If The Real New Testament Message is comprised of 10 Essential Elements, as the 4 Gospels seem to teach, then we should have no problem going through Acts and the Epistles and noting the very same distinctive teaching. Do they? I don’t know. Let’s test the thesis and see! I will complete all the NT looking for this very thing. Will you join me?
Let’s commence in Acts, with chapters 1 and 2. And, if we could, let’s plug each epistle into the chronological unfolding of Acts, as well; as that might even better help to confirm or deny our thesis. When we get to Acts 15:35, we’ll pause, go thru Galatians, and then take Acts up again at 15:36. It would be like AD 48 to 50, or so, and some 15 to 20 years since Christ rose and ascended back into heaven, by then.
Acts, itself, was likely written by Luke about AD 63 or 64, and an entire generation after Jesus; just as the first 3 Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark and Luke were, which we have already studied. From Acts chapter 1, half of the 10 elements appear. It opens with #10, the Kingdom in verses 2+3, and we see it again in verse 11. The link between #10, the Kingdom and both elements of #5, the Gospel, concerning Christ dying for our sins and rising from the dead is made right in verse 3. We further see #5, Gospel mention of Christ’s resurrection in verse 22. These matters are closely associated with #9, New Life teaching to be His witnesses in verses 8 and 22; and we find another important #9, New Life teaching concerning prayer with verse 14. It also needs to be told that we find the elements of #2, sin and #3, severe judgment in this very first chapter with verses 16 thru 18 recording Judas’ sin and verse 25 telling us that he went to a place of judgment after his death. Judas died in his sin and went to hell. We can note 5 elements in Acts chapter 1!
With chapter 2, we come to Pentecost of maybe AD 32, and the Holy Spirit is poured out on the first disciples. With verse 21, we see #8, the New Birth in the word ‘saved,’ and we know that both #6, repentance and #7, believing is implied in anyone who ‘calls on the name of the Lord.’ We have both elements of #5, the Gospel in verses 23 and 24, Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. Further mention of them is found verses 31 and 32, with verse 36. He is declared #4, the Savior in so many words 3 times with verses 22, 30 and 36. We find the express requirement of #6, repentance in verse 38, along with mention of the forgiveness of one’s #2, sins, resulting in their #8, New Birth with the receiving of the Holy Spirit. #9, New Life teaching is found with the examples seen in verses 42, 46 and 47. We close with #6, repentance, #7, belief, and the #8, New Birth all within verses 41 and 47. I find 7 of the elements in chap. 2! It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell