Introduction

Acknowledgment

This material was prepared for the Correspondence School Department by Herbert J. Hunt, Dean of Bible Studies for the Unity School of Christianity. Doctor Hunt, whose classes in Bible are eagerly attended by ministerial students, teacher-counsellor trainees, and others, brings to his teaching a rich background of experience both in the Unity ministry and at Unity School of Christianity. W e are deeply appreciative of the contributions he has made and is making to the Unity educational program, and especially do we acknowledge the insight and understanding he has expressed in these correspondence lessons.

CORRESPONDENCE SCHOOL DEPARTMENT

FOREWORD - PART TWO

After carefully studying the twelve lessons forming the first part of this course, and devoting the necessary time and effort involved in working through the related test questions, the student should now be ready to take up Part Two of the Study of the New Testament. Throughout the course, the lessons have been arranged in logical sequence, and the student will recognize the importance of continuing to proceed in the suggested order. He will also find that the knowledge gained in Part One will prove to be of inestimable value when considering the developments that will be discussed in Part Two. Furthermore, this knowledge will also help to guard against some misunderstandings which might otherwise arise. Thus, Part One may be thought of as a good foundation upon which may be raised the structure of Part Two. All this will become clear as the lessons proceed.

However, before entering upon the first lesson of Part Two, there are some preliminary items which should be given brief consideration: First: The Relationship between Part One and Part Two of This Course. Part One dealt with the life, teachings, and activities of Jesus Christ as recorded in the four Gospels. Part Two is concerned with the activities of the apostles, and with the growth and development of what is usually termed the Apostolic Church. The basic record book for this study will therefore be the Acts of the Apostles, together with the Letters (or Epistles) which were written by the apostles and their associates. It will be further noted that while most of the activities dealt with in Part One took place in the Holy Land, the activities discussed in Part Two extended over many other sections of the ancient world. At the same time, however, we should recognize that both Part One and Part Two deal essentially with the same story, viz: the founding and development of early Christianity. Thus, we are not dealing with two stories, but one.

Second: A Slight Change in the Text. In Part Two of this course. Scripture quotations will be from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible (Nelson), unless otherwise mentioned. In Part I, quotations are from the American Standard Version (Nelson). The change has been made for two main reasons: (1) the American Standard Version may not be reprinted, and therefore will be increasingly difficult to obtain; and (2) the Revised Standard Version is now coming into general use, and has a number of advantages over former versions. However, for his own individual study, the student may continue to use the version of the Bible with which he is most familiar, and in this way he will have no difficulty in following the lessons.

Third: A Reminder Regarding Method of Study. In the opening section of Part One the suggestion was made that the student adopt the following plan of study: (1) Open the New Testament, and carefully read the passage, or passages, given at the head of the section of the lesson to be studied. (2) Read the lesson comments dealing with this particular passage, or passages, seeking to gain a thorough grasp of the important features indicated. (3) Read once again from the New Testament the indicated passage, or passages, noting how much clearer and more interesting they then become. This procedure should be followed for each section of the lesson—and for each lesson. Of course, this will call for a certain amount of mental discipline; but such discipline will reward the student with many rich and lasting gains, and the New Testament will soon become for him a truly "living Book!"