symbolic object and action at tabernacle or Temple was merely
the outward expression of an inward idea or feeling or resolve. Every
smoking sacrifice on the altar was supposed to come from an offerer
drawing near to God in the sincere belief "that he is, and that he is a
rewarder of them that seek after him." Heb. 11 : 6. But in fact the
offerer was in constant danger of looking upon all the gifts and victims
he brought as so many bribes with which he might buy the favor of an
offended God, or, worse still, might obtain an "indulgence" to do some
evil deed he planned. This is what Jeremiah means when he cries,
"Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely . . .
and come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my
name, and say, We are delivered; that ye may do all these abomina-
tions?" Jer. 7 : 9, 10.
If the private worshiper was in danger of abusing the worship of
God in this way, how much more was the priest, the professional sac-
rificer and celebrant, in danger of looking upon all his duties as a kind
48 TEACHING THE TEACHER
of authorized magic! "Do this external act, and that inward benefit
will surely follow." "Offer this lamb, and cease to think about that
black sin for which the lamb is the official price." Yes, even this:
"Go and do it again, but don't forget to bring another lamb!" Is it
any wonder that at length Malachi, after lashing the priests of his late
day for their laziness, cynicism, and greed, cries out in Jehovah's name,
"Oh that there were one among you that would shut the doors [of the
Temple], that ye might not kindle fire on mine altar in vain!" Mai. 1 : 10.
All along the course of Hebrew history we find prophets and psalm-
ists protesting against this sinful perversion of ceremonial religion.
See for example I Sam. 15 : 22; Ps. 40 : 6-8; 50; Isa. 1 : 10-17; Micah
6 : 6-8.
And yet it would be a mistake to say that the prophet stood for
pure and spiritual religion, and the priest for merely external, formal
religion. Some of the greatest of the prophets, as Jeremiah, Ezekiel,
Zechariah, were priests. And how far the prophets could become pro-
fessional declaimers and deceivers may be seen, for example, from
Micah 3 : 5-8.
The Hebrew prophets, notably Amos and Hosea, are sometimes
represented as the "inventors" of "ethical monotheism," that is, of
religion as consisting in the worship of one God, who is the moral ideal
of man and demands moral living in man. But in fact, that is precisely
the basis of all genuine Old Testament religion, from the very begin-
ning. See Heb., ch. 11. And, particularly, that is the basis of the entire
Law, even of the ceremonial law. For that Law must not be judged by
its sinful abuse, but by the principles of righteousness, holiness, re-
pentance, and fellowship that underlie every article in the sanctuary,
every sacrifice on the altar, every rite prescribed and observance com-
manded. At their best the priests were allies of the true prophets, and
external religion as centering in the Temple was for the time a fitting
expression of Israel's personal and national faith. If it had not been
so, then such psalms as Psalms 24, 42, 65, 84, 122 could never have
been written, preserved, and used.
QUESTIONS ON LESSON XIV
1. What ground had Israel for "glorying"? See Rom. 9 : 4, 5.
2. Give illustrations to show that individual as well as national re-
ligion in Israel expressed itself externally, and that spiritual as
OLD TESTAMENT TIMES 49
well as ceremonial religion belonged to both the nation and the
3. What sinful abuse of sacrifice were the prophets constantly attack-
ing? Did they thereby condemn Temple, altar, priesthood, and
ceremonial law in themselves?
4. Were all the prophets spiritually minded, or all the priests merely
''professional"? Give instances from history of alliances between
prophets and priests.
"The Coming One"
The Old Testament points forward. The whole impression it leaves
upon us is that of an unfinished thing. Its history moves toward a
goal outside of itself. Its religion is a religion of expectation. All its
institutions are typical, that is, they represent more than themselves,
because they belong to a larger order of things which appears imper-
fectly in them.
In the last lesson we saw how priest and prophet had their own
place in Israel. But both priest and prophet also typified a perfect
priesthood and a perfect prophecy, to be realized under ideal conditions
which were never present in those times. When, for example, Aaron
made atonement for the sins of the nation once each year, as provided
in Lev., ch, 16, he had to present first the blood of the bullock which
was the sin offering for himself, before he presented the blood of the
goat which was the sin offering for the people. But ideally, in his posi-
tion as mediator between God and the sinful people, he was a sinless
man; the blood of the bullock and the pure, white garments he put on
were supposed to indicate that he was sinless for the moment. Noth-
ing could be clearer than that he typified a perfect high priest for God's
people, who should be really a sinless man — one who needed no mechan-
ism of altar, victim, and dress to make him pure from personal sin.
See Heb., chs. 5 to 10, especially ch. 7 : 26-28.
Again Moses looks forward to the realization in the future of the
ideal communication between God and his people typified in the
prophet. "A prophet," says he, "Jehovah thy God will raise up unto
thee." "From the midst of thee, like unto me." Deut. 18 : 15-19.
This ideal prophet will perfecftly hear and perfectly transmit divine
50 TEACHING THE TEACHER
truth to men. It was on the basis of this promise that many persons
described our Lord as ''the prophet," meaning thereby that perfect
prophet promised by Moses. John 1 : 21, 25; 7 : 40.
But there was another institution of Old Testament times which
more than prophet or priest was associated in the people's minds with
the ideal future. This was kingship. God himself was theoretically
King — sole King — of Israel. Isa. 33 : 22. But at the entreaty of his
sinful and harassed people he instructed Samuel to "make them a
king." And while Samuel warned them of the evils which the monarchy
would bring with it because of the sinfulness of the men who should
be king, he nevertheless set up a throne that by its very nature was
unique. The king of Israel was in a peculiar sense the representative of
Jehovah. He ruled for God. He was his own "anointed," set apart
for the exercise of supreme authority over God's people on earth and
entitled to their religious as well as patriotic devotion. See, for ex-
ample. Psalms 21, 101.
After the failure of Saul to obey God's instructions, Samuel anointed,
at God's dictation and against his own human judgment, David the
son of Jesse. This man proved himself, not indeed sinless nor the ideal
king, but a man after God's heart. Acts 13 : 22, because his dominant
purpose was to do God's will. To David therefore was given the re-
markable promise contained in II Sam., ch. 7. In a word, this promise
was an irrevocable, eternal "covenant," granting sovereignty to David's
"house" — that is, his posterity considered as a unit — over God's
Kingdom on earth.
The story of how men came to understand better and better the
vastness of this covenant, which Isaiah calls "the sure mercies of
David," ch. 55 : 3, forms the subject of that special Old Testament
study called ' ' Messianic Prophecy . " In the psalms and in the prophecies
we are able to trace a growing faith, that by an ideal king of David's
line Jehovah will finally work his long delayed will in and through
Israel. This Person is commonly called "the Messiah," because
"Messiah" means "Anointed." Its Greek equivalent is "the Christ."
While other persons also were anointed with oil when they assumed
office, kings were always so anointed and the idea belongs peculiarly
to kingship. By the time our Lord appeared, no other side of the
work which this ideal, promised, longed-for Coming One was to do,
was so prominent as that of ruling for God as the King of Israel. For
this reason Jesus of Nazareth is known to all who believe in his claims
OLD TESTAMENT TIMES 51
as "the Christ," and such believers are thence called "Christians."
This title of Christ connects Jesus with the line of David, to which he
actually belonged by descent, and it also connects him with the promise
to David, of which he was the heir and the fulfillment.
We have thus seen that "the Coming One," Luke 7 : 19; John 11 : 27,
toward whom the eyes of Israel were directed, was to be prophet, priest,
and king. In all these offices and the various duties they involved he
was to be the one chosen from among the people — a man therefore,
"servant of the servants of God." Yet this is not all. Alongside these
promises there was a promise also that Jehovah himself would come to
dwell among his people. The Holy of Holies, with its Ark of the Pres-
ence and its Mercy seat for revelation and atonement, was itself typical
of an ideal presence of God among men. And through psalm and
prophet we can trace this promise also. Now it is terrible with its
threat to sinners, and now it is glorious with its hope for the oppressed.
At length in Malachi we read in the clearest words, "The Lord, whom
ye seek, will suddenly come to his temple." Mai. 3 : 1, 5. Preceded
by his "messenger" to "prepare the way before him," Israel's divine
Lord himself is to come for judgment and salvation. See also Ps.
96 : 13; 98 : 9.
It was not made so plain to the men of ancient Israel just how these
two lines of promise were to be united, as it appears to us now in the
light of later facts. But we, who worship Jesus of Nazareth not only
as "Son of David according to the flesh," but as divine Lord from
heaven, "in two distinct natures and one person for ever," can look
back on those old prophecies of "men who spake from God, being moved
by the Holy Spirit." II Peter 1:21. We can see in them God's purpose
to make this great Son of David a true "Immanuel," Isa. 7 : 14 — a
Person in whom God actually is "%vith us." God gave to him such
names as "Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace," because he should really be all that these names
imply. Isa. 9 : 6. For the Child who was born in little Bethlehem, the
"city of David," was not merely one who should be "ruler in Israel,"
but also one "whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting."
QUESTIONS ON LESSON XV
1. How did the priests and prophets in Israel point forward to an
ideal Priest and Prophet?
52 TEACHING THE TEACHER
2. What was the relation of Israel's king to Jehovah? In whose "house"
was this office made eternal? In what Person has this promise
3. How was the promise that God himself should be "the Coming
One" consistent with the promise of a human Prophet, Priest, and
King? Where is it indicated in the Old Testament that both
promises might be fulfilled in one Person?
The Life of Christ and the Development of
the Church in New Testament Times
By John Gresham Machen, D.D.
At the time when the Old Testament narrative closes, the Jews were
under the rule of Persia. The Persian control continued for about one
hundred years more, and then gave way to the empire of Alexander the
Great. Alexander was king of Macedonia, a country to the north of
Greece; but the language and culture of his court were Greek. After
Greece proper had been conquered by Alexander's father, Philip,
Alexander himself proceeded to the conquest of the East. The Persian
Empire fell in 331 b.c, and with the other Persian possessions Jeru-
salem came into the hands of the conqueror. In 323 b.c, when Alex-
ander died, his vast empire, which extended around the eastern end
of the Mediterranean Sea and to the borders of India, at once fell to
pieces. But the kingdoms into which the empire was divided were to
a large extent Greek kingdoms. Short-lived, therefore, as Alexander's
empire was, it had the permanent efifect of spreading the Greek lan-
guage and Greek civilization over the Eastern world. It became thus,
as will be seen, one of the most important factors in the divine prepara-
tion for the gospel.
After the death of Alexander, the country of Judea became a bone
of contention between two of the kingdoms into which Alexander's empire
was divided — the Greek kingdom of Syria and the Greek kingdom of
Egypt. At last, however, the Syrian kingdom, with its capital at Antioch,
near the northeastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea, gained the
upper hand. Judea became part of the territory of the Syrian monarchs.
In the reign of Antiochus IV of Syria, called Antiochus Epiphanes,
175-164 B.C., the Jews began a war for independence. Antiochus
Epiphanes had desecrated the Temple at Jerusalem by setting up an
image of a heathen god in the Holy of Holies. The result was the glori-
ous revolt of the Jews under Mattathias and his sons — the family of the
Maccabees. The Maccabean uprising, of which a stirring account has
been preserved in the First Book of the Maccabees, an apocryphal
book attached to the Old Testament, certainly constitutes one of the
most glorious chapters in the history of liberty. The uprising was
successful, and for about one hundred years the little country of the
56 TEACHING THE TEACHER
Jews, though surrounded by powerful neighbors, succeeded in main-
taining its independence.
At first the Maccabees had been animated by a rehgious motive; the
revolt had been due not to an interference with what may be called
civil liberty, but to the desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes of the
Temple and to the attempt at prohibiting the worship of Jehovah.
As time went on, however, the Maccabean rulers became more worldly
in their purposes and thus alienated the devout element among their
people. Hence the little kingdom became an easy prey to the next
great world empire which appeared upon the scene.
That empire was the empire of Rome. Originally a small city-state
in Italy, Rome had gradually extended her conquests until she came into
conflict with Greece and with the Greek kingdoms of the Eastern world.
Weakened by many causes, the successors of Alexander soon suc-
cumbed, and among them the monarchs of Syria. Judea could not
resist the new conqueror. In 63 b.c, the famous Roman general,
Pompey, entered Jerusalem, and Jewish independence was at an end.
The Roman control was exerted in Palestine for a time through sub-
servient high priests, until in 37 B.C. Herod the Great was made
king. Herod was not a real Jew, but an Idumaean; and at heart he had
little or no attachment to the Jews' religion. But he was wise enough
not to offend Jewish feeling in the outrageous way that had proved so
disastrous to Antiochus Epiphanes. Throughout his reign Herod was
of course thoroughly subservient to the Romans; though a king, he
was strictly a vassal king. Herod reigned from 37 b.c. to 4 b.c. His
kingdom embraced not only Judea, but all Palestine. It was near the
end of Herod's reign that our Saviour was born. Thus the reckoning
of the Christian era, which was instituted many centuries after Christ,
is at least four years too low; Jesus was born a little earlier than 4 b.c.
When Pompey conquered Jerusalem in 63 b.c, Rome was still a
republic. But before many years had elapsed Julius Caesar assumed
the supreme power, and the ancient Roman liberties were gone. After
the assassination of Caesar in 44 b.c, there was a long period of civil
war. Finally Augustus was triumphant, and the Roman Empire began.
In the long reign of Augustus, 27 b.c to a.d. 14, our Saviour was born.
The political events which have just been outlined did not take place
by chance. They were all parts of the plan of God which prepared for
the coming of the Lord. When Jesus finally came, the world was pre-
pared for his coming.
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 57
In the first place, the Roman Empire provided that peace and unity
which was needed for the spread of the gospel. War interrupts com-
munication between nations. But when the apostles went forth from
Jerusalem to spread the good news of Christ to the world, there was no
war to interrupt their course. Nation was bound to nation under the
strong hand of Rome. Travel was comparatively safe and easy, and
despite occasional persecution the earliest missionaries usually enjoyed
the protection of Roman law.
In the second place, the Greek language provided a medium of com-
munication. When the Romans conquered the Eastern world, they
did not endeavor to substitute their own language for the language
which already prevailed. Such an attempt would only have produced
confusion. Indeed, the Romans themselves adopted the Greek language
as a convenient medium of communication. Greek thus became a
world language. The original, local languages of the various countries
continued to be used (Aramaic, for example, was used in Palestine),
but Greek was a common medium. Thus when the apostles went forth
to the evangelization of the w^orld, there were no barriers of language to
check their course.
In the third place, the dispersion of the Jews provided the early
missionaries everyw^here with a starting point for their labors. As a
result not only of captivity, but also of voluntary emigration, the Jews
in the first century were scattered abroad throughout the cities of
the w^orld very much as they are scattered to-day. But there was one
important difference. To-day the Jewish synagogues are attended
only by Jews. In those days they were attended also by men of other
races. Thus when Paul and the other Christian missionaries exercised
their privilege of speaking in the synagogues, they were speaking not
only to Jews but also to a picked audience of Gentiles.
QUESTIONS ON LESSON I
1. Name in order the foreign powers which possessed the country of
the Jews, beginning with Old Testament times and continuing
down to the present day.
2. W^hat was the importance of the Maccabean uprising in the prepara-
tion for the coming of the Lord? What would have happened if
Antiochus Epiphanes had been successful?
3. What was the importance of the Roman Empire for the spread of
the gospel? of the Greek language? of the dispersion of the Jews?
58 TEACHING THE TEACHER
The Coming of the Lord
John 1: 1-18
When the Son of God came to earth for our salvation, the world was
ready for his coming. The whole course of history had been made to
lead up to him. And he was well worthy of being thus the goal of
history. For the One who came was none other than the eternal Son of
God, the Word who was with God and who was God. He had existed
from all eternity; he had been the instrument in creating the world.
He was himself truly God, the same in substance with the Father, and
equal in power and glory. Yet the One who was so great humbled him-
self to be born as a man and finally to suffer and die. His coming was
a voluntary act, an act of the Father in giving him for the sins of the
world, and his own act which he performed because he loved us. It
was an act of infinite condescension. The Son of God humbled himself
to lead a true human life; he took upon himself our nature. He was
born, he grew in wisdom and stature, he suffered, he died. He was
always God, but he became also man. Who can measure the depth of
such condescending love?
What, then, was the manner of his coming? The story is told, in
beautiful narrative, in the first two chapters of Matthew and Luke.
Luke 1 : 5-25, 57-80
First, the birth of John the Baptist, the forerunner, was announced
by the angel Gabriel to Zacharias, a devout priest, as he was ministering
in the Temple. Luke 1 : 5-25. Zacharias was old; he had given up
hope of children. The promise seemed to him too wonderful to be true;
he doubted the angel's word. But the punishment which was inflicted
upon him for his doubt was temporary merely, and the bitterness of it
was swallowed up in joy for the child that was born. The tongue of
Zacharias, which had been dumb on account of his sin, was loosed, and
he uttered a wonderful song of praise. Vs. 57-80.
But before John was born, in fulfillment of the angel's promise,
there was a promise of a greater than John. Luke 1 : 26-56. "The
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 59
angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house
of David; and the virgin's name was Mary." It was a far more won-
derful promise than that which had come to Zacharias, not only be-
cause of the greater glory of the promised Son, but also because of the
mystery of his birth. The child was to have no human father, but was
to be given by the power of the Holy Spirit. But this time, despite
the strangeness of the promise, there was no unbelief, as in the case of
Zacharias. "Behold, the handmaid of the Lord," said Mary; "be it
unto me according to thy word." And then Mary went to Judea to visit
her kinswoman Elisabeth, the wife of Zacharias; and while in Judea she
gave glorious expression to her thanksgiving in the hymn which is called,
from the first word of it in the Latin translation, the "Magnificat" —
"My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God
my Saviour." Then Mary returned to her own home in Nazareth.
But another announcement of the Saviour's birth was made to
Joseph, who was betrothed to Mary. Matt. 1 : 18-25. Joseph was to
have the high privilege of caring for the child that was to be born.
"Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife," said the angel to Joseph
in a dream, "for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit."
And here again, there was no unbelief and no disobedience. Joseph
"did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took unto him his
Luke 2: 1-7
Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth, a town of the northern part of
Palestine, which was called Galilee. But the promised Child was to
belong to the house of David, and it was fitting that he should be born
at Bethlehem, a Httle to\NTi five miles south of Jerusalem where David
himself had been bom. To cause him to be born at Bethlehem, God
made use of an event of world politics. Luke 2 : 1-7. A decree had
gone out from the emperor, Augustus, that the whole empire should
be enrolled. This enrollment or census seems to have been carried out
in the kingdom of Herod the Great by the Jewish method which took
account of family relationships. So, although at the time Joseph and
Mary were living at Nazareth, they went up to the home of Joseph's
ancestors, to Bethlehem, to be enrolled. And at Bethlehem the Saviour
60 TEACHING THE TEACHER
was born. There was no room in the lodging place. The Child was
laid, therefore, in a manger that was intended for the feeding of cattle.
But humble as were the surroundings of the newborn King, his
birth was not without manifestations of glory. Luke 2 : 8-20. Shep-
herds, keeping watch in the fields by night, heard a multitude of the
heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased." The
shepherds went then to see the sign which had been made knoAvn to
them. It was a strange sign indeed — Christ the Lord, the promised
King, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger!
Luke 2:21-38; Matthew 2: 1-12
Forty days after the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary made the
offering according to the Old Testament law, and presented the Child,
as the first-born, to the Lord in the Temple at Jerusalem. Luke 2:21-
38. Then they must have returned to Bethlehem, for it was at Beth-
lehem that gifts were presented by Wise Men from the East. Matt.
2 : 1-12. The Wise Men had been guided to Bethlehem partly by a
wonderful star which they had first seen in their own country, and partly
by questions which were answered by the scribes.
Matthew 2: 13-23
But the life of the infant Saviour was not all to be a hearing of angels'
songs and a reception of gold and frankincense and myrrh. The Lord
had come to suffer for the sins of the world, and the last great suffering
on the cross was anticipated by the persecution which came in the
early days. Matt. 2 : 13-18. The suspicions of Herod, the jealous
king, had been aroused by the questions of the Wise Men. He sent to
Bethlehem to put a possible rival out of the way. But it was too late.
The king's rage was vented upon the innocent children of the little town,
but God had cared for the infant Saviour. The Lord was finally to die
for the sins of the world. But meanwhile many words of wisdom and
grace were to fall from his lips; his hour was not yet come. Joseph
was warned of God in a dream, and took the young Child and his
mother away to Egypt, out of the way of harm, until Herod the Great
was dead. Then they returned to Nazareth, where the Child was to
spend long, quiet years of preparation for his work.
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 61
QUESTIONS ON LESSON II
1. What life had our Saviour Hved before he came to earth? Did he
cease to be God while he was on earth?
2. Why did he come?
3. Who was his forerunner? What sort of persons were the parents of
4. How did Jesus come to be born at Bethlehem?
5. What was the character of his mother?
The New Testament tells very little about the boyhood and early
manhood of our Saviour. One incident, however, is narrated. Luke
2 : 41-50. Joseph and Mary, we are told, were in the habit of going
up from Galilee to Jerusalem every year in the spring at the feast of
the passover. When Jesus was twelve years old, he went up with
them. But when they left Jerusalem on the return, Jesus remained
behind in the Temple, to study the Old Testament; and when Joseph
and Mary found him, he replied to their inquiries, "Knew ye not that I
must be about my Father's business?" The incident shows the presence
even in the human consciousness of the boy Jesus of a knowledge of the
great mission that he was called to fulfill and of his special relation
Luke 2:51, 52
But the consciousness of these great things did not prevent our
Saviour from performing the humble tasks of daily life and from being
obedient to his human parents. Luke 2 : 51, 52. Jesus became a car-
penter, and since Joseph also was a carpenter, no doubt Jesus learned
the trade in early youth. Mark 6:3; Matt. 13 : 55. For many years,
till he was about thirty years old, the Saviour of the world labored at
the carpenter's bench, and lived as an obedient son in a humble home
at Nazareth. Luke 3 : 23.
At last, however, the time came for the beginning of his public
ministry. Before that ministry is studied, it may be well to cast a
glance at the condition of the country into which Jesus now came
G2 TEACHING THE TEACHER
When Herod the Great died in 4 b.c, his dominions were divided
among his three sons. Archelaus received Judea, the southern part
of Palestine, with Jerusalem as its chief city; Herod Antipas, the
"Herod" who is mentioned in the Gospels in connection with Jesus'
public ministry, received Galilee and a district to the east of the Jordan
River called Perea; and Philip received a region lying to the east of
Galilee and to the north of Perea. When Archelaus was banished in
A.D. 6, his territory was placed under the control of Roman officials
called procurators. The procurator who was in office during Jesus'
public ministry was Pontius Pilate. Herod Antipas, with the title of
"tetrarch," continued to rule until a.d. 39; Philip until about a.d. 33.
The public ministry of Jesus extended from a.d. 26 or 27 to a.d. 29 or
30. During most of that time he was in the territory of Herod Antipas
and of Pontius Pilate, though occasionally he entered the territory of
Matthew 3: 1-12, and Parallels
The beginning of Jesus' public ministry was prepared for by the work
of John the Baptist. Matt. 3 : 1-12, and parallels. John was the last
and greatest prophet of the old dispensation, who came just before the
dawn of the new age. For centuries prophecy had been silent. But
at last a prophet came in the spirit and power of Elijah to prepare the
heart of the people for the promised Messiah.
Even in dress and in manner of life, John was like a prophet of the
olden time. His food was locusts and wild honey; he was clothed with
a rough camel's-hair garment; and his preaching was carried on in the
deserts. The substance of his message is summed up in the words,
"Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matt. 3 : 2.
The phrase, "kingdom of heaven," or "kingdom of God," was evi-
dently familiar to the hearers of John, and the meaning of the phrase,
up to a certain point, is perfectly clear. As the kingdom of Caesar is
the place where Csesar bears rule, so the Kingdom of God is the place,
or the condition, where God bears rule. In one sense, the whole uni-
verse is the Kingdom of God, for nothing happens apart from God's
will. But evidently John was using the phrase in some narrower sense;
he meant by the Kingdom of God the condition where God's will is
wrought out to completion, where the sinful disobedience which pre-
vails in the world is banished and God is truly King.
The Jews expected an age which should be under the perfect control
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 63
of God. But they were surprised by what John the Baptist said about
the requirements for entrance into that age. They had supposed that
all Jews would have the blessing of the Kingdom, but John told them
that only the righteous would be allowed to enter in. It was a startling
message, since the hearers of John knew only too well that they did
not possess the righteousness which was required. Repentance, there-
fore, or cleansing from sin, was necessary. And the sign of cleansing
Matthew 3: 13 to 4: 11, and Parallels
Among those who came to be baptized was Jesus of Nazareth.
Matt. 3 : 13-15, and parallels. Jesus did not need to be baptized for
his own sake, for he had no sin to be washed away. But his baptism
was part of what he was doing for his people. Just as on the cross he
received the punishment of sin, though there was no sin of his own,
so in his baptism he represented the sinful people whom he came to save.
When Jesus had been baptized, there was a wonderful event which
was perceived not only by him but also by John the Baptist. Matt.
3 : 16, 17, and parallels. The Holy Spirit descended upon him in the
form of a dove, and there was a voice from heaven which said,
"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." This event
marks the beginning of Jesus' public ministry as Messiah. He had
been the Messiah already, and he had already possessed the Holy
Spirit; but now the power of the Spirit impelled him to come forward
definitely as the promised One.
At the very beginning, however, there was temptation to be over-
come. Matt. 4 : 1-11, and parallels. Jesus was led up from the deep
Jordan Valley, where the baptism had taken place, into the wilderness
on the heights. And there he was tempted. The temptation was based
upon the holy experience which he had just received. The voice from
heaven had designated Jesus as Son of God. *'If that be true," said
the Tempter, "if thou art really Son of God, use thy power to obtain
creature comfort, test out thy power by casting thyself down from a
pinnacle of the Temple, obtain the immediate enjoyment of thy power
by doing obeisance to me." The Devil quoted Scripture for his evil
purpose. But Jesus did not need to repudiate the Scripture in order
to refute him. The Holy Scriptures themselves contained a sufficient
answer to every suggestion of the Evil One. The great victory was
won. The Kingdom of the Messiah was not to be a worldly realm, and
64 TEACHING THE TEACHER
it was not to be won by worldly means. The path to the Messiah's
throne led by the way of the cross. And that path our Saviour was
willing to tread for our sakes.
QUESTIONS ON LESSON III
1. What is known about the boyhood and youth of Jesus?
2. Describe the physical features and the political divisions of Pales-
tine at the time of our Lord. Where was Jesus born, where did
he spend his youth, and where was he baptized?
3. What was the meaning of John's baptism? Why was Jesus baptized?
4. What was the meaning of each of the three temptations, and how
did Jesus overcome them?
The Early Judean Ministry
John 1 : 19-34
After the temptation Jesus descended again into the Jordan Valley,
where the baptism had taken place. There he received the testimony
of John the Baptist. John 1 : 19-34. John had come not to perform a
work of his own, but to be a witness to the greater One who was to
follow. He put aside, therefore, all thoughts of personal ambition,
declared plainly that he was not the Christ, and rejoiced when his
disciples left him in order to follow the One whom he had come to
announce. John had had revealed to him, moreover, not merely the
fact that Jesus was the Saviour, but also something of the way in which
the salvation was to be wrought. Jesus was to die, like a sacrificial
lamb, for the sins of others. "Behold, the Lamb of God," said John to
his disciples, "that taketh away the sin of the world!"
Two pairs of brothers, in those early days, left John to follow the
Saviour. John 1 : 35-42. One pair consisted of Andrew and Peter;
the other, no doubt, consisted of the two sons of Zebedee, James and
John, although John, who wrote the Gospel in which this narrative is
contained, has never mentioned his own name in his book. Two other
men, besides these four, came to Jesus on the following day— Philip
and Nathanael. Vs. 43-51.
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 65
John 2: 1-11
After the meeting with these six disciples, our Lord ascended again
from the valley of the Jordan to the higher country of Galilee. And
there, in the village of Cana, he wrought the first of his miracles. John
2 : 1-11. He was a guest at a wedding feast, and when the wine ran
out he supplied the lack by turning water into wine. Thereby he not
only manifested his power, but also indicated the manner of his min-
istry. He was not to be an austere person like John the Baptist, living
far from the habitations of men. On the contrary, his ministry was, for
those whom he came to win, a ministry of joy. He entered not merely
into the sorrows, but also into the joys of men; the One who was to die
for the sins of the world was also mlling to grace a marriage feast!
After a brief sojourn at Capernaum, on the shores of the Sea of
GaUlee, where he was afterwards to carry on a large part of his min-
istry, Jesus went southward to Jerusalem at passover time. At Jeru-
salem his first recorded act was an act of stern rebuke. John 2 : 13-22.
The Temple area was filled with the tables of those who sold the sheep
and oxen and doves which were intended for sacrifice; the sacred
precincts of God's house had been made a place of business. There
was no hesitation on the part of Jesus; he made a scourge of cords and
drove the traffickers out. It is a mistake to suppose that the wonder-
ful gentleness of our Saviour or his gracious participation in innocent
joys was any indication of weakness. Though always merciful to the
penitent, Jesus could be indignant against blatant sinners; and the
righteous anger of the Saviour was a terrible thing.
At Jerusalem Jesus won adherents because of the miracles which he
wrought. But he was able to distinguish true devotion from that
which was false. He "knew all men, . . . and needed not that any
one should bear witness concerning man; for he himself knew what was
in man." John 2 : 24, 25.
One example of this knowledge was afforded by the case of Nico-
demus, John 3 : 1-15; Jesus knew what Nicodemus lacked. Nico-
66 TEACHING THE TEACHER
demus, a ruler of the Jews, came to Jesus by night, to discuss the sub-
stance of what Jesus had been saying. But our Lord would not waste
time with things that lay on the surface. He went straight to the heart
of the matter, and said to Nicodemus, ''Ye must be born anew." V. 7.
None of the learning, none of the worldly influence of Nicodemus
would avail; true life could come only by a new birth, which all, rich
and poor, learned and ignorant, must receive, and receive, not by their
own efforts, but by the mysterious power of the Spirit of God. Jesus
spoke, too, on that memorable night, of the sacrificial death which he
himself was to die for the sins of men. "As Moses lifted up the serpent
in the wilderness," he said, "even so must the Son of man be lifted up;
that whosoever belie veth may in him have eternal life."
Then Jesus left Jerusalem, the capital, and carried on, through his
disciples, a ministry of baptism in the country districts of Judea.
John 3 : 22-30. He was thus engaging in a work which before had
belonged peculiarly to John the Baptist. Some of John's disciples were
perhaps inclined to be envious. But there was no envy in the heart
of John himself. He had come not for his own sake but to be a wit-
ness to Jesus as Messiah. And now he rejoiced in the growing promi-
nence of Jesus. "The friend of the bridegroom," he said about him-
self, "rejoices at the voice of the bridegroom. He must increase, but
I must decrease." Vs. 29, 30, in substance.
When this early Judean ministry was over, Jesus went back to
Galilee. On the way he passed through Samaria. John 4 : 1-42.
The inhabitants of Samaria were not of pure Jewish race, and although
they accepted the five books of Moses and looked for the coming of
a Messiah, they did not accept all of the Old Testament. They were
despised by the Jews. But even for the Samaritans, and for the most
degraded among them, the Saviour had a message of hope. Wearied
by his journey, our Lord was sitting by Jacob's well near the city of
Sychar. When his disciples had gone into the city to buy food, a
woman came to draw water at the well. For that woman it was a
memorable hour. Jesus was willing to labor, and that in the midst
of his weariness, for one sinful soul, as well as for all the multitudes
that had crowded around him in Judea. The woman was of sinful
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 67
life, and she could not hide her sin from Jesus But Jesus searched
out her sin, not in order to condemn her, but in order to bring to her
the message of salvation. Attracted, then, by what the woman had
said, a number of the Samaritans came to Jesus and recognized him
as the Messiah and as the Saviour of the world.
QUESTIONS ON LESSON IV
1. Give an account of the testimony of John the Baptist to Jesus.
How did John know that Jesus was the Messiah?
2. What happened at Cana? Who, besides Jesus, was a guest at the
3. Give an outhne of all the journeys of Jesus up to his passage through
4. Give an account, fuller than the outline given, of the early Judean
ministry. What did Jesus say when he was asked to give a sign?
5. What is the meaning of the "new birth"? Is it still necessary to-day
if a man is to be saved? How does it come?
The Beginning of the Galilaean Ministry
After passing through Samaria, Jesus arrived in Galilee, and it
was in Galilee that a large part of his ministry was carried on. The
Galilaean ministry is narrated for the most part by the first three
Gospels, which are called Synoptic Gospels, whereas the Gospel Ac-
cording to John deals more particularly with the work in Judea.
Luke 4: 16-30
After the healing of a nobleman's son, when Jesus was at Cana of
Galilee, our Lord began his preaching in the Galilaean synagogues.
Early in this period he went to Nazareth, the place where he had
been brought up. Luke 4 : 16-30. But the pe^ople of Nazareth could
not believe that the carpenter's Son whom they had known was really
chosen by God to fulfill the glorious prophecies of Isaiah. When
rebuked by Jesus they even desired to kill him. Thus did they illus-
trate, to their own eternal loss, the words of Jesus that "No prophet
is acceptable in his own country."
Leaving Nazareth, our Lord went do-wTi and dwelt at Capernaum,
68 TEACHING THE TEACHER
making that city apparently the center of his work. But before the
details of the Galilaean ministry are studied, it will be well to cast a
hurried glance at the geographical features of the country where Jesus'
ministry was carried on.
The political divisions of Palestine have already been mentioned —
Galilee in the north, under the tetrarch, Herod Antipas; Samaria
and Judea to the south, under the Roman procurator, Pontius Pilate.
But the physical features of the country do not correspond at all to
the political divisions. Physically the country is divided into four
narrow strips, each about one hundred and fifty miles long, running
from north to south. The westernmost strip is the coastal plain,
along the Mediterranean Sea, into which Jesus hardly went; then
comes the low hill country, the "shephela"; then the highlands, upon
which Jerusalem is situated, reaching an altitude of some 2500 feet
above sea level. These central highlands of Palestine are broken
by the plain of Esdraelon, in southern Galilee. A little to the north
of this plain, in a hill country, lies the town of Nazareth. East of the
central highlands is the deep valley of the Jordan River. The Jordan
rises in the extreme north of Palestine, one of its sources being
on the slopes of the lofty Mount Hermon; then flows southward to
the lake called "the waters of Merom"; then, issuing from that lake,
it flows, after a short course, into the Lake of Gennesaret, or Sea of
Galilee, which is about twelve miles long; then, issuing from the Lake
of Gennesaret, it flows southward, through a very deep valley to the
Dead Sea, which has no outlet and is extremely salt. During most
of its course the Jordan Valley lies far below the level of the sea, being
on account of this peculiarity absolutely unique among the river valleys
of the world. The Dead Sea is 1292 feet, and the Lake of Gennesaret
682 feet, below sea level. It was on the shores of the Lake of Gennesaret
that a large part of our Lord's ministry was carried on. Centuries
of misrule have now ruined the country, but in those days GaUlee
supported a large population. The shores of the lake, particularly,
were lined with villages and towns. The work of our Lord was thus
carried on amid "life's throng and press," though from time to time
he sought out the desert places for rest and prayer.
Matthew 4: 18-22, and Parallels
At the beginning of the ministry on the shores of the Lake of Galilee,
Jesus called the two pairs of brothers — Simon Peter and Andrew, and
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 69
James and John. Matt. 4 : 18-22, and parallels. They had known
Jesus before, and had devoted themselves to his service. But now
they were commanded to show their devotion by leaving their ordinary
occupation and becoming Jesus' permanent followers.
Mark 1:21-39, and Parallels
The Gospels give a vivid picture of a Sabbath which Jesus spent
at Capernaum near the beginning of his Galiliean ministry. Mark 1 :
21-34, and parallels. As usual, he went into the synagogue. Our
Lord knew how to find God's handiwork in the flowers of the field;
but he was not like those who think that the worship of God through
nature is any substitute for the public worship of the Church. In
the synagogue the people were astonished at Jesus' teaching: "He
taught them as having authority, and not as the scribes." But
they were also astonished at his power; he commanded even the un-
clean spirits and they obeyed him. He was not merely a teacher,
but also a healer; he brought not merely guidance, but also active help.
After the synagogue service, Jesus went into the house of Simon
and Andrew with James and John. In the house he healed Simon's
wife's mother who was sick of a fever. Others had heard of the won-
derful power of Jesus, and desired to be healed. But in order not to
break the Sabbath, they waited until sunset, when the Jewish Sabbath
was over. At sunset they brought to Jesus those who were sick and
those who were possessed with demons, and Jesus put forth his divine
power to heal.
It had been a crowded, busy day. Our Lord must have been weary
as night at last came. But even in such busy days, he took time to
seek the source of all strength. A great while before the dawn he
went out into a desert place and there prayed. Mark 1 : 35-39, and
Matthew 9:1-8, and Parallels
After a tour in the Galilaean synagogues, w4th both preaching and
healing, our Lord returned to Capernaum. There, as is told in one
of the vivid narratives of the Gospels, Jesus healed a paralytic. Matt.
9 : 1-8, and parallels. The sick man could not be brought in by the
door of the house because of the crowds. But he and his friends were
not to be denied. The four friends who bore his couch lowered him
through the roof into the place where Jesus was. They had found the
Healer at last. But bodily healing was not the first gift which Jesus
70 TEACHING THE TEACHER
bestowed. "Son," said Jesus, "thy sins are forgiven." It was a strange
physician indeed who could forgive sins. The scribes said that the
word of Jesus was blasphemy. And so it was, unless Jesus himself
were God. As a proof of his divine power, the Lord said also to the
paralytic, "Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk." And so the man
went away from the presence of the great Healer, whole in body and
QUESTIONS ON LESSON V
1. Describe the political and the physical divisions of Palestine. In
what parts of the country was our Lord's ministry carried on?
Where was Nazareth? Capernaum? Point out these places on
2. Describe the call of the four disciples. When and where had they
followed Jesus before? What was their occupation?
3. Give an account of the Sabbath in Capernaum that is described in the
Gospels. What great divisions of Jesus' work were illustrated on
4. Describe the healing of the paralytic. What can be learned from
this incident about the nature of Jesus' person? Why were the
The Period of Popularity
During the first part of the Gahla^an ministry, our Lord had the
favor of the people. Great crowds followed him so that he could
scarcely enter into a house. On one occasion he embarked in a little
boat and put forth a short distance into the lake, so as to be able to
speak to the throng on the shore.
This popularity, it is true, was not universal. The common people
heard Jesus gladly, but the official teachers were hostile. These teachers,
who are called scribes, belonged for the most part to the sect of the
Pharisees. At the time of Christ there were two chief parties among
the Jews — the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Sadducees were a
worldly aristocracy, in possession of the high-priestly offices at Jerusa-
lem, favored by the Romans, and satisfied with the existing political
order. The Pharisees, on the other hand, were a strict Jewish party,
insisted on a strict interpretation of the Mosaic Law, and added to
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 71
the Law a great mass of oral *' tradition/" which ostensibly consisted
of interpretation of the Law, but really meant an enormous and oppres-
sive addition to it. The Pharisees were opposed to Jesus for at least
two reasons. In the first place, they were envious of his success in
teaching, which endangered their own position. In the second place,
they were opposed to the contents of his teaching; he rejected their
interpretation of the Law, and rebuked them for paying such atten-
tion to the detailed rules which were set forth in their tradition as to
forget the weightier matters of justice and mercy.
The Conflict of Jesus with the Pharisees was precipitated particularly
by the attitude of Jesus toward the Sabbath. The Sabbath controversy
was carried on partly in Galilee and partly, John, ch. 5, during a visit
of Jesus to Jerusalem. The Pharisees had developed for the preserva-
tion of the Sabbath an elaborate set of rules which went far beyond
what was set forth in the Old Testament. They were offended, there-
fore, when Jesus refused to rebuke his disciples for plucking the ear.s
of wheat on the Sabbath Day, and when he himself insisted on using
the Sabbath to perform works of mercy like the healing of the man
that had a withered hand.
But for the present the opposition of the Pharisees was held in
check by the favor which our Lord had among the people.
This favor was due partly to the teaching of Jesus and partly to
his miracles. He interpreted the Scriptures in a fresh, original way;
''He taught as one having authority and not as their scribes." And
he had power to heal every manner of disease and to cast out demons.
It was no wonder that the crowds followed so wonderful a teacher.
The Galilsean teaching of Jesus began with the proclamation of the
Kingdom of God. The message sounded at first somewhat like the
message of John the Baptist. Quite like John, Jesus came forward
with the summons, ''Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
But the new teacher differed from John in the more complete account
which he gave of the nature of the Kingdom, and especially in the
central place in the Kingdom which he assigned to himself.
Matthew, Chapters 5 to 7
The nature of the Kingdom of God is set forth in the great dis-
course of our Lord which is commonly called the Sermon on the Mount.
72 TEACHING THE TEACHER
Matt., chs. 5 to 7. Having gone up from the shores of the Sea of
Galilee to the heights which surround the lake, our Lord taught his
disciples what was to be the life of those who should have a part
in the Kingdom of God. In one sense, the Kingdom lay altogether in
the future; it would be ushered in with full power only at the end
of the world. But in another sense, it was present already wherever
there were those who were truly submitting their lives to Jesus.
The Sermon on the Mount contains certain features which are
fundamental in all of Jesus' teaching.
In the first place, God is presented, in the Sermon on the Mount,
as "Father." The fatherhood of God, in the teaching of Jesus, is some-
times misunderstood. Jesus did not mean that God is Father of all
men. God stands indeed to all men in a relation which is analogous
to that of a father to his children; he cares for all, he makes his sun to
rise upon all. Matt. 5 : 45. But in the teaching of Jesus and in the
whole New Testament the lofty term, "Father," is reserved for a
still more intimate relationship. So in the Sermon on the Mount
the great world without is sharply distinguished from the company
of Jesus' disciples; it is only the latter who can say, "Our Father which
art in heaven."
There was nothing narrow in such teaching; for although in Jesus'
teaching the intimate relation of sonship toward God was offered
only to those who should be of the household of faith, yet the door
of the household of faith was open wide to all who would be willing
to come in. Indeed Jesus himself died on the cross with the purpose
of opening that door. Our Saviour did far more than teach men that
they were already children of God; he came to make them children
of God by his saving work.
In the second place, the Sermon on the Mount tells what kind of
life is led by those who should have entered into the Kingdom and
been made the children of God. That life is far more than obedience
to a set of external rules; the purity which Jesus demanded is a purity
of the heart. The life in the Kingdom is also far removed from all
pretense; the children of God engage in prayer and good works not
to be seen by men but to be seen by God. Finally, the life in the
Kingdom is a life of perfect trust; all anxious thought for the morrow is
banished, since God will care for his children.
One difficulty arises in the reading of the Sermon on the Mount.
How can such an ideal be attained? It might be possible to obey a
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 73
set of rules, like the rules of the Pharisees, but how is it possible for
sinful men to attain purity of heart? The righteousness of the King-
dom of heaven exceeds by far the "righteousness of the scribes and
Pharisees." How can such righteousness be attained?
The answer to this question was partly understood even by the
first hearers of the Sermon on the Mount. The disciples of Jesus
knew even then that Jesus alone could give them entrance into the
Kingdom; they trusted in him already not merely as teacher but also
as Saviour. But the answer to the question is far plainer to us; for
we know the cross. The atoning death of Christ it was that gave men
the kind of righteousness required for entrance into the Kingdom
of God, for it gave them the righteousness of Christ himself. The
significance of the cross was spoken of by our Lord even during his
earthly ministry, but the full explanation of it was left to the apostles.
The saving work of Jesus could be fully explained only after it had
QUESTIONS ON LESSON VI
1. What is the meaning of "the kingdom of God," in Jesus' teaching?
2. Who were the Sadducees? Who were the Pharisees, and why were
they opposed to Jesus?
3. Give an outline of the Sermon on the Mount.
The Turning Point
The teaching of Jesus was carried on in various ways. Sometimes
there were extended discourses like the Sermon on the Mount. On
the other hand, much of the most precious teaching of our Lord is
contained in brief sayings which were uttered in answer to some objec-
tion or in view of some special situation. One other form of teaching
requires special attention — namely, the parables.
Mark 4: 1-34, and Parallels
A parable is a narrative taken from ordinary life, but intended to
teach some spiritual lesson. It differs from an allegory in that the
application is not to be carried out in such detail. Ordinarily a parable
teaches simply one lesson; there is only one point of similarity
74 TEACHING THE TEACHER
between the literal meaning of the parable and the deeper spiritual
truth. Thus when our Lord compared God's answer to prayer with
the answer which an unjust judge gives to an importunate widow,
the details in the two cases are not intended to be similar; God is
very different from the unjust judge. But there is one point of similarity
— importunity does have its effect in both cases.
The distinction between a parable and an allegory is not an absolute
distinction, and sometimes the two shade into each other. Thus the
parable of the Wicked Husbandmen, which Jesus uttered nearly at
the close of his earthly ministry, partakes largely of the nature of
allegory. The details to a considerable extent are significant — the
wicked husbandmen represent the Jews and their leaders, the servants
who were first sent represent the prophets, the son who was sent last
represents Jesus himself. But many of Jesus' parables are parables
pure and simple; they are not intended to be pressed in detail, but
teach, each of them, some one lesson.
The purpose of Jesus in using parables was twofold. In the first
place the parables were not clear to those who did not wish to learn.
In accordance with a principle of the divine justice, willful closing
of the eyes to the truth brought an increase of darkness. But in the
second place, to those who were willing to receive the truth, the parables
were made gloriously plain; the figurative form of the teaching only
served to drive the meaning home.
The ministry of Jesus did not consist merely of teaching. Along
with the teaching there went wonderful manifestations of divine power.
These manifestations of divine power were of various kinds. Many
of them were miracles of healing; Jesus had power to make the lame
to walk, the dumb to speak, the deaf to hear. He also had power to
cast out demons. At the presence of the Son of God, Satan and his
ministers had put forth all their baneful power. But the demons
were obliged to flee at Jesus' word.
Matthew 8:23-27, and Parallels
Not all of the miracles, however, were miracles of healing. Some
of the most notable of them were of a different kind. But all of them
were manifestations of Jesus' divine power. When, on the lake, in
the midst of the frightened disciples, our Lord said to the winds and
the waves, "Peace, be still," the Ruler of all nature was revealed. The
particular form of Jesus' miracles depended upon his own inscrutable
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 75
will; but all of the miracles revealed him as the Master of the world.
He who had made the world in the beginning could still put forth
the same creative power. A miracle, as distinguished from the ordinary
course of nature, is a manifestation of the creative, as distinguished
from the providential, power of God.
Matthew 14: 1.5-21. and Parallels
Among the miracles of Jesus the feeding of the five thousand seems
to have been particularly important. Its importance is indicated by
the fact that it is narrated in all four of the Gospels. Matt. 14 : 13-21,
and parallels. Even the Gospel of John, which is concerned for the
most part with what happened in Judea, here runs parallel with the
Synoptic Gospels and narrates an event which happened in GalUee.
This event marks the climax of the popularity of our Lord and at
the same time the beginning of his rejection. Even before this time
he had been rejected by some; his popularit}^ had been by no means
universal. He had been opposed by the scribes and Pharisees; he
had not been understood even by the members of his own household;
and he had been rejected twice at the town where he had been brought
up. But for the most part he had enjoyed the favor of the people.
At the time of the feeding of the five thousand, this popular favor
had reached its height. Jesus had withdrawn from the crowds into
a lonely place across the lake from Capernaum. But such was his
popularity that he could not escape. The people follow^ed him even
when he tried to be alone; they had had no thought of food or of lodging
for the night, so eager had they been to listen to his teaching. When
evening came, therefore, they were in want. But our Lord had pity
on them because they were like sheep without 'a shepherd. By a
gracious manifestation of his divine power he made the five loaves and
two fishes suffice for all the multitude.
Matthew 14:22-34, and Parallels
After the feeding of the five thousand Jesus found at last the solitude
which he had sought; he went up into the mountain to pray. The mul-
titudes were making their way around the lake by the shore; the disciples
had taken the only boat and were rowing hard against the wind.
But about three o'clock at night our Lord came to the disciples
walking upon the water. It is no wonder that they bowed before
him and said, ''Of a truth thou art the Son of God."
76 TEACHING THE TEACHER
Meanwhile the multitude had gone on foot around the lake to Caper-
naum. When they found Jesus there before them they were astonished.
But their astonishment, unfortunately, was not of the Idnd that leads
to true and abiding faith. They had valued the earthly bread which
Jesus had given them, but were not willing to receive the spiritual
bread. Jesus himself, he told them, was the Bread of life who had
come down from heaven; only those could truly live who would feed
upon him by accepting his saving work. John 6 : 22-71.
It seemed to the Jews to be a hard saying. How could the Jesus
whose family they knew be the bread which had come down from
heaven? Many even of those who had formerly followed Jesus were
offended at this "hard saying." The popularity of Jesus at this time
began to wane.
But there were some disciples who remained. Jesus had chosen
twelve men, whom he called apostles. He had had them as his com-
panions, and already he had sent them out on a mission to teach and
to heal. Turning now to them, he asked, "Would ye also go away?"
Then Peter, speaking for the others, showed the difference between
true disciples and those who are offended at every hard saying. "Lord,"
he said, "to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life."
QUESTIONS ON LESSON VII
1. What is a parable? How does it differ from an allegory?
2. Why did Jesus use parables? Mention some of the parables recorded
in the Gospels.
3. What is a miracle? Why did Jesus work miracles?
4. What is the particular importance of the feeding of the five thousand?
5. Why were the people offended by the discourse on the Bread of life?
Jesus as Messiah
The waning of Jesus' popularity was by no means sudden. Even
after the discourse on the Bread of life, we frequently find the multi-
tudes around him. But in general, from that time on our Lord seems
to have withdrawn from the crowds more frequently than before,
in order to devote himself to the instruction of his intimate disciples.
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 77
Matthew 15:21-39, and Parallels
At this time our Lord withdrew into Phoenicia, northwest of Palestine.
In Phoenicia he healed the daughter of a Syrophoenician woman. It
was a foretaste of the rich streams of mercy which after Pentecost
were to flow out into the whole world.
After a brief stay in Phoenicia, Jesus returned to Galilee, where
he engaged again in controversy with the Pharisees and again, by his
divine power, fed a great multitude. This second time four thousand
men were fed. There were also miracles of heahng, and in general
the essential characteristics of the Galilsean ministry were continued.
Matthew 16:13-20, and Parallels
But before long Jesus departed again from Galilee, and finally went
with his disciples to the regions of Csesarea Philippi, northeast of
Galilee. Near Caesarea Philippi occurred the great confession of Peter,
which is one of the most important incidents of the Gospel record.
Matt. 16 : 13-20, and parallels.
"Who," Jesus asked of his disciples, "do men say that I am? And
they told him, saying, Ehjah; but others, One of the prophets. And
he asked them, But who say ye that I am? Peter answereth and saith
unto him. Thou art the Christ." Mark 8 : 27-29.
In this confession Peter recognized that Jesus was the "Messiah,"
the "Anointed One," or according to the Greek translation of the
same w^ord, "the Christ." It was by no means the first recognition
of the fact. The Messiahship of Jesus had been revealed to Joseph
and Mary and Zacharias and Elisabeth even before Jesus was born;
it had been revealed to the shepherds and the Wise Men who greeted
the infant Saviour; it had been revealed to John the Baptist; it had
been revealed to the little group of disciples w^ho left John at the Jordan
in order to follow Jesus; it had been proclaimed by Jesus himself in
his conversations with Nicodemus and with the Samaritan woman;
it had been recognized even by the unclean spirits.
But although Jesus had been proclaimed as Messiah before, the
confession of Peter w^as by no means a matter of course. Although
the disciples had already accepted Jesus as the Messiah it required
considerable faith and devotion to continue to accept him, for Jesus
was not the kind of Messiah whom the Jews had been expecting. They
had been expecting a Messiah who, as anointed king of Israel, would
78 TEACHING THE TEACHER
deliver God's people from the Roman oppressors, and make Jerusalem
the center of the whole world.
Such expectations seemed to be set at nought by the Prophet of
Nazareth. No kingly pomp surrounded him; he mingled freely with
the common people; he lived in the utmost humility, having not even
a place to lay his head. Political Messiahship he definitely refused.
When, after the feeding of the five thousand, the people were about
to come and make him a king — that is, the Messianic king — he left
them and withdrew into the mountain. John 6 : 15. It is no wonder
that they were disappointed. All their enthusiasm seemed to be ruth-
lessly quenched. Jesus would have absolutely nothing to do with the
kind of Messiahship which they offered.
By this attitude of Jesus no^ only the multitudes were discouraged.
Even the members of Jesus' household failed to understand, and the
very forerunner of Jesus, John the Baptist himself, was assailed,
momentarily at least, by doubts. Conceivably the twelve apostles
also might have been discouraged. But their faith remained firm.
Despite all disappointments, despite the refusal of our Lord to accept
what were supposed to be prerogatives of Messiahship, Peter was
able still to say, at Csesarea Philippi, "Thou art the Christ."
But in what sense was Jesus the Christ? He was not an earthly
king who would lead the armies of Israel out to battle against the
Romans. He was not that sort of Messiah. What then was he? What
was Jesus' own conception of Messiahship?
In order to answer that question fully, it would be necessary to
return to the study of the Old Testament. Jesus accepted to the full
the Old Testament promises about the Messiah; what he rejected
was merely a false interpretation of them.
Even those promises of the Old Testament which make the Messiah
a king of David's line were fulfilled in Jesus. He was actually of David's
line, and he was born in David's city. He was also the I^ng of Israel.
Only his kingship was exercised in ways different from those which
the people generally were expecting. And there were other features
of the Old Testament promises which Jesus also fulfilled. Jesus was
Qot only Son of David; he was also Son of Man. The title "Son of
Man," which was Jesus' own Messianic designation of himself, does not
denote merely the humanity of Jesus in distinction from his deity. On
the contrary, it is plainly taken from the stupendous scene in Dan. 7 :
13, where "one like unto a son of man" is represented as coming with
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 79
the clouds of heaven, and as being in the presence of God. It indi-
cates, therefore, not the human weakness of Jesus, but his exalted
position as supreme Ruler and Judge.
It is not surprising that for a time at least during his earthly ministry-
Jesus used this title of the Messiah rather than the other titles, for
the title Son of Man was without the political associations which Jesus
desired to avoid. It had been employed, not so much by the masses
of the people, as by the circles which read the books which are called
the "Apocalypses." In these books, on the basis of Daniel and other
Old Testament prophecies, the Messiah was represented not as a
political king, but as a heavenly, supernatural person. The title,
therefore, was admirably fitted to designate the lofty character of
the Messiah's person, without the dangerous political associations
which had gathered around certain other titles.
Indeed for a time, in the early Galilsean ministry, our Lord seems
to have kept his Messiahship somewhat in the background. Public
proclamation of his Messiahship would have aroused false, worldly
hopes of political upheaval. Before proclaiming himself again as
Messiah, our Lord needed to make clear by his teaching and by his
example what kind of Messiah he was; before finally setting up his
Kingdom he needed to show that that Kingdom was not of this world.
But he was Messiah and King from the beginning, and even at the
beginning his Messiahship had been made known.
QUESTIONS ON LESSON VIII
1. Mention some of the titles which are used to designate Jesus as
Messiah, and explain their meaning. Was the title "Son of Man"
ever used with reference to Jesus by anyone except Jesus himself?
2. What was the significance of Peter's confession?
3. Why did Jesus become less popular than he was at first?
The Prediction of the Cross
Peter's confession at Caesarea Phihppi was a triumph of faith, for
which Jesus pronounced Peter blessed. Through a revelation from
God, Peter had been made able to endure the disappointment involved
in Jesus' refusal of kingly honors. But another trial of faith was soon
80 TEACHING THE TEACHER
Matthew 16:21-28, and Parallels
After Peter's acknowledgment of Jesus as Messiah, our Lord began
to teach the disciples more of what his Messiahship meant. Matt.
16 : 21-28, and parallels. It meant, he said, not worldly honors,
and not merely a continuation of the humble life in Galilee, but actual
sufferings and death. This teaching was more than Peter could endure.
"Be it far from thee. Lord," he said, "this shall never be unto thee."
In such rebellion against God's will Jesus recognized a repetition
of the temptation which had come to him at the first, immediateh^
after the voice from heaven had proclaimed him to be the Messiah —
the temptation to use his Messianic power for his own worldly glor}'.
And now as well as then the temptation was resolutely overcome.
"Get thee behind me, Satan," said Jesus: "thou art a stumbling-
block unto me : for thou mindest not the things of God, but the things
Jesus was thus ready to tread the path of suffering which he had
come into the world, for our sakes, to tread. And he called upon his
true disciples to tread that path after him. Yet all the suffering was
to be followed by a greater glory than Peter had ever conceived; and
almost immediately there was a wonderful foretaste of that glory.
Matthew 17:1-13, and Parallels
Six days after the scene at Csesarea Philippi, our Lord took Peter
and James and John, his three most intimate disciples, with him up
upon a high mountain — no doubt somewhere on the slopes of the lofty
Mount Hermon. There he was transfigured before them. Matt. 17 :
1-13, and parallels; "his face did shine as the sun, and his garments
became white as the light." With him appeared Moses and Elijah,
talking with him. And they were talking about what seems to be a
strange subject at such a moment. They were talking not of the
glories of Jesus' Kingdom, but of the "departure" which he was about
to accomplish at Jerusalem. Luke 9 : 31. The "departure" included
not only the resurrection and the ascension, but also the crucifixion.
Even the shining light of the transfiguration was intended to point
to the cross.
Matthew 17: 14-20, and Parallels
After the glorious experience on the mountain, our Lord came at
once into contact with the repulsiveness of human misorv. Matt.
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 81
17 : 14-20, and parallels. But he did not shrink from the sudden
transition. As he came down from the mountain, he found at the
bottom a boy possessed of a demon, who "fell on the ground, and
wallowed foaming." It was a depressing sight, very unlike the bright-
ness of the transfiguration. Even more discouraging, moreover, than
the condition of the boy himself was the powerlessness of the disciples.
They had tried to cast the demon out but had failed miserably, not
because the power might not have been theirs, but because of their
unbelief. The father of the boy, too, was lacking in faith. ''I believe,"
he said; "help thou mine unbelief." Jesus did help his unbelief, and
the unbelief of the disciples. He rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed
At this period Jesus repeated on several occasions the prophecy of
his death. The tragedy on Calvary did not overtake him unawares.
He went deliberately to his death for our sakes.
Matthew 18: 1-6, and Parallels
Even on such solemn days, when the shadow of the cross lay over
the path, the disciples were unable to overcome the pettiness of their
character. On the very journey when Jesus had told them about his
approaching death, they had quarreled about the question as to which
of them should be greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. Thereby they
had shown how far they were from understanding the true nature of
the Kingdom. If the Kingdom was finally to be advanced under the
leadership of such men, some mighty change would have to take place
in them. That change did take place afterwards, as we shall see,
at Pentecost. But at present the pettiness and carnal-mindedness
of the disciples added to the sorrows of our Lord. Despite the intimacy
into which he entered with his earthly friends, he towered in lonely
grandeur above them all.
After the transfiguration and related events near Csesarea Philippi,
our Lord returned to Galilee. But apparently he did not resume
permanently his Galilsean ministry. Soon we find him passing through
Samaria, and laboring in Judea and in that country east of the Jordan
River which is called Perea. This part of Jesus' ministry is recorded
particularly in the Gospels According to Luke and According to John,
although Matthew and Mark contain important information about
the latter part of the period. The general character of the period is
fixed by the expectation of the cross. Jesus had set his face toward
82 TEACHING THE TEACHER
Jerusalem to accomplish the atoning work which he had come into
the world to perform.
Luke 10: 1-24 ; John, Chapter 5
At the beginning of the period Jesus sent out seventy disciples, to
prepare for his own coming into the several cities and villages which
he was intending to visit. The Seventy were in possession of some-
thing of Jesus' power; they were able to report with joy that the demons
were subjected to them.
During the same period we find Jesus in Jerusalem at the feast of
tabernacles. Even during the period of the Galilaean ministry Jesus
had gone up to Jerusalem at least once, at the time of one of the Jewish
feasts; and in connection with the healing of a man at the pool of
Bethesda he had then set forth the true nature of his person and his
relation to God the Father. John, ch. 5. At the later period with
which we are now dealing, the same teaching was continued. Chs. 7, 8.
Matthew 11:27, and Parallels
It is particularly the Gospel of John which records the way in which
Jesus set forth the nature of his own person, but what is fully set forth
in the Gospel of John is really implied all through the Synoptic Gospels,
and in Matt. 11 : 27; Luke 10 : 22 it is made just as plain as it is in
John. According to his own teaching, Jesus stood in a relation toward
God the Father which is absolutely different from that in which other
men stand toward God. In the plainest possible way, our Lord laid
claim to true deity. "I and my Father," he said, *'are one." All the
Gospels present the true humanity of Jesus, the Gospel According to
John, no less than the Synoptists. But all the Gospels also set forth
his deity. He was, according to a true summary of the Gospel teach-
ing, "God and man, in two distinct natures, and one person for ever."
QUESTIONS ON LESSON IX
1. What trial of Peter's faith came just after his great confession?
2. What was the meaning of the transfiguration?
3. What event took place just afterwards?
4. Give an account of Jesus' teaching at the time of the feast of taber-
nacles. John, chs. 7, 8. How was this teaching received?
5. Give an account of the mission of the Seventy and compare it with
the previous mission of the Twelve.
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 83
The Last Journeys
John, Chapter 9
During the latter part of Jesus' ministry, with which Lesson IX
began to deal, Jesus spoke some of the most beautiful of his parables.
A number of them, such as the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal
Son, are recorded only by Luke. From the same period the Gospel
According to John records some notable teaching of Jesus, in addition
to that which was mentioned in the last lesson. Part of this teach-
ing was introduced by the healing of the man born blind. John, ch. 9.
This miracle, which had been performed on the Sabbath, had aroused
the special opposition of the Pharisees. In answer to them, our Lord
pointed out the difference between those leaders of the people who
are like robbers breaking into the sheepfold or at best like hirelings
who flee at the first approach of danger, and the good shepherd who is
willing to lay down his life for the sheep. Such a shepherd was Jesus
himself, and his life was soon to be laid down.
Finally, after various journeyings of Jesus iu Judea and in Perea,
there occurred in Bethan^^ a little village near Jerusalem, one of the
most notable of our Lord's miracles. John 11 : 1-44. At Bethany
lived a certain Lazarus with his sisters Martha and Mary, whom
Jesus knew well. Lazarus fell ill during the absence of Jesus across
the Jordan in Perea; and the illness resulted in his death. On the
fourth day after Lazarus' death, Jesus came to Bethany. Martha
came to meet him; Mary remained mourning in the house, until her
sister brought word that Jesus had arrived. Then she, too, went to
meet the Lord. When Jesus saw her and her friends weeping for the
one who had died, he, too, wept with them. But he had power not
only to sj^mpathize, but also to help. Going with the sisters to the
tomb, he caused the stone to be removed, then prayed, and then called
with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth." At the word of Jesus, the
dead man came out of the tomb. Jesus was Master over death and
It was not the first time that our Lord had raised the dead. He
had raised the daughter of Jairus in Galilee and the son of the widow
84 TEACHING THE TEACHER
of Nain. But the raising of Lazarus is especially important, not only
because of the wonderfully vivid way in which the incident is narrated
in the Gospel According to John, but also because it served to hasten
the crisis in Jerusalem. Both the Sadducees and the Pharisees were
now aroused. The movement instituted by Jesus had reached alarm-
ing proportions. If allowed to continue it would be full of danger.
The Romans, it was feared, would regard it as rebellion and would
utterly destroy the nation of the Jews. The diverse parties among the
Jewish leaders were becoming more and more united against the strange
Prophet from Galilee.
John 11: 54
For a short time still the crisis was delayed. Our Lord retired from
Judea to a city called Ephraim, near the wilderness. We also find him,
in this period of his life, again beyond the Jordan, in Perea. In this
Perean residence is to be placed a portion of the teaching contained
in the Synoptic Gospels, such as the teaching concerning divorce.
Matt. 19 : 3-12, and parallels, the words to the rich young ruler,
vs. 16-30, and parallels, and the parable of the Laborers in the Vine-
yard. Matt. 20 : 1-16.
Before long, however, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for the last time.
On the way, when he was passing through Jericho, in the Jordan
Valley, he healed two blind men, and converted the tax collector
Zacchseus. The conversion of Zacchaeus was in accord with Jesus'
custom all through his ministry. The taxgatherers were despised by
the rest of the Jews at the time of Christ. They had allied themselves
with the Roman oppressors, and no doubt most of them were guilty
of abominable extortion on their own account. By the Pharisees,
particularly, they were regarded as belonging to the very dregs of the
people, with whom no true observer of the law could be intimate.
But Jesus was bound by no limits in his saving work. He did not
condone sin — either the sin of the taxgatherers or the sin of the Pharisees.
But he was willing to save from sin all who would believe. The whole,
he said, need not a physician, but they that are sick. The Son of
Man had come to "seek and to save that which was lost."
John 11:55 to 12:1
Toiling up the long ascent from Jericho, our Lord arrived at last,
six days before the passover, at the village of Bethany, which is less
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 85
than two miles from Jerusalem. During the remaining time before
the crucifixion Jesus went every morning into the city and returned
in the evening to lodge with his friends at Bethany.
Matthew 26:6-13, and Parallels
Soon after his arrival at Bethany, when Jesus was reclining at table
in the house of a certain Simon the leper, he was anointed by Mary
the sister of Lazarus. Matt. 26 : 6-13; Mark 14 : 3-9; John 12 : 2-8.
This anointing is not to be confused with a somewhat similar event
which had taken place some time before, when Jesus had been anointed
by a woman who had been a notorious sinner. Luke 7 : 36-50. The
disciples murmured at the waste. The precious ointment, they said,
might have been sold for a great sum, which could have been distributed
to the poor. Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, had a special cause
for dissatisfaction; in his case the mention of the poor was only a cloak
for covetousness. Judas kept the bag, and if the proceeds of the oint-
ment had been put into his keeping, he could have indulged his thiev-
ing propensities. But all the murmuring, whether it proceeded from
more sordid motives or from a mere misunderstanding of the true
spirit of the woman's act, was rebuked by our Lord. The woman,
he said, had anointed his body beforehand for the burial. The days
just before the crucifixion were no time for true disciples to murmur
at an act which was prompted by overflowing love for the Saviour
who was so soon to die.
Matthew 21: 1-11, and Parallels
On the day after the supper at Bethany, that is, on the day after
the Jewish Sabbath, on the ninth day of the Jewish spring month
Xisan, our Lord entered into Jerusalem. Matt. 21 : 1-11, and paral-
lels. It was a triumphal entry; Jesus was received publicly by the
multitudes as the Messiah, the promised King of Israel. Even the
manner of his entrj"- was in accordance with prophecy; he came riding
over the IMount of Olives and into the city mounted on an ass, in
accordance with Zech. 9 : 9. The promised King of Israel at last
had come. The multitudes strewed palm branches in the way, and
cried, ''Hosanna to the son of David."
QUESTIONS ON LESSON X
1. Where was Perea? Jericho? Bethany? Ephraim? Find on a
map the places mentioned in this lesson,
36 TEACHING THE TEACHER
2. Give an account of all the times when Jesus, during his earthly
ministry, raised the dead. In what Gospels are these incidents
3. What is the special importance of the raising of Lazarus?
4. Give an account of some of those parables of Jesus which are con-
tained only in the Gospel According to Luke.
Teaching in the Temple
Despite the enthusiasm which the multitudes had shown at the
time when Jesus entered into Jerusalem, despite the shouts of those
who cried, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord," Jesus
knew that he was going to his death, and that Jerusalem would soon
turn against her King. "When he drew nigh," we are told in the Gospel
According to Luke, "he saw the city and wept over it, saying. If thou
hadst known in this day, even thou, the things which belong unto
peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes." Luke 19 : 41, 42.
On the Sunday of the triumphal entry it was already late when
Jesus entered into the Temple area. He did nothing, therefore, that
day, except look about him; and then he returned to Bethany with the
twelve apostles. Mark 11 : 11.
Matthew 21:12-19, and Parallels
On Monday, however, the final conflict began. Entering into the
city, our Lord cast out of the Temple those who bought and sold,
just as he had done at the beginning of his public ministry. The
rebuke which he had administered several years before had had no
permanent effect. But Jesus did not hesitate to rebuke again those
who made God's house a place of business. The rulers, of course,
were incensed. But popular favor for a time put a check upon their
hate. On the way into the city, Jesus said to a fig tree, which was
bearing leaves only, ''No man eat fruit from thee henceforward for
ever." The motives of our Lord's act are not fully known to us;
but at least he was able afterwards to point out through the case of
the fig tree the limitless power of faith. The disciples were exhorted
to pray in faith. But their prayers, Jesus said, must be in love; no
unforgiving spirit should be left in their souls when they prayed to their
heavenly Father for their own forgiveness.
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 87
The next day, Tuesday, was a day of teaching. Our Lord spent
the day in the Temple, meeting the attacks of his enemies. And he
had an answer to every inquiry; the trick questions of his enemies
always redounded to their own rebuke.
Matthew 21 : 23-32, and Parallels
First our Lord was questioned as to the authority by which he had
cleansed the Temple the day before. Matt. 21 : 23-32, and parallels.
He answered that question by another question: *'The baptism of
John, whence was it? from heaven or from men?" The chief priests
and elders could not say. They were not really sincere seekers for
divine authority. But Jesus was not content with having silenced
them. He also pointed out, positively, their sin in not receiving the
word of God which had come through John.
Matthew 21:33-46, and Parallels
Still more scathing was the rebuke which Jesus uttered through the
parable of the Wicked Husbandmen. Matt. 21 : 33-46, and parallels.
The wicked husbandmen had been put in charge of a vineyard. But
when the time came to render the fruit of the vineyard to the owner,
they killed the servants who were sent to them and finally the owner's
son. The chief priests and Pharisees needed no elaborate explanation;
they would probably in any case have applied the parable to them-
selves. But as a matter of fact Jesus made the application abundantly
plain. "The kingdom of God," he said, "shall be taken away from
you, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof."
Just as plainly directed against the wicked leaders of the people,
and against the rebellious nation itself, was the parable of the Marriage
of the King's Son. Matt. 22 : 1-14. Those who were bidden to the
feast refused to come in; but from the highways and hedges the king's
house was filled. So the covenant people, the Jews, had rejected the
divine invitation; but the despised Gentiles would be received.
Matthew 22:15-40, and Parallels
The rulers w^ould have liked to put Jesus to death at once; but they
still feared the people. So they adopted the underhand method of
trying to catch him in his speech. First came the Pharisees and the
88 TEACHING THE TEACHER
Herodians, the latter being the partisans of the Herodian dynasty,
with their adroit question about giving tribute to Csesar, Matt. 22 :
15-22, and parallels; then the Sadducees, the worldly aristocracy,
who did not believe in the resurrection, with their attempt to make
the doctrine of the resurrection ridiculous, vs. 23-33, and parallels;
then an individual Pharisee with his question about the greatest com-
mandment in the law. Vs. 24-40, and parallels. Jesus had a won-
derful, profound answer for them all. But only the last inquirer seems
to have been at all willing to learn. *'Thou art not far," Jesus said to
him, "from the kingdom of God." Mark 12 : 34.
Matthew 22:41-46, and Parallels
Then, after all the questions which had been put to him, our Lord
put one question in turn. "David himself," he said in effect, "calls
the Messiah Lord; how is the Messiah, then, David's son?" In this
way Jesus was presenting to the people a higher conception of Messiah-
ship than that which they had been accustomed to hold. The Messiah
was indeed David's Son, but he was not only David's Son. Matt.
22 : 41-46, and parallels.
Apparently on the same day, our Lord called attention to the poor
widow who was casting her mite into the collection box. A gift, he
said, is measured in the estimation of God not by its amount, but by
the sacrifice which it means to the giver. Mark 12 : 41-44, and parallel.
Matthew, Chapter 23
Finally, on the same memorable Tuesday, our Lord denounced
openly the formalism and hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees.
Matt., ch. 23. It was also perhaps on the same day that certain Greeks
desired to see Jesus, John 12 : 20, 21— a foretaste of that entrance of
Gentiles into the Church which was to come after the resurrection.
We are not told exactly how Jesus received the Greeks, but the im-
portance of the moment was marked by a voice from heaven which
came as a divine confirmation of Jesus' message.
Matthew, Chapters 24, 25
When Jesus, on the same day, had gone out of the Temple and had
ascended to the Mount of Olives, a hill which lay on the way to Bethany,
he taught his disciples about the coming destruction of the Temple
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 89
and also about the end of the world. Matt., ch. 24, and parallels.
The time of the end of the world, he said, is unknown to all except
God, and in expectation of it men should always be watchful. This
duty of watchfulness he illustrated by the parables of the Ten Virgins,
Matt. 25 : 1-13, and of the Talents. Vs. 14-30. Then our Lord drew
a great picture of the last awful judgment of God, when the wicked
shall be separated from the good. Vs. 31^6.
QUESTIONS ON LESSON XI
1. Where was the Mount of Olives? Describe the route between
Bethany and the Temple in Jerusalem.
2. Compare the two occasions when Jesus cleansed the Temple.
3. On what occasions during his ministry did Jesus speak about John
4. Give a full account of the questions which were put to Jesus on
the Tuesday of the last week, and of the answers of Jesus.
5. What were the "woes" which Jesus pronounced against the scribes
6. What did Jesus say after the Gentiles came to seek him?
Matthew 26:1-5, 14-16, and Parallels
On the Wednesday of the week before the crucifixion, the chief priests
and elders of the Jews took counsel how they might put Jesus to death.
The difficulty was that if they arrested so popular a teacher in the
midst of the crowds who had come to Jerusalem for the approaching
feast of the passover, there would be a tumult. At first, therefore, the
enemies of Jesus thought that they might have to wait until the
passover was over. But they were helped out of their difficulty by
one of Jesus' own friends. Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve apostles,
proved to be a traitor. He received a promise of thirty pieces of silver,
and watched for a time when Jesus would be away from the crowds
so that he could be delivered quietly into the hands of his enemies
Matt. 26 : 1-5, 14-16, and parallels.
90 TEACHING THE TEACHER
Matthew 26: 17-19, and Parallels
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Jesus arranged for the celebration of the
passover in company with the apostles. The passover feast com-
memorated the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, especially the pass-
ing over of Israel's first-born when the first-born sons of the Egyptians
were slain. The feast was opened on the evening of Nisan 14, Nisan
being a spring month, and the first month of the Jewish year. Accord-
ing to Jewish reckoning, the evening of Nisan 14 constituted the begin-
ning of Nisan 15. Starting from that time, the feast continued for
seven days, no unleavened bread being used within that period. The
first and most solemn act of the whole feast was the eating of the
paschal lamb on the evening of Nisan 14.
This passover supper was celebrated by Jesus and the apostles on
Thursday evening, Nisan 14. And the feast was to be continued into
the Christian era. The symbols were changed; bread and wine were
to be used instead of the paschal lamb. But the fundamental meaning
of the feast remained the same; both the passover and the Lord's
Supper had reference to the atoning death of Christ. The paschal
lamb prefigured the Lamb of God who was to die for the sins of the
world; the bread and wine also symbolized the body of Christ broken
for us and the blood of Christ poured out for the remission of our sins.
Thus what the passover symbolized by way of prophecy is symbolized
in the Lord's Supper by way of commemoration. And on that last
evening our Lord changed the symbols in order to suit the new dis-
pensation when, since the Lamb of God had once been offered up,
other sacrifices should be no more.
Matthew 26:20-35, and Parallels
Jesus gathered with his apostles for the feast in an upper room.
Matt. 26 : 20, and parallels. Then, lamentably enough, there was a
strife among the apostles as to who should be the greatest. Luke
22 : 24-30. As a rebuke of all such inordinate ambitions our Lord
gave an example of humility by washing the feet of his disciples. John
13 : 1-20. The traitor, Judas Iscariot, then left the apostolic company,
John 13 : 21-35, and parallels, and the Lord's Supper was instituted.
I Cor. 11 : 23-25; Matt. 26 : 26-29, and parallels. Then the denial
of Peter was foretold; before the cock should crow twice Peter would
deny his Lord three times.
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 91
John, Chapters 14 to 17
Then followed some of the most precious teaching of Jesus — teach-
ing which is preserved only in the Gospel According to John. Chs.
14 to 17. Our Lord spoke of the mission which he had come into the
world to fulfill and of the mission which his apostles were to fulfill
through the power of the Holy Spirit. The meaning of Jesus' redeeming
work could not fully be explained until it had been accomplished.
And it was to be explained by the Holy Spirit speaking through the
Matthew 26:36-46, and Parallels
After they had sung a hymn, our Lord went out with the eleven
apostles to the Garden of Gethsemane, outside of Jerusalem, on the
slopes of the Mount of Olives. Matt. 26 : 36-46, and parallels.
There he sought strength in prayer for the approaching hour when
he was to bear the penalty of our sins. The disciples were no help to
him in his agony; Peter and James and John slept while he prayed.
But God the Father heard his prayer.
Matthew 26:47 to 27:1
Soon the traitor came with the Temple guard, and Jesus was arrested,
Matt. 26 : 47-56, and parallels. On the same evening there was an
informal hearing of the Prisoner in the house of Annas, the father-in-
law of Caiaphas, the high priest. Matt. 26 : 57, 58, 69-75, and paral-
lels. Meanwhile Peter and "another disciple," who was no doubt
John the son of Zebedee, the writer of the Fourth Gospel, had entered
into the house. There Peter denied his Lord.
The next morning there was a more formal meeting of the sanhedrin,
the highest court of the Jews. Luke 22 : 66-71, and parallels. This
meeting was intended to confirm the results of the informal hearing
in the house of Annas. But both meetings were little more than a
form. The court had really decided the question beforehand; it had
determined to bring Jesus by any means, lawful or otherwise, to his
death. When faced by his enemies, our Lord declared plainly that
he was the Messiah, the Son of God. That answer was enough to
satisfy the accusers. Jesus was judged guilty of blasphemy.
Matthew 27:2-56, and Parallels
But the sanhedrin did not possess the power of life and death. Before
Jesus could be executed, therefore, the findings of the sanhedrin had
92 TEACHING THE TEACHER
to be confirmed by Pilate, the Roman procurator. And at first Pilate
was recalcitrant to the Jews' demands; he was not able to find in Jesus
any cause of death. John 18 : 28-38, and parallels. In his perplexity,
Pilate sent the prisoner to be examined by Herod Antipas, the tetrarch
of Galilee, who was at the time in Jerusalem. Luke 23 : 6-12. But
this hearing also was without decisive result.
At last Pilate yielded, against his better judgment, to the importunity
of the Jewish leaders and the mad shouts of the crowds, who had turned
now against the One whom formerly they had honored. Matt. 27 :
15-30, and parallels. Pilate delivered Jesus up to the will of the Jews.
Before the execution, however, the Prisoner was cruelly scourged
and mocked by the Roman soldiers. Then when a last effort of Pilate
had failed to placate the wrath of Jesus' enemies, John 19 : 4-16, our
Lord was finally taken out of the city to be crucified. Luke 23 : 26-33,
The Prisoner at first was compelled to bear the cross on which he
was to be put to death, but when his strength gave way a certain Simon
of Gyrene was pressed into service. A crowd of people from Jerusalem
followed the Prisoner, and especially a number of women who lamented.
At last the place of execution was reached. It was called "Golgotha,"
or according to the Latin translation of the name, "Calvary." There
they crucified our Lord. Matt. 27 : 33-56, and parallels.
With him were crucified two thieves, of whom one repented at the
last hour, and received salvation. A number of sayings which Jesus
uttered on the cross are recorded in the Gospels. At the moment of
death, he cried, "It is finished." John 19 : 30. The meaning of that
saying is plain. The work for which our Lord came into the world
at last was done. The Lord of glory had died to wash away the sins
of all believers. The just penalty of sin had been borne by the One
who knew no sin.
QUESTIONS ON LESSON XII
1. Summarize the teaching of Jesus on the last evening before the
2. What happened in Gethsemane?
3. Describe the trial of Jesus before the sanhedrin and before Pilate.
4. Why did the Jewish leaders put Jesus to death? Why did Jesus
consent to die?
5. Give an account of the crucifixion of our Lord.
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 93
The death of Christ was the greatest event that history has ever
seen. By that event the grace of God triumphed over sin, and a lost
world was redeemed. Apart from Christ we all deserve eternal death.
But the Lord of glory, on Calvary, bore the guilt which belonged to
us, and made us children of God.
So great an event was accomplished without flare of heavenly
trumpets or blazing of heavenly light. To many, the death of Christ
seemed to be merely the execution of a criminal. But there were not
wanting some strange phenomena which marked the greatness of the
event. From twelve o'clock on the day of the crucifixion there was
darkness until three o'clock, when Jesus died. Then the veil of the
Temple was rent, there was an earthquake, and graves were opened.
Thus was nature made to recognize the suffering and the triumph of
After Jesus had died, his side was pierced by one of the soldiers
whom Pilate had sent at the instance of the Jews in order that those
who had been crucified should be killed and their bodies removed
before the Sabbath. From the body of Jesus there came out blood
and water. The event was witnessed by John the son of Zebedee,
the writer of the Fourth Gospel. John 19 : 31-42.
Then, in the late afternoon of the same day Joseph of Arimathea,
a secret disciple of Jesus, removed our Lord's body from the cross
and placed it in a new tomb. Mark 15 : 42-46, and parallels. Another
secret disciple, or half -disciple, Nicodemus, came also to anoint the body.
John 19 : 39. Certain women also came to see where Jesus was laid.
Luke 23 : 55, 56, and parallels. The chief priests and Pharisees, on
the other hand, obtained a guard from Pilate, to watch the tomb,
lest the disciples of Jesus should steal the body of Jesus away and
say that he had risen from the dead. Matt. 27 : 62-66.
Matthew 28:2-4, 11-15
The next day was Saturday, the Old Testament Sabbath. The
friends of Jesus rested on that day. But very early on Sunday morn-
ing, the women started to the tomb bearing spices in order to anoint
94 TEACHING THE TEACHEB
the body. But before they arrived, our Lord had already risen
from the dead. There had been an earthquake, an angel had rolled
away the stone from the sepulcher, and our Lord himseK had risen.
At the sight of the angel, the soldiers of the guard, in their fear, "be-
came as dead men." Matt. 28 : 2-4. All that they could do was to
report the event to the chief priests who had sent them. Vs. 11-15.
Matthew 28: 1, and Parallels ; John 20:2;
Matthew 28:5-10, and Parallels
Then the women arrived at the tomb, and found it empty. Matt.
28 : 1, and parallels. One of them, Mary Magdalene, went back to
tell Peter and John. John 20 : 2. The others remained at the tomb,
and there saw two angels who announced to them that Jesus was
risen from the dead. On their way back to the city Jesus himself
met them, and they fell down, grasped his feet, and worshiped him.
Matt. 28 : 5-10, and parallels.
Meanwhile, at the message of Mary Magdalene, Peter and John
ran to the tomb, found it empty, and believed that Jesus really was
risen. John 20 : 3-10. But Mary Magdalene, after they had gone,
stood weeping at the tomb; she supposed that some one had taken
the body of her Lord away. Then Jesus himself came to her, her
sorrow was changed into joy, and she joined her voice to that of the
other women who told the disciples of the glad event. Vs. 11-18.
I Corinthians 15:5;Luke 24: 13-49; John 20:19-23
Thus far, Jesus himself had been seen only by the women. But
now he appeared to Peter, I Cor. 15 : 5; Luke 24 : 34, and to two
of the disciples who were walking to the village of Emmaus. At first
the two disciples did not know him; but they recognized him at Emmaus
when he broke the bread. Then, on the evening of the same Sunday,
he appeared to the apostles in Jerusalem. I Cor. 15 : 5; Luke 24 :
36-49; John 20 : 19-23. All doubts were removed when he showed
them the wounds in his hands and his side, and partook of food in
their presence. Then he interpreted the Scriptures to them, as he
had done to the two disciples on the walk to Emmaus, showing them
that it was necessary that the Messiah should suffer. Finally he
breathed upon them, and said, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit."
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 95
Thomas, one of the apostles, who had been absent from this meet-
ing with the risen Lord, refused to beheve at the mere word of the
others. But Jesus dealt very graciously with the doubting disciple.
Again, one week later, he came to the apostles, the doors of the room
being shut, and presented to Thomas his hands and his side. All
doubts now melted away in the joy of meeting with the risen Lord.
Thomas answered and said unto him, "My Lord and my God." John
20 : 24-29.
John 21:1-24; I Corinthians 15:6; Matthew 28:16-20
The apostles then went back to Galilee in accordance with Jesus'
command, and in Galilee also Jesus appeared to them. First he
appeared to seven of the disciples on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
Among the seven was John the son of Zebedee, who has given an
account of the event in his Gospel. John 21 : 1-24. Then there was
a great appearance of Jesus on a mountain. At that time, apparently,
not only the eleven apostles were present, but also five hundred other
disciples. I Cor. 15 : 6; Matt. 28 : 16-20. On the mountain Jesus
instituted the sacrament of baptism, and gave his disciples the Great
Commission to make disciples of all nations. The execution of that
commission has sometimes been attended with discouragements. But
the risen Lord promised always to be with his Church.
I Corinthians 15: 7; Acts 1: 1-11
After the appearances in Galilee, the apostles returned to Jerusalem.
It was no doubt in Jerusalem that Jesus appeared to James, his own
brother, I Cor. 1.5 : 7, who during the earthly ministry had not believed
on him. Other appearances also occurred there. At one or more of
these appearances Jesus commanded the apostles to wait in Jerusalem
until the Holy Spirit should come upon them. Then, said Jesus, they
were to be witnesses of him "both in Jerusalem, and in all Juda?a and
Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." Acts 1 : 8.
Finally, forty days after the resurrection, Jesus led his disciples out
to the Mount of Olives, on the way to Bethany, and there he was
taken from them in a cloud into heaven. The disciples were saddened
and bewildered by the departure of their Lord. But their sadness
was soon turned into joy. "Two men stood by them in white apparel;
who also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye looking into heaven?
96 TEACHING THE TEACHER
this Jesus, who was received up from you into heaven, shall so come
in like manner as ye beheld him going into heaven." Acts 1 : 10, 11.
The disciples went then into the city, where they were constantly in
the Temple, praising God.
QUESTIONS ON LESSON XIII
1. Describe the burial of Jesus. How long did his body rest in the
2. Enumerate the persons who saw the empty tomb.
3. Enumerate, so far as the facts are known, the persons who saw
Jesus after the resurrection.
4. In what books of the New Testament are the facts about the resur-
5. What is the importance of the resurrection of Jesus for our Christian
6. Describe the change which the resurrection produced in the early
disciples of Jesus.
The Beginnings of the Christian Church
The Christian Church is founded on the fact of the resurrection
of Jesus; if that fact had not occurred there would be no Church to-day.
The disciples of Jesus of Nazareth were evidently far inferior to him
in spiritual discernment and in courage. Evidently they could not
hope to succeed if he had failed. And with his death what little
strength they may have had before was utterly destroyed. In the
hour of his trial they had deserted him in cowardly flight. And when
he was taken from them by a shameful death, they were in despair.
Never did a movement seem to be more hopelessly dead.
But then the surprising thing occurred. Those same weak, dis-
couraged men began, in a few days, in Jerusalem, the very scene of
their disgrace, a spiritual movement the like of which the world has
never seen. What produced the wonderful change? What was it
that transformed those weak, discouraged men into the spiritual
conquerors of the world?
The answer of those men themselves was plain. Their despair,
they said, gave way to triumphant joy because the Lord Jesus had
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 97
risen from the dead, and because they were convinced of his resur-
rection by the empty tomb and by the appearances of Jesus himself.
No other real explanation has yet been discovered to account for the
sudden transformation of the despair of the disciples into triumphant
joy. The very existence of the Christian Church itself, therefore,
is the strongest testimony to the resurrection; for without the resur-
rection the Church could never have come into being.
After the ascension of Jesus, which was studied in the last lesson,
the apostles returned to Jerusalem, and obeyed the command of Jesus
by waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit. But the period of wait-
ing was not a period of idleness; it was spent, on the contrary, in prais-
ing God and in prayer. One definite action was taken — the place of
Judas, the traitor, who had killed himself in his remorse, was filled
by the choice of Matthias. Acts 1 : 15-26. At that time, certain
women and a number of other disciples were gathered together with
the apostles, making a total of about one hundred and twenty persons.
It was upon that little company of prajang disciples, or rather upon
the promise of Jesus which had been made to them, that the hope of
the world was based.
Acts, Chapter 2
At last, at the feast of Pentecost, fifty days after the passover, the
promise of Jesus was fulfilled; the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples
to fit them for the evangelization of the world. Acts 2 : 1-13. They
were all together in one place; there was a sound as of a rushing, mighty
wind; cloven tongues, like tongues of fire, sat upon each one of them;
they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other
languages as the Spirit gave them utterance. When the crowd came
together to see the wonderful thing that had happened, Peter preached
the first sermon of the Christian Church. Vs. 14-36. At the preach-
ing of Peter three thousand persons were converted; the campaign
of world conquest had begun. Vs. 37-42.
The campaign from the beginning was a campaign of witnessing,
in accordance with Jesus' command. Acts 1 : 8. The Christian
Church was to conquer the world, not by exhorting men to live a cer-
tain kind of Hfe, but by bringing them a piece of news. The Son of
God, said the Christian missionaries, died on the cross and then rose
again. That was the good news that conquered the world. Christianity
98 TEACHING THE TEACHER
from the beginning was a way of life, but it was a way of life founded
upon a piece of news, a way of life founded upon historical facts. The
meaning of the facts was not revealed all at once, but it was revealed
in part from the very beginning, and throughout the Apostolic Age
the revelation came in greater and greater fullness, especially through
the instrumentality of Paul.
The life of the Early Church in Jerusalem was in some respects like
that of the Jews. The disciples continued to observe the Jewish fasts
and feasts and were constantly in the Temple. But a new joy animated
the company of believers. Their Lord was indeed taken from them
for a time, and they did not know when he would return, but mean-
while he was present with them through his Spirit, and already he
had saved them from their sins.
Even in external observances the believers were distinguished from
the rest of the Jews. Entrance into their company was marked by
the sacrament of baptism, which signified the washing away of sin;
and their continued fellowship with one another and with the risen
Lord found expression in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, which
commemorated the atoning death of Jesus. There were also common
meals. And those who had property devoted it, in a purely voluntary
way, to the needs of their poorer brethren. The disciples attended
diligently, moreover, to the teaching of the apostles, and engaged
constantly in prayer.
Acts, Chapter 3
The preaching of the apostles in Jerusalem was authenticated by
miracles. One notable miracle is narrated in detail in the book of
The Acts. Ch. 3. As Peter and John were going up into the Temple
at the hour of prayer, they healed a lame beggar, who was in the habit
of sitting at the gate. The miracle was the means of bringing to the
people something better than bodily healing; for when the crowd
came together in wonder at the healing of the lame man, Peter pro-
claimed to them the good news of the salvation which Jesus had
Acts, Chapter 4
The Sadducees, the ruling class, being incensed at such a proclama-
tion, laid hands upon the two apostles, and brought them before the
sanhedrin. Acts 4 : 1-22. But even when Peter boldly announced
to them that the name of that Jesus whom they had put to death
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 99
was the only name which could bring salvation to men, they w(U'e
unable to do more than warn the recalcitrant preachers. A notable
miracle had been wrought, and they could not deny it. When Peter
and John came again to the company of believers, all the company
united in a glorious prayer of praise. The answer to the prayer was
plainly given. "The place was shaken wherein they were gathered
together; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spake
the word of God with boldness."
QUESTIONS ON LESSON XIV
1. Show how the Christian Church is founded upon the fact of the
2. Describe the choice of Matthias.
3. Who were gathered together in the "upper room" in Jerusalem?
4. Describe the coming of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.
5. Was the speaking with other tongues on the Day of Pentecost
the same as the gift of tongues described in the First Epistle
to the Corinthians? If not, what was the difference?
6. Why were the Sadducees opposed to the preaching of Peter and
The First Persecution
Acts 5: 1-11
The life of the early Jerusalem church was full of a holy joy. But
even in those first glorious days the Church had to battle against
sin, and not all of those who desired to join themselves to the disciples
were of true Christian life. One terrible judgment of God was inflicted
in order to preserve the purity of the Church. Acts 5 : 1-11.
A certain Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, had sold a possession,
in accordance with the custom of those early days, and had laid part
of the price at the apostles' feet that it might be distributed to the
poorer disciples. Part of the price was withheld, and yet Ananias
and his wife pretended to have given all. Ananias was not required
to sell his field, or to give all of the price after he had sold it. His
sin was the sin of deceit. He had lied to the Holy Spirit. Terrible
was the judgment of God; Ananias and Sapphira were stricken down
dead, and great fear came upon all who heard.
100 TEACHING THE TEACHER
The apostles and the Church enjoyed the favor of the people —
a favor which was mingled with awe. Many miracles were wrought
by the apostles; multitudes of sick people were jbrought to be healed.
But the Sadducees made another attempt to put a stop to the danger-
ous movement. Acts 5 : 17-42. They laid hands upon all the apostles,
as they had laid hands upon two of them once before, and put them
all in prison. But in the night the apostles were released by an angel
of the Lord, and at once, in obedience to the angel's command, went
and taught boldly in the Temple. When they were arrested again,
Peter said simply, "We must obey God rather than men. The Jesus
whom you slew has been raised up by God as a Prince and a Saviour,
and we are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit." Vs.
29-32, in substance. It was a bold answer, and the sanhedrin was
incensed. But Gamaliel, a Pharisee, one of the most noted of the
Jewish teachers, advocated a policy of watchful waiting. If the new
movement were of God, he said, there was no use in fighting against
it; if it were of men it would fail of itself as other Messianic move-
ments had failed. The cautious policy prevailed, so far as any attempt
at inflicting the death penalty was concerned. But the apostles before
they were released were scourged. The suffering and shame did not
prevent their preaching. They rejoiced that they were counted worthy
to suffer dishonor for the name of Jesus.
« Acts 6: 1-6
The early Jerusalem church was composed partly of Aramaic-
speaking Jews who had always lived in Palestine, and partly of Greek-
speaking Jews who were connected with the Judaism of the Dispersion.
The latter class murmured because their widows were neglected in
the daily ministrations. In order that the matter might be attended
to without turning the apostles aside from their work of teaching
and preaching, seven men were chosen to preside over the distribution
of help to the needy members of the church. Acts 6 : 1-6. But these
seven were no mere "business men." They were "full of the Spirit
and of wisdom," and at least two of them became prominent in the
preaching of the gospel.
Acts 6:7 to 8:3
One of these two was Stephen, a "man full of faith and of the Holy
Spirit." Stephen "wrought great wonders and signs among the people,"
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 101
and also preached in the synagogues which were attended by certain
of the Greek-speaking Jews residing at Jerusalem. By his preaching
he stirred up opposition. And the opposition was of a new kind. Up
to that time the objection to the Early Church had come, principally
at least, from the Sadducees. But the Sadducees were a worldly
aristocracy, out of touch with the masses of the people, and in
their efforts against the Church they had been checked again and
again by the popular favor which the disciples of Jesus enjoyed.
Now, however, that popular favor began to wane. It became
evident that although the disciples continued to observe the Jewish
fasts and. feasts, their preaching really meant the beginning of
a new era. The people were not ready for such a change, and
especially the leaders of the people, the Pharisees, who, since the
crucifixion of Jesus, had shown no persecuting zeal, came out in
The result was at once evident. Stephen was arrested, and was
charged with revolutionary teaching about the Temple. The charge
was false; Stephen did not say that the Temple worship should then
and there be abandoned by the disciples of Jesus. But he did pro-
claim the beginning of a new era, and the presence, in the person of
Jesus, of one greater than Moses. So, after a great and bold speech
of Stephen, he was hurried out of the city and stoned. As Stephen
was stoned, he called on Jesus, saying, ''Lord Jesus, receive
my spirit," and then kneeling down he prayed for forgiveness
of his enemies: ''Lord, lay not this sin to their charge." Acts
6 : 8 to 8 : 3
Thus died the first Christian martyr. The Greek word ''martyr"
means "witness." Others had witnessed to the saving work of Christ
by their words; Stephen now witnessed also by his death.
When Stephen was stoned, the witnesses had laid ''their garments
at the feet of a young man named Saul." Saul was to become the
greatest preacher of the faith which then he laid waste. But mean-
while he was a leader in a great persecution.
The persecution scattered the disciples far and wide from Jerusalem,
though the apostles remained. But this scattering resulted only in
the wider spread of the gospel. Every\vhere they went the perse-
cuted disciples proclaimed the faith for which they suffered. Thus
the very rage of the enemies was an instrument in God's hand for
bringing the good news of salvation to the wide world.
102 TEACHING THE TEACHER
Among those who were scattered abroad by the persecution was
PhiHp, one of the seven men who had been appointed to care for the
ministration to the poor. This PhiUp, who is called "the evangelist,"
to distinguish him from the apostle of the same name, went to Samaria,
and preached to the Samaritans. It was a step on the way toward
a Gentile mission, but the Samaritans themselves were not Gentiles
but half-Jews. When the apostles at Jerusalem heard of the work of
Philip, they sent Peter and John from among their own number, and
through Peter and John the Samaritans received special manifesta-
tions of the Holy Spirit. Acts 8 : 4-25. Then Philip went to a desert
road leading from Jerusalem to Gaza. There he preached the gospel
to an Ethiopian treasurer, who despite his employment in a foreign
country may have been of Jewish descent. Vs. 26-40. Yet the preach-
ing to him was another preparation for the spread of the gospel out
into the Gentile world.
QUESTIONS ON LESSON XV
1. What was the sin of Ananias and Sapphira? Was the relief of the
needy in the early Jerusalem church what is now called com-
munism or socialism? If not, why not?
2. What was the fundamental difference between the two first im-
prisonments of apostles in Jerusalem, and the persecution which
began with the martyrdom of Stephen? Why was the latter
3. Outline the speech of Stephen.
4. Describe the progress of the gospel in Samaria.
The Conversion of Paul
The work of the Early Church was at first carried on only among
the Jews. The Lord Jesus, it is true, had commanded the apostles
to make disciples of all the nations, but he had not made it perfectly
plain when the Gentile work should begin, or on what terms the
Gentiles should l)e received. Conceivably, therefore, the early dis-
ciples might have thought it might be the will of God that all Israel
should first be evangelized before the gospel should be brought to the
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 103
other nations; and conceivably also the men of the other nations,
when they finally should receive the gospel, might be required to
unite themselves with the people of Israel and keep the Mosaic Law.
The guidance of the Holy Spirit was required, therefore, before the
gospel should be offered freely to Gentiles without requiring them to
But that guidance, in God's good time, was plainly and gloriously
One of the most important steps in the preparation for the Gentile
mission was the calling of a leader. And the leader whom God called
was one upon whom human choice never would have rested; for the
chosen leader was none other than Saul, the bitterest enemy of the
Saul, whose Roman name was Paul, was born at Tarsus, a center
of Greek culture, and the chief city of Cilicia, the coast countr}^ in
the southeastern part of Asia Minor, near the northeastern corner of
the Mediterranean Sea. In Tarsus the family of Paul belonged by
no means to the humblest of the population, for Paul's father and
then Paul himself possessed Roman citizenship, which in the provinces
of the empire was a highly prized privilege possessed only by a few.
Thus by birth in a Greek university city and by possession of Roman
citizenship Paul was connected with the life of the Gentile world.
Such connection was not without importance for his future service
as apostle to the Gentiles.
Far more important, however, was the Jewish element in his prep-
aration. Although Paul no doubt spoke Greek in childhood, he also
in childhood spoke Aramaic, the language of Palestine, and his family
regarded themselves as being in spirit Jews of Palestine rather than
of the Dispersion, Aramaic-speaking Jews rather than Greek-speaking
Jews, "Hebrews" rather than "Hellenists." Both in Tarsus and in
Jerusalem, moreover, Paul was brought up in the strictest sect of the
Pharisees. Thus despite his birth in a Gentile city, Paul was not a
"hberal Jew"; he was not inclined to break down the separation be-
tween Jews and Gentiles, or relax the strict requirements of the Mosaic
Law. On the contrary, his zeal for the Law went beyond that of
many of his contemporaries. The fact is, of enormous importance
for the understanding of Paul's gospel; for Paul's gospel of justifica-
tion by faith is based not upon a lax interpretation of the law of God,
but upon a strict interpretation. Only, according to that gospel,
104 TEACHING THE TEACHER
Christ has paid the penalty of the law once for all on the cross. Ac-
cording to Paul, it is because the full penalty of the law has been paid,
and not at all because the law is to be taken lightly, that the Christian
is free from the law.
Acts 9:1-19, and Parallels
Early in life Paul went to Jerusalem, to receive training under
Gamaliel, the famous Pharisaic teacher. And in Jerusalem, when he
had still not reached middle age, he engaged bitterly in persecution
of the Church. He was filled with horror at a blasphemous sect that
proclaimed a crucified malefactor to be the promised Eang of Israel,
and that tended, perhaps, to break down the permanent significance
of the law. It is a great mistake to suppose that before he was con-
verted Paul was gradually getting nearer to Christianity. On the
contrary, he was if anything getting further away, and it was while
he was on a mad persecuting expedition that his conversion finally
The conversion of Paul was different in one important respect from
the conversion of ordinary Christians. Ordinary Christians, like Paul,
are converted by the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Jesus. But in
the case of ordinary Christians human instruments are used — the
preaching of the gospel, or godly parents, or the like. In the case of
Paul, on the other hand, no such instrument was used, but the Lord
Jesus himself appeared to Paul and brought him the gospel. Paul him-
self says in one of his Epistles that he saw the Lord. I Cor. 9 : 1 ; 15 : 8.
It was that fact which made Paul, unlike ordinary Christians, but
like Peter and the other apostles, an actual eyewitness to the resur-
rection of Christ.
A wonderful thing, moreover, was the way in which Jesus appeared
to Paul. He might naturally have appeared to him in anger, to con-
demn him for the persecution of the Church. Instead he appeared in
love, to receive him into fellowship and to make him the greatest of
the apostles. That was grace — pure grace, pure undeserved favor.
It is always a matter of pure grace when a man is saved by the Lord
Jesus, but in the case of Paul, the persecutor, the grace was wonder-
fully plain. Paul never forgot that grace of Christ; he never hated
anything so much as the thought that a man can be saved by his own
good works, or his own character, or his own obedience to God's com-
mands. The gospel of Paul is a proclamation of the grace of God.
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 105
Paul saw the Lord on the road to Damascus, where he had been
intending to persecute the Church. Acts 9 : i-19, and parallels.
As he was nearing the city, suddenly at midday a bright light shone
around him above the brightness of the sun. Those who accompanied
him remained speechless, seeing the light but not distinguishing the
person, hearing a sound, but not distinguishing the words. Paul,
on the other hand, saw the Lord Jesus and listened to what Jesus said.
Then, at the command of Jesus, he went into Damascus. For three
days he was blind, then received his sight through the ministrations
of Ananias, an otherwise unknown disciple, and was baptized. Then
he proceeded to labor for the Lord by whom he had been saved.
Soon, however, he went away for a time into Arabia. Gal. 1 : 17.
It is not known how far the journey took him or how long it lasted,
except that it lasted less than three years. Nothing is said, in the
New Testament, moreover, about what Paul did in Arabia. But
even if he engaged in missionary preaching, he also meditated on the
great thing that God had done for him; and certainly he prayed.
QUESTIONS ON LESSON XVI
1. Where was Paul born? Find the place on a map. What sort of
city was it.
2. What is known about Paul's boyhood home, and about his educa-
tion? In what books of the New Testament is the information
3. Why did Paul persecute the Church?
4. Describe in detail what the book of The Acts says about the con-
version of Paul. Where does Paul mention the conversion in his
5. How did the conversion of Paul diflFer from the conversion of an
ordinary Christian? In what particulars was it like the conversion
of an ordinary Christian?
6. What did Paul do after the conversion?
The Gospel Given to the Gentiles
Saul of Tarsus was not only converted directly by the Lord Jesus;
he was also called just as directly by Jesus to be an apostle, and espe-
106 TEACHING THE TEACHER
cially an apostle to the Gentiles. But other instruments were also
used in the beginning of the Gentile mission. Even Peter, whose work
continued for a number of years afterwards to be chiefly among the
Jews, was led by the Holy Spirit to take a notable step in the offering
of the gospel freely to the whole world.
During the period of peace which followed after the persecution
at the time of the death of Stephen, Peter went down to labor in the
coastal plain of Palestine. Acts 9 : 31-43. At Lydda he healed a
lame man, iEneas; at Joppa, on the coast, he raised Dorcas from the
dead. And it was at Joppa that he received the guidance of the Holy
Spirit as to the reception of Gentiles into the Church. Ch. 10.
Acts, Chapter 10
At midday Peter went up upon the flat housetop to pray. There
he fell into a trance, and saw a vessel like a great sheet let down from
heaven, and in it all kinds of animals which it was forbidden in the
Mosaic Law to use for food. A voice came to him: ''Rise, Peter;
kill and eat. But Peter said. Not so. Lord; for I have never eaten
anything that is common and unclean. And a voice came unto him
again the second time, What God hath cleansed, make not thou com-
mon. And this was done thrice: and straightway the vessel was re-
ceived up into heaven."
The meaning of this vision was soon made plain. A Roman oflScer,
Cornelius, a devout Gentile, living at Caesarea, which was a seaport
about thirty miles north of Joppa, had been commanded in a vision
to send for Peter. The messengers of Cornelius arrived at Peter's
house just after Peter's vision was over. The Holy Spirit commanded
Peter to go with them. Arriving at Caesarea, the apostle went into
the house where Cornelius and his friends were assembled, and there
proclaimed to them the gospel of the Lord Jesus. While he was still
speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were present, upon
the Gentiles as well as upon the Jews. Then said Peter, "Can any
man forbid the water, that these should not be baptized, who have
received the Holy Spirit as well as we?" So the Gentiles were baptized.
A very important step had been taken. Cornelius, it is true, was a
"God-fearer" — that is, he belonged to the class of Gentiles frequently-
mentioned in the book of The Acts who worshiped the God of Israel
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 107
and were friendly to the Jews. Nevertheless, he was still outside the
covenant people, and under the old dispensation he could not be re-
ceived into covenant privileges until he united himself with the nation
by submitting himself to the whole Mosaic Law. Yet now such restric-
tions were removed by the plain guidance of the Spirit of God. Evi-
dently an entirely new dispensation had begun.
At Jerusalem Peter's strange action in receiving Gentiles into the
Church without requiring them to become Jews gave rise to some dis-
cussion. Acts 11 : 1-18. But the apostles had no difficulty in con-
vincing the brethren of the necessity for what he had done. The
guidance of the Holy Spirit had been perfectly plain. When the
brethren heard what Peter said, ''they held their peace, and glorified
God, saying, Then to the Gentiles also hath God granted repentance
The freedom of the Gentiles had not yet, however, fully been re-
vealed. For a time the case of Cornelius seems to have been regarded
as exceptional. The Holy Spirit had plainly commanded Peter to
receive Cornelius and his friends without requiring them to be united
to the people of Israel, but perhaps similar definite guidance was
required before others could be received. The underlying reason for
Gentile freedom, in other words, had not yet fully been revealed.
The revelation, however, was not long delayed; it came especially
through the Apostle Paul. But meanwhile Paul was being prepared
for his work.
Acts 9: 19-30, and Parallels
After the journey to Arabia, which was mentioned at the end of
Lesson XVI, Paul returned to Damascus, and preached to the Jews,
endeavoring to convince them that Jesus was really the Messiah.
His preaching aroused opposition, and the Jews, with the help of an
officer of King Aretas of Arabia, had tried to kill him. But the brethren
lowered him over the city wall in a basket, and so he escaped to Jerusa-
lem, Acts 9 : 23-25; II Cor. 11 : 31-33, where he desired to become
acquainted with Peter. No doubt he then talked with Peter especially
about the events of the earthly ministry of Jesus and the appearances
of the risen Christ. He also engaged in preaching to the Greek-speaking
Jews. But when these Greek-speaking Jews sought to kill him, the
brethren sent him away to Tarsus. He was unwilling to go, being
108 TEACHING THE TEACHER
desirous of repairing the harm which he had done to the church at
Jerusalem; but a definite command of the Lord Jesus sent him now
forth to the country of the Gentiles. Acts 9 : 26-30; 22 : 17-21; Gal.
1 : 18-24. He labored in or near Tarsus, preaching the faith which
formerly he had laid waste.
Meanwhile an important new step in the progress of the gospel
into the Gentile world was taken at Antioch. Acts 11 : 19-26. Antioch,
the capital of the Roman province of Syria, was situated on the Orontes
River, near the northeastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea. It
was the third greatest city of the empire, ranking immediately after
Rome and Alexandria. And among the great Gentile cities it was the
first which was encountered on the march of the gospel out from Jeru-
salem to the conquest of the world.
At Antioch, certain unnamed Jews of Cyprus and Gyrene, who had
been scattered from Jerusalem by the persecution at the time of
Stephen's death, took the important step of preaching the word of
God to the Gentiles. Before, they had spoken only to Jews; here
they spoke also to the Gentiles. Gentiles were received no longer mere-
ly in isolated cases like the case of Cornelius, but in large numbers. To
investigate what had happened, Barnabas, an honorable member of the
early Jerusalem church. Acts 4 : 36, 37, was sent from Jerusalem to
Antioch. Barnabas at once recognized the hand of God, and sent to
Tarsus to seek Paul. He and Paul then labored abundantly in the
Antioch church. At Antioch the disciples of Jesus were first called
"Christians" — no doubt by the Gentile population of the city. The
fact is not unimportant. It shows that even outsiders had come to see
that the Christian Church was something distinct from Judaism.
A distinct name had come to be required.
QUESTIONS ON LESSON XVII
1. Describe the conversion of Cornelius in detail. What was the im-
portance of the event?
2. What was the meaning of Peter's vision on the housetop at Joppa?
3. What important step was taken at Antioch?
4. Trace the part of Barnabas in furthering the work of Paul.
5. Show how every successive step in the offering of the gospel to the
Gentiles was taken under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 109
The First Missionary Journey and the Apostolic
Acts 11:27 to 12:25
After a time of rapid growth in the Antioch church, a prophet,
Agabus by name, came down from Jerusalem and prophesied a famine.
The disciples determined to send relief to their brethren in Jerusalem.
This they did by the instrumentality of Barnabas and Paul. Acts
11 : 27-30.
Meanwhile the Jerusalem church had been suffering renewed perse-
cution under Herod Agrippa I, who, as a vassal of Rome, ruled over
all Palestine from a.d. 41 to 44. James the son of Zebedee, one of
the apostles, had been put to death, and Peter had escaped only b}-^
a wonderful interposition of God, Acts, ch. 12.
Acts, Chapters 13, 14
After Barnabas and Paul had returned to Antioch from their labor
of love in Jerusalem, they were sent out, under the guidance of the
Holy Spirit, upon a mission to the Gentiles, which is called the first
missionary journey. Acts, chs. 13, 14. This missionary journey led
first through the island of Cyprus, then, by way of Perga in Pamphylia
to Pisidian Antioch on the central plateau of Asia Minor.
At Pisidian Antioch, as regularly in the cities that he visited, Paul
entered first into the synagogue. In accordance with the liberal Jewish
custom of that day, he was given opportunity to speak, as a visiting
teacher. The congregation was composed not only of Jews but also
of Gentiles who had become interested in the God of Israel and in the
lofty moralitj'' of the Old Testament without definitely uniting them-
selves with the people of Israel — the class of persons who are called
in the book of The Acts "they that feared God" or the like. These
"God-fearers" constituted a picked audience; they were just the Gentiles
who were most apt to be won by the new preaching, because in their
case much of the preliminary instruction had been given. But the
Jews themselves, at Pisidian Antioch as well as elsewhere, were jealous
of the new mission to the Gentiles, which was proving so much more
successful than their own. Paul and Barnabas, therefore, were obliged
to give up the work in the synagogue and address themselves directly
110 TEACHING THE TEACHER
to the Gentile population. So it happened very frequently in the
cities that Paul visited — at first he preached to both Jews and Gentiles
in the synagogues, and then when the Jews drove him out he was
obliged to preach to the Gentiles only.
Being driven out of Pisidian Antioch by a persecution instigated
by the Jews, Paul and Barnabas went to Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe,
which, witli Pisidian Antioch, were in the southern part of the great
Roman province Galatia, but not in Galatia proper, which lay farther
to the north. Then, turning back from Derbe, the missionaries re-
visited Lystra, Iconium, and Pisidian Antioch, strengthening the
disciples and appointing elders; and then returned to the church
at Syrian Antioch from which the Holy Spirit had sent them forth.
The Epistle of James
During the progress of the Antioch church and of the mission which
had proceeded from it, the church at Jerusalem had not been idle.
At the head of it stood James, the brother of Jesus, who was not one
of the twelve apostles and apparently during the earthly ministry of
Jesus had not been a believer, but who had witnessed an appearance
of the risen Lord. James was apparently attached permanently to the
church at Jerusalem, while the Twelve engaged frequently in mis-
sionary work elsewhere. From this James there has been preserved
in the New Testament a letter. The Epistle of James, which is addressed
"to the twelve tribes which are of the Dispersion." This letter was
written at an early time, perhaps at about the time of the first mis-
sionary journey of Paul. In the letter, James lays stress upon the
high moral standard which ought to prevail in the Christian life, and
he has sometimes been regarded as an advocate of "works." But
this judgment should not be misunderstood. The "works" of which
James is speaking are not works which are to be put alongside of faith
as one of the means by which salvation is to be obtained; they are,
on the contrary, works which proceed from faith and show that faith
is true faith. James does not, therefore, deny the doctrine of justifi-
cation by faith alone. Only he insists that true faith always results
in good works. Paul meant exactly the same thing when he spoke of
"faith working through love." Gal. 5:6. Paul and James use some-
what different language, but they mean the same thing. Faith, accord-
ing to both of them, involves receiving the power of God, which then
results in a life of loving service.
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 111
Acts 15: 1-35; Galatians 2:1-10
The wonderful success of the first missionary journey of Paul and
Barnabas caused great joy to the Antioch church. But the joy was
soon marred by certain persons, commonly called "Judaizers," who
came down to Antioch from Jerusalem and said that unless the Gentile
converts kept, the Law of Moses they could not be saved. The demand
was directly contrary to the great principle of justification by faith
alone; for it made salvation depend partly upon human merit. The
entire life of the Church was in danger. But Paul, guided by a revela-
tion from God, determined to comply with the wishes of the brethren
at Antioch by going up to Jerusalem with Barnabas and certain others,
in order to confer with the leaders of the Jerusalem church. Paul did
not need any authorization from those leaders, for he had been com-
missioned directly by Christ; nor did he need to learn from them
anything about the principles of the gospel, for the gospel had come to
him through direct revelation. But he did desire to receive from the
Jerusalem leaders, to whom the Judaizers falsely appealed, some such
public pronouncement as would put the Judaizers clearly in the wrong
and so stop their ruination of the Church's work.
The conference resulted exactly as Paul desired. Acts 15 : 1-35;
Gal. 2 : 1-10. The Jerusalem leaders — James, the brother of the
Lord, Peter, and John the son of Zebedee — recognized that they had
absolutely nothing to add to the gospel of Paul, because he had been
commissioned by Christ as truly and as directly as the original Twelve.
Joyfully, therefore, they gave to Paul and Barnabas the right hand of
fellowship. God had worked for Paul among the Gentiles as truly as he
had worked for Peter among the Jews. With regard to the propaganda
of the Judaizers, the Jerusalem church, after speeches by James and
Peter presenting the same view as the view of Paul, sent a letter to
the Gentile Christians in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia declaring them
to be absolutely free from the Mosaic Law as a means of salvation, and
directing them to refrain, out of loving regard for the Jews in the
several cities, from certain things in the Gentile manner of life which
were most abhorrent to Jewish feeling.
Such was the result of the ''Apostolic Council," which took place
at about a.d. 49. It was a great victory for the Gentile mission and
for Paul, for it established clearly the unity of all the apostles under
the guidance of the Holy Spirit. No wonder the church at Antioch
rejoiced when the letter of the Jerusalem church was read.
112 TEACHING THE TEACHER
QUESTIONS ON LESSON XVIII
1. Describe in detail the release of Peter from prison in the closing
days of the reign of Herod Agrippa I.
2. Enumerate the visits of Paul to Jerusalem which have been studied
3. What happened, on the first missionary journey, at Paphos? at
Perga? at Pisidian Antioch? at Lystra?
4. Describe the Apostolic Council in detail. What was the meaning
of the letter which was sent out from the council?
The Second Missionary Journey
The Apostolic Council, which was studied in the last lesson, was
an important step in the progress of Christian liberty. By it the
Judaizers were definitely repudiated, and salvation was based upon
faith alone apart from the works of the law. But many practical diffi-
culties still remained to be solved.
Galatians 2: 11-21
One such difficulty appeared at Antioch soon after the council.
Gal. 2 : 11-21. The council had established the freedom of the Gentile
Christians from the Mosaic Law, but it had not been determined
that the Jewish Christians should give up the Law. No doubt the
Jewish Christians were inwardly free from the Law; they depended
for their salvation not at all upon their obedience to God's commands
as set forth in the Law of Moses, but simply and solely upon the sav-
ing work of Christ accepted by faith. But so far as had yet been
revealed, it might conceivably be the will of God that they should
still maintain their connection with Israel by observing the whole of
the Law including even its ceremonial requirements. In order, how-
ever, that the ceremonial requirements of the Law might be observed,
the Jews had always been accustomed to avoid table companionship
with Gentiles. What should be done, therefore, in churches like the
church at Antioch, which were composed both of Jewish Christians and
of Gentile Christians? How could the Jewish Christians in such churches
continue to observe the ceremonial law, and still hold table com-
panionship with their Gentile brethren?
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 113
This question faced the apostle Peter on a visit which he made to
Antioch after the Apostolic Council. At first he answered the ques-
tion in the interests of Gentile freedom; he allowed the unity of the
Church to take precedence over the devotion of Jewish Christians
to the ceremonial law. He held table companionship, therefore, with
the Gentile Christians, and he did so out of true conviction with regard
to the new Christian freedom. But when certain men came to Antioch
from James, Peter was afraid to be seen transgressing the ceremonial
law, and so began to withdraw himself from table companionship
with his Gentile brethren.
Peter's action, because of its inconsistency, endangered the very
life of the Church. Peter had given up the keeping of the ceremonial
law in order to hold table companionship with the Gentile Christians.
Then he had undertaken the keeping of the ceremonial law again.
Might not the Gentile Christians be tempted to do the same thing,
in order to preserve their fellowship with the greatest of the original
apostles? But if the Gentile Christians should begin to keep the
ceremonial law, they could not fail to think that the keeping of the cere-
monial law was somehow necessary to salvation. And so the funda-
mental principle of Christianity — the principle of salvation by Christ
alone apart from human merit — would be given up. The danger was
But God had raised up a man to fight the battle of the Church.
Absolutely regardless of personal considerations, devoted solely to
the truth, the Apostle Paul withstood Peter before the whole Church.
It is exceedingly important to observe that Paul did not differ from
Peter in principle; he differed from him only in practice. He said to
Peter in effect, ''You and I are quite agreed about the principle of
justification by faith alone; why, therefore, do you belie your principles
by your conduct?" In the very act of condemning the practice of
Peter, therefore, Paul commends his principles; about the principles
of the gospel the two chief apostles were fully agreed. Undoubtedly
Peter was convinced by what Paul said; there was no permanent dis-
agreement, even about matters of practice, between Peter and Paul.
Thus did the Spirit of God guide and protect the Church.
Acts 15:36 to 18:22
Soon afterward Paul went forth from Antioch on his "second mis-
sionary journey." Acts 15 : 36 to 18 : 22. Journeying with Silas
114 TEACHING THE TEACHER
by the land route to Derbe and to Lystra, where Timothy became his
associate, he then apparently went to Iconium and Pisidian Antioch
and then northward into Galatia proper, that is "Galatia" in the older
and narrower sense of the term. Finally he went down to Troas, a
seaport on the ^Egean Sea. At Troas he must have been joined by
Luke, the author of The Acts, since the narrative in Acts here begins
to be carried on by the use of the first person, ''we," instead of "they,"
thus showing that the author was present.
Setting sail from Troas, the apostolic company soon came to Philippi
in Macedonia, where an important church was founded. At last Paul
and Silas were imprisoned, and although they were released through
divine interposition and by the second thought of the city authorities,
they were requested by the authorities to leave the city.
Arriving at Thessalonica, Paul preached in the synagogue, and
founded an important church, chiefly composed of Gentiles. But
after a stay shorter than had been intended, persecution instigated
by the Jews drove Paul out of the city. He went then to Athens,
where he preached not merely in the synagogue but also directly to
the Gentile passers-by in the market place.
At Corinth, the capital of the Roman province Achaia, embracing
Greece proper, large numbers of converts were won, and Paul spent
about two years in the city. Not long after the beginning of this
Corinthian residence, he wrote the two Thessalonian Epistles.
The First and Second Epistles
to the Thessalonians
The First Epistle to the Thessalonians was written just after Paul
had received his first news from the Thessalonian church. He had
been obliged to leave Thessalonica before he had intended. Would
his work in that city be permanent? Would the converts remain
faithful to Christ? These were serious questions. The Thessalonian
converts were living in the midst of a corrupt paganism, and Paul
had not had time to instruct them fully in the things of Christ. Every
human probability was against the maintenance of their Christian
life. But at last Paul received his first news from Thessalonica. And
the news was good news. God was watching over his children; the
great wonder had been wrought; a true Christian church had been
founded at Thessalonica. The letter which Paul wrote at such a
time is very naturally a simple, warm expression of gratitude to God.
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 115
At the same time, in the letter, Paul (comforts the Thessalonians in
view of the death of certain of their number, gives instruction about
the second coming of Christ, and urges the converts to live a diligent
and orderly life.
The Second Epistle to the Thessalonians was written very soon
after the former Epistle. It reiterates the teaching of I Thessalonians,
with correction of a misunderstanding which had crept into the church
with regard to the second coming of Christ.
QUESTIONS ON LESSON XIX
1. What practical question arose at Antioch after the Apostolic
2. How did Paul show the agreement in principle between himself
3. What was the inconsistency of Peter's action? Did Paul neces-
sarily condemn Jewish Christians who continued to observe the
ceremonial law? What principle was at stake at Antioch? What
does Paul in his Epistles say about" Peter after this time? Was
there any permanent disagreement?
4. Why did Paul separate from Barnabas at the begimiing of the
second missionary journey? What does Paul say afterwards
about Barnabas? Was there any permanent disagreement be-
tween Paul and Barnabas or between Paul and Mark?
5. Describe what happened at Troas, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea,
6. What was the occasion for the writing of I Thessalonians? of II
The Third Missionary Journey. The Epistle to the
At Corinth, on the second missionary journey, the Jews made charges
before the Roman proconsul Gallio against Paul. But Gallic dis-
missed the charges as concerning only the Jewish Law. It was an
important decision. Judaism was tolerated in the Roman Empire,
and if Christianity was regarded as a variety of Judaism it would
be tolerated too. Such was usually the practice of the Roman authori-
116 TEACHING THE TEACHER
ties in the very early days; the Roman authorities often protected
the Christian missionaries against the Jews.
Finally leaving Corinth, Paul went by way of Ephesus, where he
made only a brief stay, to Palestine and then back to Syrian Antioch.
Acts 18:23 to 21:15
After having spent some time at Syrian Antioch, he started out
on his third missionary journey. Acts 18 : 23 to 21 : 15. First he
went through Asia Minor to Ephesus, apparently passing through
Galatia proper on his way. At Ephesus he spent about three years.
The Epistle to the Galatians
It was probably during this Ephesian residence that Paul wrote
the Epistle to the Galatians; and probably "the churches of Galatia"
to which the Epistle is addressed were churches in Galatia proper in
the northern part of the great Roman province Galatia. Another
view regards the Epistle as being addressed to the well-known churches
at Pisidian Antioch, Iconiuni, Lystra, and Derbe, which were in the
southern part of the Roman province. When this view is adopted,
the writing of the Epistle is usually put at a somewhat earher time in
the life of Paul.
The occasion for the writing of the Epistle to the Galatians can
easily be discovered on the basis of the letter itself. After Paul had
left Galatia, certain other teachers had come into the country. These
teachers were men of the Jewish race, and they are usually called
"Judaizers." What they taught can be established fairly well on the
basis of Paul's answer to them. They agreed with Paul in believing
that Jesus was truly the Messiah, and that he had risen from the
dead. Apparently they had no objection to Paul's doctrine of the
deity of Christ, and they agreed, apparently, that faith in Christ is
necessary to salvation. But they maintained that something else
is also necessary to salvation — namely, union with the nation of Israel
and the keeping of the Mosaic Law. The Judaizers, then, maintained
that a man is saved by faith and works; whereas Paul maintained that
a man is saved by faith alone.
The Galatian Christians had been impressed by what the Judaizers
had said. Already they had begun to observe some of the Jewish
fasts and feasts. And they were on the point of taking the decisive
step of uniting themselves definitely with the people of Israel and
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 117
undertaking the observance of the Mosaic Law. It was to keep them
from taking that decisive step that Paul wrote the Epistle.
At first sight the question at issue might seem to have little impor-
tance to-day. No one in the Church nowadays is. in danger of uniting
himself with Israel or undertaking to keep the ceremonial law. If
Paul had treated the question in Galatia in a merely practical way,
his letter would be of no value to us. But as a matter of fact Paul
did not treat the question in a merely practical way; he treated it as a
question of principle. He saw clearly that what was really endangered
by the propaganda of the Judaizers was the great principle of grace;
the true question was whether salvation is to be earned partly by
what man can do or whether it is an absolutely free gift of God.
That question is just as important in the modern Church as it was
in Galatia in the first century. There are many in the modern Church
who maintain that salvation is obtained by character, or by* men's
own obedience to the commands of Christ, or by men's own accept-
ance of Christ's ideal of life. These are the modern Judaizers. And
the Epistle to the Galatians is directed against them just as much
as it was directed against the Judaizers of long ago.
Paul refuted the Judaizers by establishing the meaning of the cross
of Christ. Salvation, he said, was obtained simply and solely by what
Christ did when he died for the sins of beUevers. The curse of God's
law, said Paul, rests justly upon all men, for all men have sinned.
That curse of the law brings the penaltj^ of death. But the Lord
Jesus, the eternal Son of God, took the penalty upon himself by dying
instead of us. We therefore go free.
Such is the gospel of Jesus Christ as preached by Paul, and as de-
fended in the Epistle to the Galatians. That gospel, Paul said, is
received by faith. Faith is not a meritorious act; it simply means
accepting what Christ has done. It cannot be mingled with an
appeal to human merit. Christ will do everything or nothing. Either
accept as a free gift what Christ has done, or else earn salvation by
perfect obedience. The latter alternative is impossible because of sin;
the former, therefore, alone can make a man right with God.
But acceptance of the saving work of Christ means more than salva-
tion from the guilt of sin; it means more than a fresh start in God's
favor. It means also salvation from the power of sin. All men,
according to Paul, are dead in sin. Salvation, then, can come only by a
new creation, as Paul calls it, or, as it is called elsewhere in the New
118 TEACHING THE TEACHER
Testament, a new birth. That new creation is wrought by the saving
work of Christ, and appHed by the Holy Spirit. And after the new crea-
tion has been wrought, there is a new hf e on the basis of it. In the new
hfe there is still a battle against sin. But the Christian has received
a new power, the power of the Holy Spirit. And when he yields him-
self to that new power, he fulfills in its deepest import the law of God.
Only he fulfills it not by obedience in his own strength to a law which
is outside of him, but by yielding to a power which God has placed in
his heart. This new fulfillment of the law on the part of Christians
is what Paul means when he speaks of "faith working through love";
for love involves the fulfillment of the whole law.
Such was the gospel of Paul as it is set forth in the Epistle to the
Galatians. Paul had received it from the Lord Jesus Christ. Without
it the Church is dead. It need not be put in long words, but it must
be proclaimed without the slightest concession to human pride, if the
Church is to be faithful to the Saviour who died. We deserved
eternal death; the Lord Jesus, because he loved us, died in our stead
— there is the heart and core of Christianity.
QUESTIONS ON LESSON XX
1. Describe Paul's first visit to Corinth.
2. Where did Paul go at the beginning of the third missionary journey?
3. What was the occasion for the writing of the Epistle to the Galatians?
4. What great principle is defended in the Epistle? What is the mean-
ing of the death of Christ? What is the meaning of "justification
5. Give an outline of the Epistle, showing the three great divisions.
6. Why does Paul give, in the first part of the Epistle, a review of
certain facts in his life?
The Third Missionary Journey. The Epistles to the
Corinthians and to the Romans
Another Epistle, in addition to the Epistle to the Galatians, was
written by Paul at Ephesus on the third missionary journey. This
was the First Epistle to the Corinthians.
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 119
The First Epistle to the Corinthians
In I Corinthians, the details of congregational life are more fully
discussed than in any other of the Epistles of Paul. Paul had received
information about the Corinthian church partly through what was
said by the ''household of Chloe," who had come to Ephesus from
Corinth, and partly by a letter which the Corinthian church had
written. The information was not all of a favorable character. In
Corinth, a Christian church was in deadly battle with paganism —
paganism in thought and paganism in life. But that battle was fought
to a victorious conclusion, through the guidance of an inspired apostle,
and through the Holy Spirit of God in the hearts of beHevers.
First Paul dealt in his letter with the parties in the Corinthian
church. The Corinthian Christians were in the habit of saying, "I
am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ," I
Cor. 1 : 12; they seem to have been more interested in the particular
form in which the gospel message was deUvered than in the message
itself. Paul treated the subject in a grand and lofty way. The party
spirit in Corinth was merely one manifestation of intellectual pride.
In reply, the apostle directed his readers to the true wisdom. And if
you would possess that wisdom, he said, give up your quarreling and
give up your pride.
Then there was gross sin to be dealt with, and a certain lordly in-
difference to moral purity. In reply, Paul pointed to the true moral
implications of the gospel, and to the law of love which sometimes,
as in Paul's own case, causes a Christian man to give up even privileges
which might be his by right.
In chs. 12 to 14 of the Epistle, Paul dealt with the supernatural
gifts of the Spirit, such as prophecy and speaking with tongues. These
gifts were not continued after the Apostolic Age. But it is important
for us to know about them, and the principles which Paul used in
deahng with them are of permanent validity. The greatest principle
was the principle of love. It is in connection with the question of gifts
of the Spirit that Paul wrote his wonderful hymn about Christian love.
Paganism of thought was creeping into the Corinthian church in
connection with the doctrine of the resurrection. Paul dealt with
this question by appealing to the plain historical evidence for the
resurrection of Christ. That fact itself had not been denied in Corinth.
It was supported by the testimony not only of Paul himself, but also
120 TEACHING THE TEACHER
of Peter, of the apostles, and of five hundred brethren most of whom
were still alive. Paul had received the account of the death, the burial,
the resurrection, and the appearances of Jesus from Jerusalem, and
no doubt from Peter during the fifteen days which the two apostles
had spent together three years after Paul's conversion. In I Cor.
15 : 1-7 Paul is reproducing the account which the primitive Jerusalem
church gave of its own foundation. And in that account Christianity
appears, not as an aspiration, not as mere devotion to an ideal of
life, not as inculcation of a certain kind of conduct, but as "a piece of
information" about something that had actually happened — namely,
the atoning death and glorious resurrection of Jesus our Lord.
The Second Epistle to the Corinthians
The First Epistle to the Corinthians did not end all difficulties
in the Corinthian church. On the contrary, after the writing of that
letter, certain miserable busybodies had sought to draw the Corinthian
Christians away from their allegiance to the apostle. A brief visit
which Paul had made to Corinth had not ended the trouble. At last
Paul had left Ephesus in great distress. He had passed through a
terrible personal danger, when he had despaired of life, but more trying
still was the thought of Corinth. Finding no relief from his troubles
he went to Troas and then across to Macedonia. There at length
relief came. Titus, Paul's helper, arrived with good news from Corinth;
the church had returned to its allegiance. To give expression to his
joy and thanksgiving, Paul wrote the Second Epistle to the Corin-
thians. In the Epistle he also dealt with the matter of the collection
for the poor at Jerusalem, and administered a last rebuke to the Corin-
thian trouble makers.
In I Corinthians it is the congregation that is in the forefront of
interest; in II Corinthians, on the other hand, it is the apostle and
his ministry. In this letter, the Apostle Paul lays bare before his readers
the very secrets of his heart, and reveals the glories of the ministry
which God had intrusted to him. That ministry was the min-
istry of reconciliation. God and men had been separated by the
great gulf of sin, which had brought men under God's wrath and
curse. Nothing that men could do could possibly bridge the gulf.
But what was impossible with men was possible with God. By the
redeeming work of Christ the gulf had been closed; all had been made
right again between God and those for whom Christ died.
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 121
The Epistle to the Romans
Arriving at Corinth Paul spent three months in that city. During
this time he wrote the Epistle to the Romans. Paul was intending
to visit the city of Rome. The church at Rome had not been founded
by him; it was important, therefore, that in order to prepare for his
coming he should set forth plainly to the Romans the gospel which
he proclaimed. That is what he does in the Epistle to the Romans.
In the Epistle to the Romans, the way of salvation through Christ is
set forth more fully than in any other book of the New Testament.
In Galatians it is set forth in a polemic way, when Paul was in the
midst of a deadly conflict against a religion of works; here it is set forth
more calmly and more fully.
In the first great division of the Epistle, Paul sets forth the universal
need of salvation. The need is due to sin. All have sinned, and are
under God's just wrath and curse. Rom. 1 : 18 to 3 : 20. But the
Lord Jesus Christ bore that curse for all believers, by dying for them
on the cross; he paid the just penalty of our sins, and clothed us with
his perfect righteousness. Ch. 3 : 21-31. This saving work of Christ,
and the faith by which it is accepted, were set forth in the Old Testa-
ment Scriptures. Ch. 4. The result of the salvation is peace with
God, and an assured hope that what God has begun through the gift
of Christ, he wiU bring to a final completion. Ch. 5 : 1-11. Thus,
as in Adam all died, by sharing in the guilt of Adam's sin, so in Christ
all believers are made alive. Vs. 12-21.
But, Paul goes on, the freedom which is wrought by Christ does
not mean freedom to sin; on the contrary it means freedom from the
power of sin; it means a new life which is led by the power of God.
Ch. 6. TMiat the law could not do, because the power of sin prevented
men from keeping its commands, that Christ has accomplished. Ch. 7.
Through Christ, believers have been made sons of God; there is
to them "no condemnation"; and nothing in this world or the next
shall separate them from the love of Christ. Ch. 8.
Toward the spread of this gospel, Paul goes on, the whole course
of history has been made to lead. The strange dealings of God both
with Jews and Gentiles are part, of one holy and mysterious plan.
Chs. 9 to 11.
In the last section of the Epistle, Paul shows how the glorious gospel
which he has set forth results in holy living from day to day. Chs.
12 to 16.
122 TEACHING THE TEACHER
QUESTIONS ON LESSON XXI
1. What was the occasion for the writing of I Corinthians? of II Corin-
thians? of Romans?
2. Give outlines of these three Epistles.
The First Imprisonment of Paul
After the three months which Paul spent at Corinth on the third
missionary journey, he went up to Jerusalem in order to help bear
the gifts which he had collected in the Gentile churches for the poor
of the Jerusalem church. He was accompanied by a number of helpers,
among them Luke, the writer of the Third Gospel and the book of
The Acts. Luke had remained behind at Philippi on the second mis-
sionary journey, and now, several years later, he joined the apostle
again. The portions of the journey where Luke was actually present
are narrated in The Acts in great detail and with remarkable vividness.
When Paul came to Miletus on the coast of Asia Minor, he sent to
Ephesus for the elders of the Ephesian church, and when they came
he held a notable farewell discourse. There was a touching scene
when he finally parted from those who loved him so weU,
Acts 21:15 to 28:31
Despite prophecies of the imprisonment that awaited him Paul
went bravely on to Jerusalem. There he was warmly received by
James the brother of the Lord and by the church. Acts 21 : 15-26.
But the non-Christian Jews falsely accused him of bringing Gentiles
with him into the Temple. Vs. 27-40. There was an onslaught against
him, and he was rescued by the Roman chief captain, who took him
into the Castle of Antonia which the Romans used to guard the Temple
area. On the steps of the castle he was allowed to address the people,
ch. 22 : 1-22, who listened to him at first because he used the Aramaic
language instead of Greek, but broke out against him again when he
spoke of his mission to the Gentiles.
An appeal to his Roman citizenship saved Paul from scourging,
Acts 22 : 23-29; and a hearing the next day before the sanhedrin,
ch. 22 : 30 to 23 : 10, brought only a quarrel between the Sadducees
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 123
and the Pharisees. That night Paul had a comforting vision of
Christ. V. 11.
A plot of the Jews to waylay Paul and kill him was frustrated by
Paul's sister's son, who told the chief captain. The chief captain sent
the prisoner with an escort down to Caesarea where the procurator
Felix had his residence. Acts 23 : 12-35. Hearings before Felix
brought no decisive result, ch. 24, and Paul was left in prison at Caesarea
for two years until Festus arrived as successor of Felix. Then, in
order to prevent being taken to Jerusalem for trial, Paul exercised
his right as a Roman citizen by appealing to the court of the emperor.
Ch. 25 : 1-12, Accordingly, after a hearing before Herod Agrippa II,
who had been made king of a realm northeast of Palestine by the
Romans, v. 13; ch. 26:32, Paul was sent as a prisoner to Rome,
chs. 27 : 1 to 28 : 16.
On the journey he was accompanied by Luke, who has given a
detailed account of the voyage — an account which is not only perhaps
the chief source of information about the seafaring of antiquity, but
also affords a wonderful picture of the way Paul acted in a time of
peril. The ship was wrecked on the island of Malta, and it was not
until the following spring that the prisoner was brought to Rome.
There he remained in prison for two years, chained to a soldier guard,
but permitted to dwell in his own hired house and to receive visits from
his friends. Acts 28 : 16-31.
During this first ,Roman imprisonment Paul wrote four of his
Epistles — to the Colossians and to Philemon, to the Ephesians, and
to the Philippians. Colossians, Philemon, and Ephesians were all
written at the same time. Colossians and Ephesians were both sent
by the same messenger, Tychicus, and this messenger was accom-
panied by Onesimus, who bore the Epistle to Philemon.
The Epistle to Philemon
Onesimus was a slave who had run away from Philemon, his master.
He had then been converted by Paul, and Paul was now sending him
back to his master. The little letter which the apostle wrote on this
occasion gives a wonderful picture of the way in which ordinary social
relationships like that of master and servant may be made the means
of expression for Christian love. Very beautiful also was the relation
between Philemon and the apostle through whom he had been con-
124 TEACHING THE TEACHER
The Epistle to the Colossians
The church at Colossae, to which the Epistle to the Colossians is
addressed, had been founded not by Paul but by one of his helpers,
Epaphras. A certain type of false teaching had been brought into
the church by those who laid stress upon angels in a way that was
harmful to the exclusive position of Christ. In reply, Paul sets forth
in the Epistle the majesty of Jesus, who existed from all eternity and
was the instrument of God the Father in the creation of the world.
This was no new teaching; it is always presupposed in the earlier
Epistles of Paul, and about it there was no debate. But in the Epistle
to the Colossians, in view of the error that was creeping in through false
speculation, Paul took occasion to set forth fully what in the former
letters he had presupposed.
The Epistle to the Ephesians
The Epistle to the Ephesians is probably a circular letter addressed
to a group of churches of which Ephesus was the center. In this letter
the personal element is less prominent than in the other Pauline Epistles;
Paul allows his mind to roam freely over the grand reaches of the divine
economy. The Church is here especially in view. She is represented
as the bride of Christ, and as the culmination of an eternal and gracious
plan of God.
The Epistle to the Philippians
The Epistle to the Philippians was probably written later than the
other Epistles of the first captivity. The immediate occasion for the
writing of the letter was the arrival of a gift from the Philippian
church, on account of which Paul desires to express his joy. Paul had
always stood in a peculiarly cordial relation to his Philippian converts;
he had been willing, therefore, to receive gifts from them, although
in other churches he had preferred to make himself independent by
laboring at his trade. But the letter is not concerned only or even
chiefly with the gifts of the Philippian church. Paul desired also to
inform his Philippian brethren about the situation at Rome. His
trial is approaching; whether it results in his death or in his release,
he is content. But as a matter of fact he expects to see the Philippians
Moreover, Paul holds up in the letter the example of Christ, which
was manifested in the great act of loving condescension by which he
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 125
came into the world and endured for our sakes the accursed death on
the cross. That humihation of Christ, Paul says, was followed by
exaltation; God has now given to Jesus the name that is above every
At the conclusion of the two years in prison in Rome, Paul was
released, probably in a.d. 63. This fact is attested not by the book
of The Acts, of which the narrative closes at the end of the two years
at Rome, but by the Pastoral Epistles of Paul and also by an Epistle
of Clement of Rome which was written at about a.d. 95. Clement
says that Paul went to Spain. This he probably did immediately
after his release. He then went to the East again, for it was in the
East that I Timothy and Titus were written.
QUESTIONS ON LESSON XXII
1. Outline the events in the life of Paul which occurred between the
departure from Corinth and the end of the first Roman imprison-
2. \Vhat was the occasion for the writing of Colossians? of Philemon?
of Ephesians? of Philippians?
3. Give outlines of these Epistles.
The Close of the Apostolic Age
The Pastoral Epistles
It was observed in the last lesson that Paul was released from his
first Roman imprisonment, and went then to Spain and then to the
East. At the time when I Timothy was written he has just left Timothy
behind at Ephesus when he himself has gone into Macedonia, and
now writes the letter with instructions for Timothy as to the way of
conducting the affairs of the church. Similarly, the Epistle to Titus
was written to guide Titus in his work on the island of Crete.
After this last period of activity in the East, Paul was imprisoned
again at Rome. During this second Roman imprisonment he wrote
II Timothy, to encourage Timothy and instruct him, and to give
to him and to the Church a farewell message just before his own death,
which he was expecting very soon.
126 TEACHING THE TEACHER
The two Epistles to Timothy and the Epistle to Titus, which are
called the Pastoral Epistles, are similar to one another in important
respects. They all lay stress upon soundness of teaching and upon
the organization of the Church. In the closing years of his life Paul
provided for the permanence of his work; the period of origination
was over and the period of conservation had begun. It was not God's
will that every Christian generation should have revealed to it anew
the whole of the gospel. What is true in one age is true in all ages.
It was a salutary thing, therefore, that the Pastoral Epistles provided
for the preservation of the faith which was once for all delivered unto
Soon after the writing of II Timothy, Paul was beheaded at Rome.
This event, which is attested in altogether credible Christian tradition
outside of the New Testament, took place within the reign of the
Emperor Nero — that is, before a.d. 68. At the time of the great fire
at Rome in a.d. 64 Nero had persecuted the Christians, as is narrated
by Tacitus, the Roman historian. But at that time Paul probably
escaped by being out of the city; his execution probably did not occur
until several years later.
At about the time of the death of Paul disastrous events were tak-
ing place in Palestine. James the brother of the Lord had been put
to death by the Jews in a.d. 62, according to Josephus the Jewish
historian, or a few years later according to another account. In a.d. 66
the Jews rose in revolt against the Romans. In the war that fol-
lowed there was a terrible siege of Jerusalem. Before the siege the
Christians in the city had fled to Pella, east of the Jordan. Jerusalem
was captured by the Romans in a.d. 70, and the Temple destroyed.
From that time on, the Church in Palestine ceased to be of great
relative importance; the gospel had passed for the most part to the
Gentiles. A number of the apostles remained for many years, how-
ever, to guide and instruct the Church, and important books of the
New Testament were written in this period either by the apostles
themselves or by those who stood under their direction.
The Epistle to the Hebrews
Even before the destruction of the Temple, the original disciples
had begun to labor far and wide among the Gentiles. It was perhaps
during this early period that the Epistle to the Hebrews was written.
The name of the author is unknown, but the book is truly apostolic
NEW TESTAMENT TIMES 127
— that is, it was written either by an apostle or by one who wrote
under the direction of the apostles. The Epistle is intended to celebrate
the all-sufficiency of Christ as the great High Priest, who has made
atonement by his own blood, as distinguished from the Old Testament
types that were intended to point forward to him.
The First Epistle of Peter
Some years before the destruction of Jerusalem, the apostle Peter
left Palestine. In the course of his missionary journeys he went to
Rome, and it was perhaps from Rome that he wrote the First Epistle
of Peter, the word "Babylon" in I Peter 5 : 13 being perhaps a figurative
designation of Rome as the "Babylon" of that age. The Epistle was
addressed to Christians in Asia Minor, and was intended to encourage
the readers to Christian fortitude in the midst of persecution. The
gospel proclaimed in the Epistle is the one great apostolic gospel of
Christ's redeeming work which was also proclaimed by Paul.
The Second Epistle of Peter ; The Epistle of Jude
The Second Epistle of Peter was written by the apostle to warn
his readers against false teaching and urge them to be faithful to the
authority of the apostles and of the Scriptures. Closely related to
II Peter is the Epistle of Jude, which was written by one of the brothers
of Jesus. The apostle Peter, in accordance with a thoroughly credible
Christian tradition, finally suffered a martyr's death at Rome.
The apostle John, the son of Zebedee, became the head of the Church
in Asia Minor, where, at Ephesus, he lived until nearly the end of the
first century. During this period he wrote five books of the New
The Gospel According to John was written to supplement the other
three Gospels which had long been in use. It contains much of the
most precious and most profound teaching of our Lord, as it had been
stored up in the memory of the "beloved disciple"; and it presents
the glory of the Word of God as that glory had appeared on earth to
The Epistles of John
The First Epistle of John was written in order to combat certain
errors which were creeping into the Church in Asia Minor and in
order to present to the readers the true Christian life of love, founded
128 TEACHING THE TEACHER
upon the Son of God who had come in the flesh, and begun by the
new birth which makes a man a child of God.
The Second Epistle of John is a very brief letter written to warn
an individual church of the same kind of error as is combated in I John.
The Third Epistle is addressed to an individual Christian named
Gains, who is praised for his hospitality to visiting missionaries, which
was the more praiseworthy because it was in contrast to the inhospitalitj^
of a certain Diotrephes. The little letter sheds a flood of light upon
the details of congregational life in the last period of the Apostolic
The Book of Revelation
The book of Revelation is based upon a revelation which the apostle
John had received during a banishment to the island of Patmos, off
the coast of Asia Minor, not far from Ephesus. Probably the book
itself was written on the same island. The book contains letters to
seven churches of western Asia Mmor which are intended to encourage
or warn them in accordance with the needs of every individual con-
gregation. The whole book is a tremendous prophecy, which strengthens
the faith of the Church in the midst of persecutions and trials by
revealing the plan of God, especially as it concerns the second coming
of our Lord and the end of the world. Details of future events, espe-
cially times and seasons, are not intended to be revealed, but rather
great principles both of good and of evil, which manifest themselves
in various ways in the subsequent history of the Church. The prophecj^
however, will receive its highest and final fulfillment only when our
Lord shall come again, and bring in the final reign of righteousness
and the blessedness of those whom he has redeemed.
QUESTIONS ON LESSON XXIII
L When, where, and why were the three Pastoral Epistles written?
2. Outline the life of Paul after his release from the first Roman im-
3. What is known about the latter part of the life of Peter?
4. What was the occasion for the writing of I Peter? of II Peter? of
Jude? What are the characteristics of these letters?
5. What is known about the latter part of the life of John?
(5. What were the date and the purpose of the Gospel According to
John; of the Epistles of John; of the book of Revelation.
¥^ !i>"i ■ " I »*