The New Testament is not a single document. It is a collection of 27 different documents. Four of them are “gospels,” telling the story of Jesus of Nazareth. The rest of them are letters, but not all letters of the same kind. Trying to understand the New Testament as if it were a single document is a way to misunderstand it.
Here’s how I described the New Testament in yesterday’s post:
The New Testament is a collection of 1st-century documents written by leaders of a newly-spawned Jewish sect to their followers. These documents were written by various leaders, at various times, from various locations, to various locations, in various styles, and for various reasons. The central conviction shared by both the senders and receivers of these documents (i.e. everyone in the social movement of which they were a part) was that a Jewish contemporary of theirs – Jesus of Nazareth – was the Messiah who had been promised by prophets who wrote the Jewish Scriptures (what is also called the Old Testament). More specifically, this conviction was that this Jesus had been crucified by the Romans and raised from the dead by God according to those Scriptures, and that He would soon be coming in the kingdom of God according to those same Scriptures.
Thus there is a unifying theme to this collection of diverse documents. That theme is the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all creation.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.