The Big Difference

When it comes to putting dates of authorship on New Testament books, a big difference exists between the internal evidence available to date the Gospels verses Acts. What is that difference? To begin with, they describe two different periods of time. The Gospels each tell of the first thirty years (Birth of Christ c. 0A.D. — Ascension c. 30 A.D.), and Acts tells of the second thirty ( c. 30 – c. 60 A.D. ). While there are no New Testament letters written during the events described in the Gospels (0 – 30 AD), there are six letters written during and pertaining directly to the events described within Acts 15-28. That is the difference I wish to highlight and it is a big difference!

Five of these letters have easily identifiable locations within Acts. I describe these chapters of Acts and the letters as the ‘pins and tails of a dovetail joint’. A dovetail joint is one of the strongest joints in woodworking. Well made joints and tails fit snuggly, making two pieces of wood act as one. Just as a fine dovetail joint is strong and holds well under pressure, Acts 15-28 (particularly 18-20)  corroborates with the five or six letters as if we were reading the wartime correspondence of Abraham Lincoln next to a Civil War textbook. The letters* shed fascinating light on the chapters of Acts and vice versa

1st Thessalonians,
2nd Thessalonians
1st Corinthians
2nd Corinthians
Romans

 

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