While there is no wrong place to begin reading the New Testament, some books are especially helpful for someone newly discovering the core teachings about the person and work of Jesus. Today, Matthew Dudreck points to a book in Scripture that gives focused attention on who Christ is and what He came to do.
NATHAN W. BINGHAM: I'm here on the campus of Reformation Bible College with their associate professor of New Testament, Dr. Matthew Dudreck. Dr. Dudreck, what book would you recommend a new Christian study and read first?
DR. MATTHEW DUDRECK: Well, there's lots of great places to start. In one sense, you could kind of start anywhere in the sense that there's no really wrong book to start with, with respect to diving into the New Testament. But if I'm looking at the New Testament, I think I would say the gospel according to Matthew is the book that I would start with. And I would start with it for two reasons. One, Matthew is laser beam-focused to demonstrate that Jesus' message of the kingdom of God is in fulfillment of Old Testament expectations of the redemptive-historical plan that God put in place at the very beginning of the book of Genesis. Matthew is very focused to time and time again quote Old Testament texts as being fulfilled in the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. And so, I think one of the best ways to start the New Testament, is understanding that the New Testament is not something divorced from the Old Testament, but it is really the outplay of the Old Testament redemptive-historical storyline. And so, Matthew is very focused to make that clear as to who Jesus is. He's not simply a wise teacher. He is the coming and ruling and reigning King of Israel. He is the Son of David. He is the seed of Abraham. He is the seed of the woman who was foretold many, many times ago in the pages of redemptive history in the Old Testament.
The other aspect is that Matthew also tries to make clear as to what is this kingdom that Jesus is talking about, the kingdom of God"how has it, in a sense, already begun, that there's an aspect of a now and not-yet aspect to the kingdom. And again, Matthew's very focused on giving the Old Testament background to this concept and exactly how is the kingdom operative today. How, in a sense, are we still waiting for the fulfillment, the consummation of that kingdom? Matthew is very focused in the way that he orders and presents material about Jesus' preaching and teaching that tries to make that clear. And if we don't have an understanding of the nature of God's kingdom, we're going to have a hard time understanding exactly what Paul is saying the good news is, if we don't have an establishment of what was Jesus' teaching of the kingdom of God.
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