Introduction to the New Testament (1915) [Chapter 5]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

The Gospel of John


A) About the author of the chapter:

Louis Berkhof “graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1900 …

In 1902 he went to Princeton University for two years earning a B.D. degree …

In 1906 he was appointed to the faculty of Calvin Theological Seminary. He assumed the presidency of the seminary in 1931 …” [1]


B) Chapter Summary:

I) Content

“The contents of the Gospel of John is also divided into five parts:

I. The Advent and Incarnation of the Word, 1:1— 13 …

II. The Incarnate Word the only Life of the World, 1:14 — 6:71 …

III. The Incarnate Word, the Life and Light, in Conflict with Spiritual Darkness, 7:1 — 11:54 …

IV. The Incarnate Word saving the Life of the World through his Sacrificial Death, 11:55 — 19:42 …

V. The Incarnate Word, risen from the Dead, the Saviour and Lord of all Believers, 20:1 — 21:25.” [1]

II) Characteristics

“1. The gospel of John emphasizes more than any of the others the Divinity of Christ. It has no historical starting-point, like the Synoptics, but recedes back into the depths of eternity, and starts out with the statement sublime in its simplicity: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”” [2]

“The miracles of the Lord, narrated in this Gospel, are of such a character that they give great prominence to his divine power.” [3]

See John 4:46, 5:5, 9:1, 11:17

“The teaching of Christ greatly predominates in Johns Gospel, but this is quite different from that contained in the Synoptics. We find no parables here but elaborate discourses, which also contain a couple of allegories. The all absorbing topic is not the Kingdom of God but the Person of the Messiah.”[4]

Christ presents himself as the source of life, 4:46— 5:47; the spiritual nourishment of the soul, 6:22-65; the water of life, 4:7-16; 7:37, 38; the true liberator, 8:31-58; the light of the world, 9:5, 35-41; and the living principle of the resurrection, 11:25, 26.

“The scene of action in this Gospel is quite different from that in the Synoptics. In the latter the work of Christ in Galilee is narrated at length, while He is seen at Jerusalem only during the last week of His life. In the Gospel of John, on the other hand, the long ministry of Christ in Galilee is presupposed rather than narrated, while his work and teaching in Judea and particularly at Jerusalem is made very prominent.” [5]

“4. The Gospel of John is far more definite than the Synoptics in pointing out the time and place of the occurrences that are narrated; it is in a certain sense more chronological than the other Gospels. We are generally informed as to the place of Christ’s operation. Definite mention is made of Bethany, 1:28; Cana, 2: 1; Capernaum, 2:12; Jerusalem, 2:13; Sychar, 4: 5; Bethesda, 5 : 2, etc. The designations of time are equally distinct, sometimes the hour of the day being given.” [6]

“5. The style of the fourth Gospel is not like that of the other three. It is peculiar in that “it contains, on the one hand, except in the prologue and χαρᾷ χαίρειin 3:29, hardly any downright Hebraisms,” Simcox, The Writers of the New Testament p. 73, while, on the other hand, it approaches the style of Old Testament writers more than the style of any other New Testament writing does …

His sentences are generally connected in the most simple way by καί, δεor οὖν, and his descriptions are often elaborate and repetitious. He exhibits a special fondness for contrasts and for the use of the parallelismus membrorum.” [7]

III) Authorship

“The voice of antiquity is all but unanimous in ascribing the fourth Gospel to John.” [8]

“The internal evidence for the authorship of the Gospel is now generally arranged under the following heads:

1.The author was a Jew. He evidently had an intimate acquaintance with the Old Testament, had, as it were, imbibed the spirit of the prophetical writings. He knew them not only in the translation of the LXX, but in their original language, as is evident from several Old Testament quotations. Moreover the style of the author clearly reveals his Jewish nationality. He wrote Greeks it is true, but his construction, his circumstantiality and his use of parallelism, are all Hebraic …

2.The author was a Palestinian Jew. He clearly shows that he is well at home in the Jewish world. He is intimately acquainted with Jewish customs and religious observances and with the requirements of the law, and moves about with ease in the Jewish world of thought [see e.g. 1:21; 4:9; 5:1 ff.; 7:22 ff; 9:2; 9:14 ff] …

3.The writer was an eyewitness of the events he relates.He claims this explicitly, if not already in 1: 14, “we beheld his glory” (Cf. I John 1:1-3), certainly in 19:35. “And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true; and he knoweth that he saith true that ye might believe.” This claim is corroborated by the lively and yet simple manner in which he pictures the events; by the many definite chronological data and naming of localities …

4. [By the process of elimination] The author was the apostle John …” [9]

“Not until the last part of the eighteenth century was the authorship of John attacked on critical grounds, and even then the attacks were of small significance. Bretschneider in 1820 was the first to assail it in a systematic way. But he was soon followed by others, such as Baur, Strauss, Schwegler, Zeller, Scholten, Davidson, Wrede e. a. It has been their persistent endeavor to show that the Gospel of John is a product of the second century. Some would ascribe it to that shadowy person, the presbyter John, whose existence Eusebius infers from a rather ambiguous passage of Papias, but who, in all probability, is to be identified with John the apostle. Others positively reject this theory. Wrede, after arguing that the authorship of John cannot be established, says: “Far less can the recent hypothesis be regarded as proven which purports to find the author of the Gospel in John the presbyter.” The Origin of the New Testamentp. 89.” [10]

“The most important considerations that led many rationalistic critics to the conclusion that the fourth Gospel was written in the second century, are the following: (1) The theology of the Gospel, especially its representation of Christ, is developed to such a degree that it points beyond the first and reflects the consciousness of the Church of the second century. (2) The Gospel was evidently written under the influence of the philosophic and religious tendencies that were prevalent in the second century, such as Montanism, Docetism and Gnosticism. (3) The great difference between the fourth Gospel and the Synoptics appears to be the result of second century cavilling respecting the nature of Christ, and of the Paschal controversy.

But the idea that the Gospel of John is a second century product goes counter to both the internal evidence to which we already referred, and to the external testimony, which is exceptionally strong and which can be traced back to the very beginning of the second century. Some of the Epistles of Ignatius show the influence of John’s Christology, and the writings of both Papias and Polycarp contain allusions to the first Epistle of John, which was evidently written at the same time as the Gospel. The latter was in existence, therefore, in the beginning of the second century.” [11]

Continue reading “Introduction to the New Testament (1915) [Chapter 5]”

The Literature of the Old Testament (1913) [Chapter 5]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers


A) About the author of the chapter:

George Foot Moore “graduated from Yale College in 1872 and from Union Theological Seminary in 1877, in 1878 Moore was ordained in the Presbyterian ministry and until 1883 was pastor of the Putnam Presbyterian Church, Zanesville, Ohio.

He was Hitchcock professor of the Hebrew language and literature at Andover Theological Seminary, 1883–1902. In 1902 he became professor of theology and in 1904 professor of the history of religion at Harvard University.” [1]


B) Chapter Summary:

“In the early chapters of Exodus the narrative is chiefly a combination of J and E; the first considerable extract from P is Exod. vi. 2-vii. 13, recalling the covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and announcing its approaching fulfilment, adding, as the signature of the new epoch of the history now opening, the revelation of the name God, Jehovah (Jahveh), which none of the patriarchs had known.” [1]

“In the story of the plagues all three sources are interwoven; a distinctive feature of P is that Aaron with his wand, under Moses’ direction, brings the plagues to pass. The announcement of the last plague is the occasion for P to introduce the ordinance of the Passover.” [2]

“All the strands of the triple narrative lead to a holy mountain in the desert (Sinai in P and probably in J; Horeb in E and D), the Mount of God, represented in all as the ancient seat of Jehovah.” [3]

“In all the sources God’s presence is manifested by cloud and fire upon the mountain, and Moses goes to the summit to meet God (Exod. 19, J, E; xxiv. 15 b -18 a , P).” [4]

“… in each of the three sources at this point larger or smaller groups of laws purporting to be delivered to Moses at the holy mountain, and containing what may be regarded as fundamental institutions. These bodies of law are, however, very different; the problem of their relation to one another and to the narratives is extremely difficult, and the parallel account of the legislation at Horeb in Deut. 5 adds another element to the complication. If the reader will attentively compare Exod. 20; 21-23; 24; Deut. 5; ix. 8-x. 5; and Exod. 34, he will get some impression of the nature of the difficulties.

According to Deut. v. 22, the Decalogue (Deut. v. 6-21; Exod. xx. 1-17, with noteworthy variants) was the law written on the two tables of stone by the hand of God which Moses dashed down and shattered when he saw the people wantoning around the golden calf (Exod. xxxii. 19). God proposes to reproduce the law on two new tablets (xxxiv. 1), but the Decalogue (xxxiv. 28) written on these tablets (xxxiv. 14-26) is wholly different from that of Exod. 20, being not a compend of moral law, but prescriptions for the festivals and ritual rules, whereas Deut. ix. 8-x. 5 says in so many words that it was the Decalogue of v. 6-21 which was restored.” [5]

“[The problems] arise in part from the attempt to harmonize radically different representations of what the fundamental law given at Sinai (or Horeb) was, in part from the tendency of later times to ascribe to the original Mosaic legislation the whole body of actual law regarded as having a religious sanction.” [6]

“The fundamental law of J, the basis of the original compact between Jehovah and Israel, is preserved in Exod. xxxiv. 1-5, 10a, 14-28 (with some manifest amplifications in vss. 15, 16, 24). When this was combined with the story of the golden calf and the broken tables (E), it was necessary to take it as a renewal of the law, and this was accomplished by very slight additions in vss. 1 and 4 (“like unto the first,” “that were on the first tables, which thou brakest”).” [7]

“According to [P’s] theory all the ordinances of worship were revealed at Sinai. Legitimate sacrifice presupposes one legitimate temple and altar, a legitimate priesthood, and a minutely prescribed ritual. In J and E the patriarchs set up altars and offer sacrifice in many places; it is an obvious interest of the authors, or of the local legends of holy places which they follow, to trace the origin of the altars, sacred stones, holy trees and wells, at Shechem or Bethel, Hebron or Beersheba, to one of the forefathers. In P, on the contrary, the patriarchs never offer sacrifice. Until the tabernacle was erected and God’s presence filled it, until Aaron was consecrated as priest, until the technique of the various species of offering had been revealed by God and exemplified by Moses or Aaron, no sacrifice could be anything but impious, like the worship of heathen.” [8]

“Lev. x. 1-7 is closely connected with cc. 8-9, and its sequel (combined with other matter) is found in c. 16, the ritual of atonement. Lev. 8-9 is a good specimen of the author’s method. In the form of a description of the sacrifices of consecration and the inaugural sacrifices of Aaron, he gives a paradigm for every variety of offering.” [9]

“… we find in Lev. 1-7 a collection of such laws, some of them (e.g. Lev. 1 and 3) unquestionably old both in substance and formulation, with slight adaptation to their surrounding (e.g. “the sons of Aaron,” i. 5, etc.), or with supplements to meet new economic and social conditions, such as the burnt offering of doves (Lev. i. 14-17, cf. vs. 2); others are younger or have been more extensively enlarged and amended. The chapters thus represent a growth in actual custom and corresponding rule.” [10]

“Lev. 11-15, on various forms of uncleanness and the prescribed purifications, to which x. 10 f. seems to be a fragmentary introduction, have no obvious association with anything in the context, though they are introduced appropriately enough before the general purification of the Day of Atonement, c. 16. The laws, which read like the chapters of an exactly formulated code of purity, have been expanded by the addition of new paragraphs (e.g. Lev. xiv. 21-32, 33-53), and in some cases changes in the ritual may be recognized; compare, for example, Lev. xiv. 1-8 with vss. 10-20.

Chapters 17-26 form a distinct body of law, having certain marked peculiarities of its own, notably the frequent recurrence of the motive of “holiness”—that is, the avoidance of things and actions tabooed by the religion of Israel—often coupled with the appeal to God’s holiness, as in xix. 2, “Ye shall be holy, for I, Jehovah, your God, am holy,” or simply asserting his authority, “I am Jehovah.”” [11]

“The hypothesis which seems best to explain the phenomena is that an independent collection of laws (or rather the remains of such a collection), characterized by the motive of holiness, has been expanded and edited in the spirit and manner of the priestly legislation, while some laws which were originally included in this collection have been transposed to other contexts.” [12]

“The laws in Numbers present the same variety as in Leviticus. There are old laws with modifications and enlargements, and many others which by various signs betray a more recent origin. Num. 28-36 belong as a whole to the latter class; cc. 28 f. exemplify that growth of the law by the formulation of sacerdotal ideals or desiderata which has been noted in the case of Lev. 4. It is to be observed that the narrative of P has reached in Num. xxvii. 12-23 the end of Moses’ career; nothing is in place after it but the ascent of Mt. Abarim and Moses’ death (Deut. 34). Num. 28-36 thus stand even formally in the place of an appendix.” [13]

“The narrative of P (Origin of the Religious Institutions) and the great mass of ritual and ceremonial laws in the three middle books of the Pentateuch are often called collectively the Priests’ Code.” [14]

“… many critics—except for the orderliness, which nobody has ventured to affirm, and with allowance for later additions—regard the Priests’ Code as such a law book, compiled and edited by priestly scribes in Babylonia, brought to Judæa by Ezra, with the authority of the Persian king, to reform the many disorders that existed there, and ratified and put in force in B.C. 444 by the magnates and the people of the Jews. (See Ezra 7; Neh. 8-10, and below, pp. 129 ff.)” [15]

“The phenomena we have observed in Exodus-Numbers suggest the hypothesis, rather, that various old laws, dealing chiefly with sacrifice and with the rules of clean and unclean—the two principal subjects of priestly regulation—were inserted at suitable points in the Origins of the Religious Institutions (P); these received amendments and supplements both before and after their incorporation; other more independent developments, whether representing actual custom or sacerdotal aspirations, found place among or beside them; and thus the whole Priestly stratum grew by a process of accretion through many generations into its present inorganic magnitude.” [16]


[1] p.47

[2] pp.47-48

[3] p.48

[4] Ibid.

[5] p.49

[6] p.50

[7] Ibid.

[8] p.51

[9] p.52

[10] pp.52-53

[11] pp.53-54

[12] p.54

[13] pp.55-56

[14] p.56

[15] Ibid.

[16] p.57

Jewish Theology Systematically and Historically Considered (1918) [Chapter 2]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

What is Judaism?


A) About the author of the chapter:

Kaufman Kohler “… was educated at the Universities of Munich, Berlin and Leipzig, (1865-69), and received the degree of Ph.D. from the University of Erlangen in 1868.” [1]

“Feb. 26, 1903, he was elected to the presidency of Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati.” [2]



B) Chapter Summary:

“Religion and race form an inseparable whole in Judaism. The Jewish people stand in the same relation to Judaism as the body to the soul.”[1]

“The national or racial body of Judaism consists of the remnant of the tribe of Judah which succeeded in establishing a new commonwealth in Judæa in place of the ancient Israelitish kingdom, and which survived the downfall of state and temple to continue its existence as a separate people during a dispersion over the globe for thousands of years, forming ever a cosmopolitan element among all the nations in whose lands it dwelt. Judaism, on the other hand, is the religious system itself, the vital element which united the Jewish people, preserving it and regenerating it ever anew. It is the spirit which endowed the handful of Jews with a power of resistance and a fervor of faith unparalleled in history, enabling them to persevere in the mighty contest with heathenism and Christianity.”[2]

“Judaism is nothing less than a message concerning the One and holy God and one, undivided humanity with a world-uniting Messianic goal, a message intrusted by divine revelation to the Jewish people.”[3]

“On the one hand, it shows the most tenacious adherence to forms originally intended to preserve the Jewish people in its priestly sanctity and separateness, and thereby also to keep its religious truths pure and free from encroachments. On the other hand, it manifests a mighty impulse to come into close touch with the various civilized nations, partly in order to disseminate among them its sublime truths, appealing alike to mind and heart, partly to clarify and deepen those truths by assimilating the wisdom and culture of these very nations.”[4]

“Its priestly world-mission gave rise to all those laws and customs which were to separate it from its idolatrous surroundings, and this occasioned the charge of hostility to the nations.”[5]

“… Israel’s prophetic ideal of a humanity united in justice and peace gave to history a new meaning and a larger outlook, kindling in the souls of all truly great leaders and teachers, seers and sages of mankind a love and longing for the broadening of humanity which opened new avenues of progress and liberty.”[6]

“Judaism … far from being the late product of the Torah and tradition, as it is often considered, was actually the creator of the Law. Transformed and unfolded in Babylonia, it created its own sacred literature and shaped it ever anew, filling it always with its own spirit and with new thoughts. It is by no means the petrifaction of the Mosaic law and the prophetic teachings, as we are so often told, but a continuous process of unfolding and regeneration of its great religious truth.

True enough, traditional or orthodox Judaism does not share this view. The idea of gradual development is precluded by its conception of divine revelation, by its doctrine that both the oral and the written Torah were given at Sinai complete and unchangeable for all time.”[7]

“Nevertheless, tradition says that the Men of the Great Synagogue themselves collected and partly completed the sacred books, except the five books of Moses, and that the canon was made under the influence of the holy spirit. This holy spirit remained in force also during the creative period of Talmudism, sanctioning innovations or alterations of many kinds. Modern critical and historical research has taught us to distinguish the products of different periods and stages of development in both the Biblical and Rabbinical sources, and therefore compels us to reject the idea of a uniform origin of the Law, and also of an uninterrupted chain of tradition reaching back to Moses on Sinai.”[8]

“It [i.e. Judaism] adopted the Babylonian and Persian views of the hereafter, of the upper and the nether world with their angels and demons; so later on it incorporated into its religious and legal system elements of Greek and Egyptian gnosticism, Greek philosophy, and methods of jurisprudence from Egypt, Babylon, and Rome. In fact, the various parties which arose during the second Temple beside each other or successively—Sadducees and Pharisees, Essenes and Zealots—represent, on closer observation, the different stages in the process of assimilation which Judaism had to undergo. In like manner, the Hellenistic, Apocryphal and Apocalyptic literature, which was rejected and lost to sight by traditional Judaism, and which partly fills the gap between the Bible and the Talmudic writings, casts a flood of light upon the development of the Halakah and the Haggadah.”[9]

“Instead of representing Judaism—as the Christian theologians do under the guise of scientific methods—as a nomistic religion, caring only for the external observance of the Law, it is necessary to distinguish two opposite fundamental tendencies; the one expressing the spirit of legalistic nationalism, the other that of ethical or prophetic universalism. These two work by turn, directing the general trend in the one or the other direction according to circumstances.”[10]

“At one time the center and focus of Israel’s religion is the Mosaic Law, with its sacrificial cult in charge of the priesthood of Jerusalem’s Temple; at another time it is the Synagogue, with its congregational devotion and public instruction, its inspiring song of the Psalmist and its prophetic consolation and hope confined to no narrow territory, but opened wide for a listening world. Here it is the reign of the Halakah holding fast to the form of tradition, and there the free and fanciful Haggadah , with its appeal to the sentiments and views of the people. Here it is the spirit of ritualism , bent on separating the Jews from the influence of foreign elements, and there again the spirit of rationalism , eager to take part in general culture and in the progress of the outside world.”[11]

“An impartial Jewish theology must therefore take cognizance of both sides; it must include the mysticism of Isaac Luria and Sabbathai Horwitz as well as the rationalism of Albo and Leo da Modena.”[12]

“As a safeguard against arbitrary individualism, there was the principle of loyalty and proper regard for tradition, which is aptly termed by Professor Lazarus a “historical continuity.” The Midrashic statement is quite significant that other creeds founded on our Bible can only adhere to the letter, but the Jewish religion possesses the key to the deeper meaning hidden and presented in the traditional interpretation of the Scriptures. That is, for Judaism Holy Scripture in its literal sense is not the final word of God; the Bible is rather a living spring of divine revelation, to be kept ever fresh and flowing by the active force of the spirit.”[13]

“To sum up: Judaism, far from offering a system of beliefs and ceremonies fixed for all time, is as multifarious and manifold in its aspects as is life itself. It comprises all phases and characteristics of both a national and a world religion.”[14]


[1] p.7

[2] pp.7-8

[3] p.8

[4] pp.8-9

[5] p.9

[6] Ibid.

[7] p.11

[8] pp.11-12

[9] pp.12-13

[10] p.13

[11] Ibid.

[12] p.14

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

The Literature and History of the New Testament (1915) [Lesson 1]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

The New Testament


A) About the author of the chapter:

John Gresham Machen “studied at Johns Hopkins University, Princeton Theological Seminary, and the universities at Marburg and Göttingen. In 1906 he joined the faculty of the Princeton Theological Seminary …

He left Princeton in 1929, after the school was reorganized and adopted a more accepting attitude toward liberal Protestantism, and he helped found Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.” [1]


B) Chapter Summary:

i) The Origin and Meaning of the Name

“The English word “testament” comes from a Latin word. The equivalent Greek word is hard to translate. As used in the Greek Bible it may mean either “covenant” or “testament.” Usually it should probably be translated “covenant.””[1]

“The phrase “new covenant” occurs about five times in the New Testament. In none of these passages does the phrase refer to the “New Testament” in our sense. It designates a new relationship into which men have been received with God.”[2]

“The names “old and new covenants,” then, were applied first to these two special relationships into which God entered with men [i.e. with the Hebrew nation, and with all who through faith accept the salvation offered by Christ]. Afterwards the names were applied to the books in which the conditions of those relationships were set forth.”[3]

ii) One Book or a Collection of Books?

“In the first place, the New Testament may be treated in every respect as a single book …

Nevertheless, the Bible is as a matter of fact not a mere textbook of religion, and if we treat it as such we miss much of its richness.”[4]

“It is nearer the truth … to say that the New Testament is a single book than to say that it is a collection of books. Its parts differ widely among themselves, in authorship, in date, in circumstances, in aim. Those differences must be studied carefully, if the full meaning is to be obtained. But widely as the New Testament writings differ among themselves, they differ yet far more widely from all other books. They presented themselves originally to the Church with a divine authority, which is foreign to the ordinary writings of men. That authority has been confirmed through the Christian centuries.”[5]

iii) The Four Divisions of the New Testament

“(1) THE GOSPELS … “gospel” means “good news,” and “good news” means tidings, information derived from the witness of others. In other words, it means history.”[6]

“(2) THE BOOK OF THE ACTS.—The Book of The Acts is a history of the extension of Christianity from Jerusalem out into the Gentile world. It represents that extension as guided by the Spirit of God, and thus exhibits the divine warrant for the acceptance of us Gentiles, and for the development of the Christian Church. It provides the outline of apostolic history without which we could not understand the other New Testament books, especially the epistles of Paul.”[7]

“(3) THE EPISTLES.—The Epistles of the New Testament are not just literature put in an epistolary form, but real letters. It is true that the addresses of some of them are very broad, for example, those of James and of I Peter; and that some of them contain no specific address at all, for example, Hebrews and I John. But the great majority of them, at least, were written under very special circumstances and intended to be read first by very definite people.”[8]

“The letters of Paul differ widely among themselves. The Epistle to the Romans is almost a systematic exposition of the plan of salvation. Philemon is concerned with a little personal matter between Paul and one of his converts.”[9]

“(4) THE APOCALYPSE … the Apocalypse opens a glorious vision of the future. The vision is presented in symbolical language.”[10]


[1] p.5

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] p.6

[5] p.7

[6] Ibid.

[7] p.8

[8] Ibid.

[9] p.9

[10] Ibid.

Introduction to the New Testament (1915) [Chapter 4]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

The Gospel of Luke


A) About the author of the chapter:

Louis Berkhof “graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1900 …

In 1902 he went to Princeton University for two years earning a B.D. degree …

In 1906 he was appointed to the faculty of Calvin Theological Seminary. He assumed the presidency of the seminary in 1931 …” [1]


B) Chapter Summary:

i) Contents

“Like  the  contents  of  the  previous  Gospels  we  may  also  divide  those  of  Luke’s  into  five parts:

I. The Advent  of  the  Divine  Man, 1:-4:13 …

II. The Work  of  the  Divine  Man  for  the  Jewish  World, 4:14 – 9:50 …

III.  The  Work  of  the  Divine  Man  for  the  Gentiles, 9:51 – 18:30 …

IV. The Sacrifice  of  the  Divine  Man  for  all  Mankind, 18:31 – 23:49 …

V. The Divine  Man  Saviour  of  all  Nations, 24.”[1]

ii) Characteristics

“1.  In  point  of  completeness  it  surpasses  the  other  Synoptics,  beginning,  as  it  does,  with a  detailed  narrative  of  the  birth  of  John  the  Baptist  and  of  Christ  himself,  and  ending  with a  record  of  the  ascension  from  the  Mount  of  Olives.  In  distinction  from  Matthew  and  Mark this  Gospel  even  contains  an  allusion  to  the  promise  of  the  Father,  24:  29,  and  thus  points beyond  the  old  dispensation  to  the  new  that  would  be  ushered  in  by  the  coming  of  the  Holy Spirit.  The  detailed  narrative  of  Christ’s  going  to  Jerusalem  in  9:  51-18:14  is  also  peculiar  to this  gospel.”[2]

“2.  Christ  is  set  before  us  in  this  Gospel  as  the  perfect  Man  with  wide  sympathies.  The genealogy  of  Jesus  is  trace  back  through  David  and  Abraham  to  Adam,  our  common  progenitor,  thus  presenting  him  as  one  of  our  race.”[3]

See 2:40-52; 3:21; 9:29.

“3.  Another  feature  of  this  gospel  is  its  universality.  It  comes  nearer  than  other  Gospels to  the  Pauline  doctrine  of  salvation  for  all  the  world,  and  of  salvation  by  faith,  without  the works  of  the  law.”[4]

See 4:25-27;  7:2-10; 9:52-56;  10:30-37;  17:11-19

“4.  More  than  the  other  evangelists  Luke  relates  his  narrative  to  contemporaneous  history and  indicates  the  time  of  the  occurrences.”[5]

See 1:1, 26;  2:1;  2:2; 3:1, 2

“5.  Luke  writes  a  purer  Greek  than  any  of  the  other  evangelists,  but  this  is  evident  only, where  he  does  not  closely  follow  his  sources.  The  Greek  of  the  preface  is  of  remarkable purity,  but  aside  from  this  the  first  and  second  chapters  are  full  of  Hebraisms.  Of  the  rest of  the  Gospel  some  parts  approach  very  closely  to  classical  Greek,  while  others  are  tinged with  Hebrew  expressions.”[6]

iii) Authorship

“Irenaeus  asserts  that  “Luke,  the  companion  of  Paul,  put  down  in  a  book  the  Gospel  preached by  him.”  With  this  agrees  the  testimony  of  Origen;  Eusebius,  Athanasius,  Gregory,  Nazianze, Jerome,  e. a.”[7]

“In  1882  Dr.  Hobart  published  a  work  on,  The Medical  Language  of  St.  Luke,  showing  that  in  many  instances  the  evangelist  uses  the  technical  language  that  was  also  used  by  Greek  medical  writers,  as  παραλελυμἐνος,  5:18,  24  (the other  Gospels  have  παραλύτικος);συνεχομένη  πυρετῷ  μεγαλλῳ 4  :38;  ἔστη  ἡ  ῥύσις  τοῦ ἅιματος 8  :44  (cf.  Mt.  5 :29)  ;  ἀνεκάθισεν, 7  :14,  Luke  carefully  distinguishes  demoniacal possession  from  disease,  4:18;  13:  32;  states  exactly  the  age  of  the  dying  person,  8:42;  and the  duration  of  the  affliction  in  13:11.  He  only  relates  the  miracle  of  the  healing  of  Malchus ear.  All  these  things  point  to  Luke,  “the  beloved  physician.”[8]

“The  question  must  be  asked,  whether  Paul  was  in  any  way  connected  with  the  composition  of  the  third  Gospel.  The  testimony  of  the  early  Church  is  very  uncertain  on  this  point.

Tertullian  says:  “Luke’s  digest  is  often  ascribed  to  Paul.  And  indeed  it  is  easy  to  take  that  for the  master’s  which  is  published  by  the  disciples.”  According  to  Eusebius,  “Luke  hath  delivered in  his  Gospel  a  certain  amount  of  such  things  as  he  had  been  assured  of  by  his  intimate  acquaintance  and  familiarity  with  Paul,  and  his  connection  with  the  other  apostles.”  With  this the  testimony  of  Jerome  agrees.  Athanasius  states  that  the  Gospel  of  Luke  was  dictated  by the  apostle  Paul.

In  view  of  the  preface  of  the  gospel  we  may  be  sure  that  the  Church  fathers exaggerate  the  influence  of  Paul  in  the  composition  of  this  Gospel,  possibly  to  give  it apostolic  authority.  Paul  s  relation  to  the  third  Gospel  differs  from  that  of  Peter  to  the  second; it  is  not  so  close.  Luke  did  not  simply  write  what  he  remembered  of  the  preaching  of  Paul, much  less  did  he  write  according  to  the  dictation  of  the  apostle,  for  he  himself  says  that  he traced  everything  from  the  beginning  and  speaks  of  both  oral  and  written  sources  that  were at  his  command.  Among  these  oral  sources  we  must,  of  course,  also  reckon  the  preaching of  Paul.  That  the  great  apostle  did  influence  Luke  s  representation  of  “the  beginning  of  the Gospel,”  is  very  evident.  There  are  175  words  and  expressions  in  the  gospel  that  are  peculiar to  Luke  and  Paul.  Cf.  Plummer  p.  LIV.”[9]

Continue reading “Introduction to the New Testament (1915) [Chapter 4]”

The Literature of the Old Testament (1913) [Chapter 4]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

Character of the Sources: Genesis


A) About the author of the chapter:

George Foot Moore “graduated from Yale College in 1872 and from Union Theological Seminary in 1877, in 1878 Moore was ordained in the Presbyterian ministry and until 1883 was pastor of the Putnam Presbyterian Church, Zanesville, Ohio.

He was Hitchcock professor of the Hebrew language and literature at Andover Theological Seminary, 1883–1902. In 1902 he became professor of theology and in 1904 professor of the history of religion at Harvard University.” [1]


B) Chapter Summary:

“For the sake of brevity, it is customary to designate these sources by symbols: J (Jahvist), the source in which God is from the beginning called Jehovah (more exactly, Jahveh); E (Elohist), the closely cognate source in which Elohim (God) is consistently used throughout Genesis; D, Deuteronomy and the kindred narrative in Joshua; P (Priestly), the source in which the interest in the religious institutions predominates.”[1]

“The two sources, J and E, both narrate the story of the patriarchs at some length. J begins with the migration of Abraham from Haran (Gen. 12); the corresponding introduction of Abraham in E is not preserved, and the first passage that can with confidence be attributed to that source is Gen. 20. From that point through Genesis and down to Exod. 24, J and E furnished the author of the Pentateuch most of his narrative. The contents of both were evidently drawn from the same common stock of legend, and they tell in large part the same stories in variant forms, with differences of incident or of localization. Sometimes one is ampler and more detailed, sometimes the other. The author of Genesis in such cases often chose the fuller version, enriching it here and there from the other; in other places the two are combined in more equal measure into one continuous narrative; or, again, as in parts of the story of Joseph, extracts from the two alternate in large blocks.”[2]

“For J the reader will find good examples in Gen. 18-19; 24; 38; 39; and 43-44 (which are nearly solid extracts from that source); with the latter chapters, from the story of Joseph, should be compared Gen. 40-42, chiefly from E. Gen. 22 is also from E.”[3]

See Gen. 18, Genesis 32

“He [i.e. E] is particularly well informed in things Egyptian; he knows, for example, the Egyptian names of the chief personages in the story of Joseph. It is in accord with this tendency that he introduces the name Jehovah only after the call of Moses (Exod. iii. 14 ff.), and for the patriarchal period employs only the appellative, God.”[4]

“The conception of deity [in E] is less naïve than in J: God never appears in tangible bodiliness like a man, but reveals himself in visions or dreams, or makes known his will by a voice out of the unseen. Things objectionable to morals or taste are frequently softened down.”[5]

“… the interventions of God in E often show a disposition to magnify the miracle and to give it a magical character. Thus at the crossing of the Red Sea, in J the waters are driven back by a strong wind, leaving the shallow basin dry; in E the miracle is wrought by Moses with his wand (like the plagues), and this representation is followed by P, in which the waters stand in walls on either hand while the people march between.”[6]

“If the author of E was acquainted with J, as it would be natural to assume, he certainly does not copy him; of literary dependence in a strict sense there is no sign. The two appear, rather, to be parallel narratives, drawing on a common stock of tradition, which had already acquired by repetition, whether oral or written, a comparatively fixed form. This common stock included traditions of different groups of tribes and of holy places in different parts of the land.”[7]

“In the treatment of the common tradition in J and E, respectively, local or national interests appear, from which it is generally inferred that E was written in the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and J in the Southern (Judah).”[8]

“From J come Gen. ii. 4b-iv. 25; vi. 1-8; a part of the composite story of the Flood (vii. 1-5, 7-10, 12, 17b, 22-23; viii. 6-12, 13b, 20-22); the sons of Noah, ix. 18-27, and part of the table of nations (x. 8-19, 21, 24-30); the Tower of Babel (xi. 1-9).”[9]

“The third chief narrative source in the Pentateuch, commonly called the Priestly History (P), is of a different character from those which we have been examining.

A more descriptive title for it would be, Origins of the Religious Institutions of Israel. In the view of the author, these institutions were successively ordained by God at certain epochs in the history of mankind and in connection with certain historical events; these events he narrates as the occasion or ground of the institution, which the subsequent observance recalls and commemorates.

These institutions were not all first revealed to Israel and prescribed for it; on the contrary, the author has a theory of a progressive revelation of God’s will, beginning with the first man and woman, and amplified from age to age by the addition to its contents of fresh ordinances, while at the same time its extension gradually narrows, until, in the Mosaic Law, it is addressed to the chosen people of Israel alone.

The place of each new institution is therefore fixed not only in a chronological system but in the genealogical scheme of races and nations. The genealogies which connect one epoch of revelation with the following one are thus not the bare bones of history, stripped of its flesh and blood, but serve a distinct and characteristic purpose.”[10]

“The diction and style of P are very unlike that of J and E; a favourable example of his manner is Gen. 17. Even in a translation, which necessarily obliterates much, some of the author’s peculiarities can be observed, foremost among them a certain stiffness and a laborious circumstantiality, which will be felt if Gen. xvi. 1-2, 4-8, 11-14 (J) or xvi. 8-21 (E) be compared with c. 17 (P).”[11]

“In the early chapters of Exodus the narrative is chiefly a combination of J and E; the first considerable extract from P is Exod. vi. 2-vii. 13, recalling the covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and announcing its approaching fulfilment, adding, as the signature of the new epoch of the history now opening, the revelation of the name God, Jehovah (Jahveh), which none of the patriarchs had known.

In the story of the plagues all three sources are interwoven; a distinctive feature of P is that Aaron with his wand, under Moses’ direction, brings the plagues to pass.”[12]


[1] p.35

[2] pp.35-36

[3] p.36

[4] p.39

[5] Ibid.

[6] p.40

[7] Ibid.

[8] p.41

[9] Ibid.

[10] p.44

[11] pp.46-47

[12] p.47

Jewish Theology Systematically and Historically Considered (1918) [Chapter 1]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

The Meaning of Theology


A) About the author of the chapter:

Kaufman Kohler “… was educated at the Universities of Munich, Berlin and Leipzig, (1865-69), and received the degree of Ph.D. from the University of Erlangen in 1868.” [1]

“Feb. 26, 1903, he was elected to the presidency of Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati.” [2]



B) Chapter Summary:

“The name Theology, “the teaching concerning God,” is taken from Greek philosophy. It was used by Plato and Aristotle to denote the knowledge concerning God and things godly, by which they meant the branch of Philosophy later called Metaphysics, after Aristotle.”[1]

“In the Christian Church the term gradually assumed the meaning of systematic exposition of the creed, a distinction being made between Rational, or Natural Theology, on the one hand, and Dogmatic Theology, on the other.”[2]

“In common usage Theology is understood to be the presentation of one specific system of faith after some logical method, and a distinction is made between Historical and Systematic Theology. The former traces the various doctrines of the faith in question through the different epochs and stages of culture, showing their historical process of growth and development; the latter presents these same doctrines in comprehensive form as a fixed system, as they have finally been elaborated and accepted upon the basis of the sacred scriptures and their authoritative interpretation.”[3]

“Theology and Philosophy of Religion differ widely in their character. Theology deals exclusively with a specific religion; in expounding one doctrinal system, it starts from a positive belief in a divine revelation and in the continued working of the divine spirit, affecting also the interpretation and further development of the sacred books. Philosophy of Religion, on the other hand, while dealing with the same subject matter as Theology, treats religion from a general point of view as a matter of experience, and, as every philosophy must, without any foregone conclusion. Consequently it submits the beliefs and doctrines of religion in general to an impartial investigation, recognizing neither a divine revelation nor the superior claims of any one religion above any other, its main object being to ascertain how far the universal laws of human reason agree or disagree with the assertions of faith.”[4]

“… we have learned to distinguish between subjective and objective truths, whereas theology by its very nature deals with truth as absolute. This makes it imperative for us to investigate historically the leading idea or fundamental principle underlying a doctrine, to note the different conceptions formed at various stages, and trace its process of growth.”[5]

“Judaism is a religion of historical growth, which, far from claiming to be the final truth, is ever regenerated anew at each turning point of history. The fall of the leaves at autumn requires no apology, for each successive spring testifies anew to nature’s power of resurrection.”[6]

“The object of a systematic theology of Judaism, accordingly, is to single out the essential forces of the faith.”[7]

Jewish theology differs radically from Christian theology in the following three points:

“A. The theology of Christianity deals with articles of faith formulated by the founders and heads of the Church as conditions of salvation , so that any alteration in favor of free thought threatens to undermine the very plan of salvation upon which the Church was founded. Judaism recognizes only such articles of faith as were adopted by the people voluntarily as expressions of their religious consciousness, both without external compulsion and without doing violence to the dictates of reason.”[8]

“Christian theology rests upon a formula of confession , the so-called Symbolum of the Apostolic Church, which alone makes one a Christian. Judaism has no such formula of confession which renders a Jew a Jew. No ecclesiastical authority ever dictated or regulated the belief of the Jew …”[9]

“The creed is a conditio sine qua non of the Christian Church. To disbelieve its dogmas is to cut oneself loose from membership. Judaism is quite different. The Jew is born into it and cannot extricate himself from it even by the renunciation of his faith, which would but render him an apostate Jew.”[10]

“The truth of the matter is that the aim and end of Judaism is not so much the salvation of the soul in the hereafter as the salvation of humanity in history …

It [i.e. Judaism] does not, therefore, claim to offer the final or absolute truth, as does Christian theology, whether orthodox or liberal. It simply points out the way leading to the highest obtainable truth.”[11]


[1] p.1

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] pp.1-2

[5] pp.3-4

[6] p.4

[7] Ibid.

[8] p.5

[9] Ibid.

[10] pp.5-6

[11] p.6

Introduction to the New Testament (1915) [Chapter 3]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

The Gospel of Mark


A) About the author of the chapter:

Louis Berkhof “graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1900 …

In 1902 he went to Princeton University for two years earning a B.D. degree …

In 1906 he was appointed to the faculty of Calvin Theological Seminary. He assumed the presidency of the seminary in 1931 …” [1]


B) Chapter Summary:

i) Contents

“We  may  divide  the  contents  of  Mark’s  Gospel,  that  treats  of  Christ  as  the  mighty Worker,  into  five  parts:

I. The Advent  of  the  mighty  Worker, 1:1 — 2:12 …

II. The Conflict  of  the  mighty  Worker, 2:12 — 8:26 …

III. The  Claim  of  the  mighty  Worker, 8:27 — 13:37 …

IV. The Sacrifice  of  the  mighty  Worker, 14:1—15:47 …

V. The mighty  Worker  as  Conqueror  of  Death, 16:1-20.”[1]

ii) Characteristics

“The  most  striking  peculiarity  of  the  second  Gospel  is  its  descriptive  character.  It  is Marks  constant  aim  to  picture  the  scenes  of  which  he  speaks  in  lively  colours.”[2]

e.g. the  look  of  anger  that  Christ  cast  on  the hypocrites  about  him,  3:5;  Jesus  taking little  children  in  his  arms and  blessing  them,  9:36;  10:16;  Jesus,  looking  at  the young  ruler,  loved  him,  10:21

“This  Gospel  contains  comparatively  little  of  the  teaching  of  Jesus;  it  rather  brings  out the  greatness  of  our  Lord  by  pointing  to  his  mighty  works,  and  in  doing  this  does  not  follow the  exact  chronological  order …

Mark,  though  considerably  smaller  than  Matthew,  contains  all the  miracles  narrated  by  the  latter  except  five,  and  besides  has  three  that  are  not  found  in Matthew.  Of  the  eighteen  miracles  in  Luke,  Mark  has  twelve  and  four  others  above  this number.”[3]

“In  the  Gospel  of  Mark  several  words  of  Christ  that  were  directed  against  the  Jews  are left  out,  such  as  we  find  in  Mt.  3:  7-10;  8:  5-13;  15:  24,  etc.  On  the  other  hand  more  Jewish customs  and  Aramaic  words  are  explained  than  in  the  first  Gospel,  f.  i.  2:18;  7:3;  14:12;  15:6, 42;  3:17;  5:41;  7:11,  34;  14:  36.  The  argument  from  prophecy  has  not  the  large  place  here that  it  has  in  Matthew.”[4]

“The  style  of  Mark  is  more  lively  than  that  of  Matthew,  though  not  as  smooth.  He  delights  in  using  words  like  εὐθύς or  εὐθέως and  πολύς prefers  the  use  of  the  present  and  the imperfect  to  that  of  the  aorist,  and  often  uses  the  periphrastic  εἶναι with  a  participle  instead of  the  finite  verb.  There  are  several  Latinisms  found  in  his  Gospel,  as  κεντυρίων,κορδάντης, κράββατος,πραιτώριον,  σπεκουλάτωρ and  φραγελλοῦν.”[5]

iii) Authorship

“Just  as  in  the  case  of  Matthew  we  are  entirely  dependent  on  external  testimony  for  the name  of  the  author  of  the  second  Gospel.”[6]

“… the  voice  of  antiquity  is  unanimous  in ascribing  it  to  Mark.  The  most  ancient  testimony  to  this  effect  is  that  of  Papias,  who  says: “Mark,  the  interpreter  of  Peter,  wrote  down  carefully  all  that  he  recollected,  though  he  did not  [record]  in  order  that  which  was  either  said  or  done  by  Christ.  For  he  neither  heard  the Lord  nor  followed  him;  but  subsequently,  as  I  have  said,  [attached  himself  to]  Peter,  who used  to  frame  his  teaching  to  meet  the  [immediate]  wants  [of  his  hearers]  ;  and  not  as making  a  connected  narrative  of  the  Lords  discourses.  So  Mark  committed  no  error,  as  he wrote  down  some  particulars  just  as  he  called  them  to  mind.  For  he  took  heed  to  one thing—to  omit  none  of  the  facts  that  he  heard,  and  to  state  nothing  falsely  in  [his  narrative] of  them.”  Several  other  church  fathers,  such  as  Irenaeus,  Clement  of  Alexandria,  Tertullian, Origen,  Jerome,  Eusebius,  e. a.,  follow  in  his  wake;  there  is  not  a  dissentient  voice.”[7]

“After  the  death  of  Peter  he [i.e. Mark]  is  said  to  have  visited  Alexandria,  where  he  was  the  first  to  found  Christian  churches,  and  finally  died  a  martyrs  death. This  tradition,  though  old,  is  not  without  suspicion.”[8]

Daniel Seely Gregory: “[Mark was] like  Peter  more  a  man  of  action  than  of  deep  and  abiding principle,  a  man  of  fervor  and  enthusiasm  rather  than  of  persevering  effort;  but  he  was transfused  by  the  power  of  the  same  Christ  who  transfused  Peter  into  the  man  of  rapid, continued  and  effective  effort  in  the  missionary  work  of  the  Church.”[9]

“Papias  says  that  “Mark was  Peters  interpreter  and  wrote  down  carefully  all  that  he  recollected.”  Clement  of  Alexandria  also  says  that  he  wrote  down  the  discourses  of  Peter,  as  he  remembered  them.  Irenaeus, Tertullian  and  Jerome  all  style  Mark  “the  interpreter  of  Peter.”  Tertullian  even  says  that  “the Gospel  published  by  Mark  may  be  reckoned  Peter’s,  whose  interpreter  he  was.”  And  Origen still  stronger:  “Mark  wrote  his  Gospel  according  to  the  dictates  of  Peter.”  Similarly  Athanasius.  All  these  testimonies  agree  in  asserting  that  Mark  was  dependent  on  Peter  in  writing his  Gospel;  they  disagree,  however,  as  to  the  degree  of  dependence,  some  claiming  merely that  Mark  recorded  what  he  remembered  of  Peters  preaching,  and  others,  that  he  wrote what  Peter  dictated.”[10]

“The  Gospel  itself  incidentally  testifies  to  the  relation  in  which  it  stands  to  Peter.  There are  many  touches  that  indicate  first-hand  knowledge,  as  in  1:16-20;  1:29;  9:5; 15:54,  72;  16: 7.  Some  things  found  in  the  other  Synoptics  are  unexpectedly  omitted  by  Mark,  as  Peters walking  on  the  water,  Mt.  14:  29;  his  appearance  in  the  incident  of  the  tribute  money,  Mt. 17:  24-27;  the  statement  of  Christ  that  He  prayed  for  Peter  individually,  Lk.  22: 32;  the  significant  word  spoken  to  him  as  the  Rock,  Mt.  16:18.  In  other  cases  his  name  is  suppressed, where  it  is  used  by  Matthew  or  Luke,  as  7:17  cf.  Mt.  15: 15;  14:13  cf.  Lk.  22:8.”[11]

Continue reading “Introduction to the New Testament (1915) [Chapter 3]”

The Literature of the Old Testament (1913) [Chapter 3]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

The Pentateuch


A) About the author of the chapter:

George Foot Moore “graduated from Yale College in 1872 and from Union Theological Seminary in 1877, in 1878 Moore was ordained in the Presbyterian ministry and until 1883 was pastor of the Putnam Presbyterian Church, Zanesville, Ohio.

He was Hitchcock professor of the Hebrew language and literature at Andover Theological Seminary, 1883–1902. In 1902 he became professor of theology and in 1904 professor of the history of religion at Harvard University.” [1]


B) Chapter Summary:

“The Old Testament begins with a comprehensive historical work, reaching from the creation of the world to the fall of the kingdom of Judah (586 B.C.), which in the Hebrew Bible is divided into nine books (Genesis-Kings). The Jews made a greater division at the end of the fifth book (Deuteronomy) and treated the first five books (the Pentateuch) as a unit, with a character and name of its own, the Law.”[1]

“The names of the several books in our Bibles are derived from the Greek version, and indicate in a general way the subject of the book, or, more exactly, the subject with which it begins: Genesis, the creation of the world; Exodus, the escape from Egypt; Leviticus, the priests’ book; Numbers, the census of the tribes; Deuteronomy, the second legislation, or the recapitulation of the law.”[2]

“The three middle books of the Pentateuch (Exodus-Numbers) are more closely connected with one another than with the preceding and following books (Genesis, Deuteronomy); in fact, they form a whole which is only for convenience in handling divided into parts. In these books narrative and legislation are somewhat unequally represented. Exod. 1-19 is almost all narrative, as are also c. 24, and cc. 32-34; the story is picked up again in Num. 10, what lies between is wholly legislative; in Num. 10-27, 28-36, narrative and laws alternate, the latter predominating. It is evident that from the author’s point of view the narrative was primarily a historical setting for the Mosaic legislation.”[3]

“Deuteronomy begins with a brief retrospect (Deut. 1-3) of the movements of the Israelites from the time they left the Mount of God till they arrived in the Plains of Moab, the lifetime of a whole generation. There, as they are about to cross the Jordan to possess the Land of Promise, Moses delivers to them the law which they shall observe in the land, and with many exhortations and warnings urges them to be faithful to their religion with its distinctive worship and morals. Thus Deuteronomy also presents itself essentially as legislation.”[4]

“The history of the Israelite tribes opens with the account of the oppression in Egypt, the introduction to the story of deliverance. Its antecedents are found in the Book of Genesis, the migration of Jacob and his sons from Palestine to Egypt several generations earlier in a time of famine; and this in turn is but the last chapter in the patriarchal story which begins with the migration of Abraham from Syria or Babylonia to Palestine.”[5]

“Gen. 1-11 tells of creation and first men; the great flood; the dispersion of the peoples, with a genealogical table showing the affinities of the several races and another tracing the descent of Abraham in direct line from Shem the son of Noah. But even in Genesis the interest in the law manifests itself in various ways, such as the sanction of the sabbath, the prohibition of blood, and the introduction of circumcision.”[6]

“In regarding the whole Pentateuch as Law, or, to express it more accurately, as a revelation of the principles and observances of religion, the Jews were, therefore, doing no violence to the character and spirit of these books; and in ascribing them to Moses they were only extending to the whole the authorship which is asserted in particular of many of the laws, and especially of the impressive exhortations in Deuteronomy which form the climactic close of his work as a legislator.”[7]

[1] pp.29-30

[2] p.30

[3] Ibid.

[4] pp.30-31

[5] p.31

[6] Ibid.

[7] pp.31-32

C) Chapter Review:

  • Readability: 7/10
  • Theological depth: 5/10
  • Any other comments: Interestingly enough, George Foot Moore did not touch on the different theories regarding the authorship of the Pentateuch. The chapter, just like the previous one, was really short & found wanting content wise.


Introduction to the New Testament (1915) [Chapter 2]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

The Gospel of Matthew


A) About the author of the chapter:

Louis Berkhof “graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1900 …

In 1902 he went to Princeton University for two years earning a B.D. degree …

In 1906 he was appointed to the faculty of Calvin Theological Seminary. He assumed the presidency of the seminary in 1931 …” [1]


B) Chapter Summary:

i) Contents

“The  Gospel  of  Matthew  may  be  divided  into  five  parts:

The Advent  of  the  Messiah, 1:1 – 4:11 …

The Public  proclamation  of  Messiah’s  Kingdom, 4:12 – 16:12 …

The  Distinct  and  Public  Claim  of  Messiahship, 16:13 – 23:39 …

The Sacrifice  of  Messiah  the  Priest, 24:1 – 27:66 …

The Triumph  of  Messiah  the  Saviour  and  King.”[1]

ii) Characteristics

“As  to form  we  find,  in  the  first  place,  a  characteristically  Jewish  numerical  arrangement of  things  in  this  Gospel.  The  genealogy  in  ch.  1  consists  of  three  groups  of  generations  of fourteen  each.  There  are  seven  beatitudes  ch.  5;  seven  petitions  in  the  Lord’s  prayer  ch.  6;  a group  of  seven  parables  ch.  13;  and  seven  woes  on  Pharisees  and  Scribes  ch.  23.”[2]

“As  to  the style  of  Matthew,  in  the  second  place,  may  be  said  that  it  is  smoother  than  that  of  Mark, though  not  so  vivid.  But  it  is  tinged  with  Hebraisms,  less  indeed  than  the  language  of  Luke, but  more  than  that  of  Mark.  It  is  rather  impersonal,  lacking  in  individuality.”[3]

“The  arrangement  of  the  material  in  this  Gospel  also  differs  considerably  from  that  in the  other  Synoptics.  The  narrative  is  not  continuous,  but  is  interrupted  by  five  great  discourses,  such  as  are  not  found  in  the  Gospels  of  Mark  and  Luke,  viz,  the  Sermon  on  the Mount,  chs.  5-7;  the  charge  to  the  apostles,  ch.  10;  the  parables  of  the  Kingdom,  ch.  13;  the discourse  on  the  church,  ch.  18;  and  the  final  eschatological  discourses  of  Christ  on  the  last judgment,  chs.  23-25.  After  every  one  of  these  discourses  we  find  the  words:  “And  it  came to  pass,  when  Jesus  had  ended  (made  an  end  of,  finished)  these  sayings,  etc.””[4]

“As  to  contents  the  following  peculiarities  deserve  our  attention:  In  the  first  place  the Gospel  of  Matthew  has  a  more  Jewish  aspect,  than  the  other  Synoptics.  Its  predominant subject  is,  the  Messiah  and  his  Kingdom …

In  the  second  place  the  first  Gospel  alludes to  the  Old  Testament  more  frequently  than  any  other:  It  emphasizes  the  fact  that  the  New Testament  reveals  the  fulfilment  of  Old  Testament  promises;  that  Christ  was  born,  revealed himself  and  labored  as  the  prophets  of  old  had  foretold.  Matthew  contains  more  than  40 quotations,  while  Mark  has  21  and  Luke,  22.”[5]

iii) Authorship

“The  superscription  ascribes  the  first  Gospel  to  Matthew.  That  this  embodies  the  opinion of  the  early  Church  is  evident  from  the  testimony  of  Irenaeus,  Tertullian,  Origen,  Eusebius and  several  others,  who  all  point  to  Matthew  as  the  author.”[6]

“The  Gospel  itself  shows  unmistakably,  by  its  Jewish  physiognomy,  that  its  author  was  a  Jew,  yea  even  that  he  was  a Palestinian  Jew,  for  he  quotes  from  the  Hebrew  and  not  from  the  Septuagint.”[7]

“It  contains  no direct  evidence,  however  to  the  authorship  of  Matthew,  though  there  are  a  couple  points  of difference  between  it  and  the  other  Synoptics  that  are  best  explained  on  the  assumption  that Matthew  wrote  it.  When  we  compare  the  lists  of  the  twelve  apostles  in  Mt.  10:2-4;  Mk.  3: 16-19;  and  Luke  6:14-  16,  we  notice  that  only  in  the  first  Gospel  the  name  Matthew  is  followed by  the  less  honorable  qualification  “the  publican  ;”  and  that  it  has  the  order,  “Thomas  and Matthew”  instead  of,  “Matthew  and  Thomas.’”[8]

“Our  information  regarding  Matthew  is  very  scanty.  We  read  of  him  first  in  connection with  the  call  to  follow  Jesus,  Mt.  9:  9,  10;  Mk.  2:14,  15;  Lk.  5 :  27-29.  There  is  no  reason  to doubt  that  the  Matthew  of  the  first  Gospel  is  the  Levi  of  the  second  and  third.  Possibly  his name  was  changed  by  the  Lord  after  his  call  to  the  discipleship,  just  as  those  of  Peter  and Paul.”[9]

“A  veil  of  obscurity  is  cast  over  the  apostolic career  of  Matthew.  Tradition  has  it  that  he  remained  at  Jerusalem  with  the  other  apostles for  about  twelve  years  after  the  death  of  the  Lord,  laboring  among  his  fellow-countrymen. When  the  work  was  done,  it  is  said,  he  preached  the  Gospel  to  others,  according  to  the popular  opinion  in  Ethiopia.  He  probably  died  a  natural  death.”[10]

iv) Composition

“A  hotly  debated  question  is  that  regarding  the  language  in  which Matthew  originally  wrote  his  Gospel.  The  difficulty  of  the  problem  arises  from  the  fact  that external  testimony  and  internal  evidence  seem  to  disagree.  As  a  result  the  camp  is  very  much divided,  some  scholars  ardently  defending  a  Hebrew,  others  with  equal  zeal  a  Greek  original.”[11]

“… evidence  both  external  and  internal  has  given  rise  to  several  theories,  which  we  can  briefly  state  in  the  following  manner:

(1.)  Matthew  wrote  his  Gospel  in  Hebrew  and  someone  else  translated  it  into Greek.  This  position  was  held  by  the  Church  in  general  until  the  time  of  the  Reformation. Since  then  several  Protestant  scholars  took  another  view,  because  Rome  defended  the  ultimate authority  of  the  Vulgate  by  pointing  out  that  the  Greek  Matthew  was  also  merely  a  translation. The  attacks  of  Rationalism  on  the  so-called  second-hand  Matthew,  and  the  dubious  character of  a  part  of  the  ancient  testimony,  also  served  to  bring  this  theory  into  discredit …

(2.)  There  never  was  a  Hebrew  original,  but  Matthew  wrote  his  Gospel  in  the  Greek language.  The  present  gospel  is  not  a  translation,  but  an  original  work …

(3.)  Matthew  wrote  neither  a  Hebrew  nor  a  Greek  Gospel,  but,  if  anything,  a  work  called the  λόγια by  Papias,  which  must  have  been  a  collection  of  the  sayings  or  discourses  of  the Lord.  According  to  some  these  λόγια are  lost,  but  must  probably  be  identified  with  one  of the  supposed  sources  (Q)  of  our  present  Gospels.  Others  as  Godet  and  Holdsworth  believe that  the  work  contained  the  discourses  that  we  find  in  the  Gospel  of  Matthew  and  was therefore  incorporated  bodily  in  our  present  Gospel.

(4.)  The  evangelist  after  writing  his  Gospel  in  Hebrew  with  a  view  to  his  countrymen, possibly  when  he  had  left  Palestine  to  labor  elsewhere,  translated  or  rather  furnished  a  new recension  of  his  Gospel  in  the  Greek  language  with  a  view  to  the  Jews  of  the  Diaspora.  The former  was  soon  lost  and  altogether  replaced  by  the  latter.”[12]

“The  Gospel  of  Matthew  was  undoubtedly  destined  for  the  Jews. This  is  expressly  stated  by  Irenaeus,  Origen,  Eusebius,  Gregory  Nazianzen,  e. a.  This  testimony is  corroborated  by  internal  evidence.  The  genealogy  of  Jesus  goes  back  only  to  Abraham, the  father  of  the  Hebrew  race;  and  in  harmony  with  the  tenets  of  the  Jews  the  Messiahship of  Christ  is  proved  from  the  prophets.  The  whole  Gospel  impresses  one  as  being  occasioned by  the  exigencies  of  the  Jews  both  in  Palestine  and  without.”[13]

“Irenaeus  makes  a  very definite  statement,  viz.:  “Matthew  among  the  Hebrews  published  a  Gospel  in  their  own language,  while  Peter  and  Paul  were  preaching  the  Gospel  at  Rome  and  founding  a  church there.”  This  must  have  been  somewhere  between  63-67  A.  D.”[14]

“The  dates  assigned  to  this  Gospel  by  rationalistic  critics  range  from about  70  to  125  A.  D.”[15]

“The  question  arises,  whether  Matthew  used  sources  in  the  composition  of his  Gospel.  The  prevalent  opinion  at  present  is  that  the  writer  of  this  Gospel,  whoever  he may  have  been,  drew  in  the  main  on  two  sources,  viz,  on  the  λόγια of  Matthew  for  the  discourses  of  the  Lord,  and  on  the  Gospel  of  Mark  for  the  narrative  portion  of  his  work …

Against  these  see  Davidson  and  Salmon.  Zahn’s  opinion  is  that  Mark  employed  the  Hebrew  Matthew  in  the  composition  of his  Gospel,  and  that  the  writer  of  our  Greek  Matthew  in  turn  used  the  Gospel  of  Mark.”[16]

“All  we  can  say  is  (1)  that  in  all  probability  the  Hebrew  Matthew  depended  on  oral tradition  only;  (2)  that  our  Greek  Matthew  is  based  on  the  Hebrew;  and  (3)  that  it  is  not impossible  that  Matthew  had  read  the  Gospel  of  Mark  before  he  composed  the  present Greek  Gospel.”[17]

v) Canonical Significance

“This [i.e. traces  of  the Gospel of Matthew’s  use,  especially  of  the  Sermon  on  the  Mount  in  the  Didache, and the Gospel of Matthew being clearly  quoted  in  the  Epistle  of  Barnabas] proves  that  the  Gospel  was  used  and  recognized  as  canonical in  the  early  part  of  the  second  century.”[18]

“Further  it  is  abundantly  testified  to  until  the  beginning of  the  third  century,  when  all  controversy  ceases,  there  being  up  to  that  time  altogether  21 witnesses,  so  that  this  Gospel  is  one  of  the  best  attested  books  in  the  New  Testament.  Among these  witnesses  are  the  old  Latin  and  Syriac  Versions  that  contain  this  Gospel;  early  church fathers  that  refer  to  it  as  authoritative  or  quote  it;  and  heretics  who,  even  while  attacking the  truth,  tacitly  admit  the  canonical  character  of  the  Gospel.”[19]

“This  book  is  properly  placed  at  the  very  beginning  of  the  New  Testament.  It  forms  part of  the  foundation  on  which  the  New  Testament  structure  was  to  be  reared.  And  among  the Gospels,  which  together  constitute  this  foundation,  it  is  rightly  put  in  the  first  place.  It  is, as  it  were,  a  connecting  link  between  the  Old  Testament  and  the  New.  As  the  Old  Testament had  reference  to  the  Jews  only,  so  the  Gospel  of  Matthew  is  written  for  the  old  covenant people.  And  it  is  clearly  linked  to  the  Old  Testament  by  its  continual  reference  to  the prophets.”[20]

“The  permanent  spiritual  value  of  this  Gospel  is  that  it  sets  forth  in  clear  outline Christ  as  the  One  promised  of  old;  and,  in  harmony  with  the  prophetic  literature,  especially as  the  great  divine  King,  before  whom  the  Church  of  all  ages  must  bow  down  in  adoration.”[21]

[1] pp.37-38

[2] p.38

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] pp.38-39

[6] p.39

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] p.40

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] pp.41-42

[13] p.43

[14] p.44

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] p.45

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

C) Chapter Review:

  • Readability: 9/10
  • Theological depth: 8/10
  • Any other comments: Louis Berkhof’s summary of the different positions out there re the composition of Matthew is very helpful. It gives the reader just enough information & if the reader is curious to know more, he/she can delve into the scholarship on the issue.