For some reason I had a smaller group for class this Sunday: about nine people, instead of the 15 or 20 I’d had the first two weeks. As Heather pointed out to me last night, a week ago I was frustrated with how sidetracked our conversation had gotten when discussing the OT, and was wishing for fewer students so that we could have a better conversation. So, that’s what I got, and on the balance I think it probably was a better conversation.
In trying to give them a background against which to read the NT, I decided to start by talking about Acts, and almost all of our time ended up being consumed by the details of Acts and what we know about the earliest days of the Church. I feel pretty good about this; I’d rather spend time focusing on the actual biblical witness than talking about the quest for the “historical Jesus” or some similar diversion.
Things hit a bit of a snag when we got to the end of Acts, where I asserted that Paul made it to Rome and preached the Gospel there (true), that Acts says nothing of the end of his life, but that he mostly likely was executed (true), and that he didn’t want to be executed in the same manner as Jesus, so he made them crucify him upside down (false; that was Peter).
This week’s handout is a one-page spreadsheet of the books of the New Testament with information about their approximate date and probable author.