Why "The Faith" Matters

The faith of the the Apostles is enshrined in the Gospels, outlined in their preaching in the Book of Acts and expounded and taught in their Epistles. Though there are different ways in which this faith is expressed, it is one and the same faith in all three accounts. This faith is common to the writings because they were written by apostles or close companions of the apostles.

Can We Discover “The Faith” in the New Testament Itself?

I believe you can discover a rather simple and straightforward outline of the apostolic faith by studying the preaching of Peter in Acts 2. Most exegetes of this text agree that this was not the “whole” sermon of Peter at Pentecost but rather an outline. Consider further the words we read in Acts 2:14–36:

14 Peter stood with the eleven apostles and spoke in a loud and clear voice to the crowd:

Friends and everyone else living in Jerusalem, listen carefully to what I have to say! 15 You are wrong to think that these people are drunk. After all, it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 But this is what God had the prophet Joel say,

17 

“When the last days come,
I will give my Spirit
to everyone.
Your sons and daughters
will prophesy.
Your young men
will see visions,
and your old men
will have dreams.

18 

In those days I will give
my Spirit to my servants,
both men and women,
and they will prophesy.

19 

I will work miracles
in the sky above
and wonders
on the earth below.
There will be blood and fire
and clouds of smoke.

20 

The sun will turn dark,
and the moon
will be as red as blood
before the great
and wonderful day
of the Lord appears.

21 

Then the Lord
will save everyone
who asks for his help.”

22 Now, listen to what I have to say about Jesus from Nazareth. God proved that he sent Jesus to you by having him work miracles, wonders, and signs. All of you know this. 23 God had already planned and decided that Jesus would be handed over to you. So you took him and had evil men put him to death on a cross. 24 But God set him free from death and raised him to life. Death could not hold him in its power. 25 What David said are really the words of Jesus,

“I always see the Lord
near me,
and I will not be afraid
with him at my right side.

26 

Because of this,
my heart will be glad,
my words will be joyful,
and I will live in hope.

27 

The Lord won’t leave me
in the grave.
I am his holy one,
and he won’t let
my body decay.

28 

He has shown me
the path to life,
and he makes me glad
by being near me.”

 

29 My friends, it is right for me to speak to you about our ancestor David. He died and was buried, and his tomb is still here. 30 But David was a prophet, and he knew that God had made a promise he would not break. He had told David that someone from his own family would someday be king.

31 David knew this would happen, and so he told us that Christ would be raised to life. He said that God would not leave him in the grave or let his body decay. 32 All of us can tell you that God has raised Jesus to life!

33 Jesus was taken up to sit at the right side of God, and he was given the Holy Spirit, just as the Father had promised. Jesus is also the one who has given the Spirit to us, and that is what you are now seeing and hearing.

34 David didn’t go up to heaven. So he wasn’t talking about himself when he said, “The Lord told my Lord to sit at his right side, 35 until he made my Lord’s enemies into a footstool for him.” 36 Everyone in Israel should then know for certain that God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ, even though you put him to death on a cross (CEV).

I hope you read this passage, provided above in a clear and contemporary (easy-to-read) version. If not then please go back and read it, or even read it again. It is rich in specific and important details regarding the “core” of the Christian faith.

Add to this text the words of Acts 10:36–43 and I think you have the basic elements of what can rightly be called “apostolic Christianity.”

Tomorrow I will demonstrate how these kinds of texts led the church to adopt summaries of “the faith” in what we call The Creeds.

 

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