Today we have three random things taken from a pop quiz that New Testament Professor Bart Ehrman gives his Univeristy of North Carolina students at the beginning of the school year. These are fun.
- How many books are in the New Testament? The answer is 27. But the more interesting observation (if you are into numerology) is that it is three to the third power. 3x3x3. Trinity. Three. Is that fun or what?
- The more intellectual meaning from the 27 books is that each was written by a different author, in a different time in history. Plus they are not arranged in chronological order. That is especially overlooked sometimes in studying the Gospels, which have several overlapping stories, but quite a few differences and even contradictions.
- Where and In what language were they written? We have talked about this before, but it bears repeating. Jesus’ native language was Aramaic. But the books of the New Testament were written in Greek. And they were not written in Israel, but in various places throughout the eastern part of the Roman Empire. Rome was probably the most western site. Side note: The Old Testament was written in Hebrew.
- Why not Latin? Latin was spoken in the western part of the Roman Empire. But scholars believe most of the books were written in the eastern part, which was still dominated by Greek-speak. Plus Greek was the common language used for business and cultural exchange, much like English today. Having the New Testament books written in Greek made it easier for the Christian doctrine to spread across the entire Roman Empire.