Before The Bible Was Written

On Facebook I came across this funny depiction of what the first Christians had to resort to holding up at sporting events, before they had written texts they could reference:

“Me 3:16” – Nice one, John! :-)

But as someone involved in teaching Biblical studies, I also thought this was a nice reminder of a serious point, namely the fact that Christianity does not depend on, nor is it founded on, the New Testament, but vice versa: The New Testament is an expression of the phenomenon of Christianity.

To get this backwards results in many problems, not least of which, but perhaps most ironic, is the substitution in many contemporary streams of Christianity of the Bible in the place of what one famous Biblical text says the only foundation is supposed to be for Christians.


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  • MrErr

    Simple post to make an important and big point :)

  • EdwardTBabinski

    Unfortunately we have only the expression. All we have are a few thousand alleged words of Jesus (many of them mere repetitions of words already found in earlier Gospels), and that’s not much. We lack a Jesus we can have a literal conversation with, or touch to see he’s really still alive. What we DO have are loads of people throughout history who claim Jesus (not to mention Mary, Joseph, apostles, saints, angels, God), spoke or revealed themselves to them–from Mohammed to Sun Myung Moon to Joseph Smith. And we have even MORE people who claim Jesus helped them find their car keys or make a touchdown.

  • Andrew Malek

    God exists outside of time, so this just baffles me. There is no old or new, there is only the “is”.

    • James F. McGrath

      Whether the notion of God being “outside of time” is coherent or meaningful has been the subject of much debate. But since that idea is not articulated in the Bible (there God is only said to be everlasting), and since the Bible is not outside of time but has evolved and changed over time, I must confess that I am not sure how your comment relates to the topic of this post. Could you clarify your point, if it isn’t too much trouble?