WHY 2 CORINTHIANS 5:11-21?
I am indebted to Frank Viola’s book The Untold Story of the New Testament Church, published back in 2004, simply because it was the first book that mapped the New Testament books in their context, chronologically. Understanding what the apostles faced as they wrote letters back and forth provided deep insights into application at that time and for us today. As Frank Viola quotes on page 11 of his book, another author, James Jeffers, from his work, The Greco-Roman World of the New Testament Era: Exploring the Background of Early Christianity:
“One can always read some kind of meaning into a verse of Scripture. But those who understand that the books of the New Testament were written to specific people, in specific places, nearly two thousand years ago, know that this is not a good idea. If the New Testament texts were written to make sense to people in the first century, then we must try to put ourselves into their places in order to determine what the writers of the New Testament intended their readers to understand by what they wrote. If we try to make sense of the Bible with no knowledge of the people who wrote it, those who read it and the society in which they lived, we will be inclined to read into the Scriptures our own society’s values and ideas. This would be a major mistake since our culture is very different from that of the ancient Romans.”
While the series on forgiveness is incredibly short - one message in fact - the context is still critical and I intend, as you see from the Bibliography, to draw from a series of sources that can help us explore the deep nature of forgiveness and the implications that Jesus has called us to, should we engage in the ministry of reconciliation.
These are a few of the suggested books and commentaries for the series Forgiven.
NIV The Books of the Bible, New Testament by Biblica
The Untold Story of the New Testament Church by Frank Viola
The Paul Debate by N. T. Wright
Paul for Everyone by N. T. Wright
Paul and the Faithfulness of God by N. T. Wright
Unashamed by Christine Caine
Steps to Christ by Ellen White
Jesus Loves You, This I Know by Craig Gross and Jason Harpe