In your opinion, why should the book Revelation be included in the New Testament?

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This is a difficult case to make, because Revelation has come under scrutiny for its authenticity and message repeatedly, beginning almost immediately after it was written. Revelation is distinguished by its otherworldly tone and fantastical depictions of monsters and spiritual armies; this seems wholly unfitting with many of the more personal, optimistic and "rational" arguments and characters in the New Testament. Nevertheless, Revelation fulfills several important roles both in its inclusion in the Bible, as well as in its placement as the final book in most bindings.

  • Revelation gives Christ numerous opportunities to be challenged by, and be victorious over, the forces of evil. It shows that Christ will endure any and all powers that evil can muster, even if Man cannot.
  • Revelation establishes, with a sense of finality, that there is a definite end of the world, to which all should be minded. Just as our own lives end, so will mortal existence itself.
  • Revelation shows that God has it within his power to eliminate Satan's influence forever, and that this will be done. This gives rise to questions such as "why does God allow Satan's power to persist?" which lends strength to the argument that sin is a choice God allows us to make.
  • If one chooses to interpret Revelation in a largely symbolic manner, it serves as a powerful historical account of the struggles early Christians faced, particularly with how to fit into a society that was so antithetical to their beliefs. Revelation serves to show that, regardless of its earthly power, no manmade kingdom can compare to the power of God's kingdom.
  • Revelation reaffirms that Christ's life and importance was not confined to his own lifetime, and his power immense and eternal; he speaks to John, and to the reader, thus;
    Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

All of these elements make Revelation an important "bookend" that completes the story of Christian faith by giving a sort of climax, tying up loose ends, and depicting the future not as a murky series of vague promises, but as a vivid, specific prophecy.

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In your opinion, why should the book of Matthew be included in the New Testament?

The Gospel of Matthew has several incredibly strong arguments that link it firmly to the New Testament and show without much doubt at all that is should be definitely included in the New Testament. Firstly, it corresponds very closely with two other gospel accounts of the life of Jesus, so much so that Matthew, Mark and Luke are called the synoptic gospels, referring to the "common" story that they share and tell about Jesus and his life and ministry. This offers significant proof that it is accurate and reliable, as it account tallies with the account given in other books that are recognised as being part of the New Testament.

Secondly, it has overt and deliberate ties to the Old Testament, and it seeks throughout its pages to show that Jesus is the fulfilment of all of the Old Testament prophecies and promises. Matthew is the gospel that contains most verses from the Old Testament, and it also, in Matthew 1, seeks to establish a direct link from Abraham to the birth of Jesus, as Matthew 1:17 demonstrates:

Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.

The genealogy that begins the gospel thus presents Jesus as a direct product and outcome of the Old Testament. Lastly, the Gospel of Matthew should be included in the New Testament because it is the gospel that was used most by the early church, and it was cited by the early church fathers more than twice as often as other gospels. This indicates very strongly that the early church immensely valued this gospel, and therefore church tradition supports its inclusion in the New Testament.

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In your opinion, why should the book Mark be included in the New Testament in The Bible?

The Gospel of Mark should be included in the New Testament first and foremost because its account of the life and ministry bears such a close resemblance to what is written about Jesus in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. This is such an apparent similarity that some critics even go as far as to argue that the Gospel of Mark is an amended version of the Gospel of Matthew. However, the majority of scholars argue that it is significantly different in a number of ways and has its own value and importance. Either way, the common account that these three gospels share have led to them being called the synoptic gospels, with "synoptic" meaning "common" to point to the common account of Jesus that they all share. This is certainly one test that would indicate very strongly if this gospel should be included within the canon of scripture; if it contained teaching that was not supported elsewhere in other parts of scripture then this would be a clear indication that it should not be included.

Secondly, I think this gospel account should be included in the New Testament because of the central message that it brings about discipleship and what it means to follow God. Note how this is encapsulated in Mark 8: 34-35:

If any of you would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.

This, to me, is a beautiful, concise and succinct statement of the true logic of following Christ, and this in itself corresponds to biblical teaching on discipleship in so many different ways.

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