John Updike on Matthew and the Other Gospels
"Matthew might be described as the workhorse of the four Gospel writers...
Mark has his electric compactness and swiftness of narrative, Luke has those tender human episodes (the annunciation, the birth of John, the nativity in the manger, the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple at Jerusalem, the story of Mary and Martha, the parables of the prodigal son and the pearl of great price, the good criminal on the cross, the appearances of the risen Jesus at Emmaus and Jerusalem) absent from the other Gospels, and John has his poetic fire and Platonic thrust...
Matthew takes up the task of giving these events [Jesus' life and teachings] a cosmic context by knitting them tight to the sacred texts of the Jewish people collected in what is now called the Old Testament."
(John Updike, Incarnation: Contemporary Writers on the New Testament)
Eugene Peterson on New Testament Greek
A striking feature in all this writing is that it was done in the street language of the day, the idiom of the playground and marketplace.
In the Greek-speaking world of that day, there were two levels of language: formal and informal. Formal language was used to write philosophy and history, government decrees and epic poetry. If someone were to sit down and consciously write for posterity, it would of course be written in this formal language with its learned vocabulary and precise diction.
But if the writing was routine -- shopping lists, family letters, bills and receipts -- it was written in the common, informal idiom of everyday speech, street language. And this is the language used throughout the New Testament.
Some people are taken aback by this, supposing that language dealing with a holy God and holy things should be elevated... But one good look at Jesus -- his preference for down-to-earth stories and easy association with common people -- gets rid of that supposition.
(Eugene Peterson, The Message)
William Barclay on the Book of Acts
In one sense, Acts is the most important book in the New Testament. It is the simple truth that if we did not possess Acts, we would have, apart from what we could deduce from the letters of Paul, no information whatever about the early Church.
Luke's chief purpose is set out in the words of the Risen Christ in 1:8, "You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judaea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth." It was to show the expansion of Christianity, to show how that religion which began in a little corner of Palestine had in not much more than thirty years reached Rome.
A great New Testament scholar has said that the title of Acts might be, "How they brought the Good News from Jerusalem to Rome."
(William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: The Acts of the Apostles)
"The Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man, being both God and Man."
(The Articles of Religion, 1784)
"The Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation."
(The Articles of Religion, 1784)
"The Word of God is the powerful means, since faith must be enkindled through the gospel, and the law provides the rules for good works and many wonderful impulses to attain them. The more at home the Word of God is among us, the more we shall bring about faith and its fruits."
(Philip Jacob Spenser, Christian Believer p. 31)
"Holy Scripture remains the only judge, rule, and norm according to which all doctrines are to be understood and judged, as to which are good or evil, and which are true or truly false."
(The Formula of Concord, 1577)
"Did you say you know the Book? I am glad. Lay it to heart. Did you say you know the law? I am glad. Live in its light."
(William Sangster, Why Jesus Never Wrote a Book)
"When you find that the Word of God renews you, and begins to be more precious to you than formerly when you heard the doctrines of men, then you may be sure that this is the work of God within you. When you find that it gives you assurance of the grace of God and eternal salvation, it is of God. When you find that it crushes and destroys you, but magnifies God Himself within you, it is a work of God. When you find that the fear of God begins to give you joy rather than sorrow, it is a sure working of the Word and Spirit of God."
(Ulrich Zwingli, Christian Believer p. 30)