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The Study of Theology by the Apostles

The Study of Theology by the Apostles

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY CHARLES AUGUSTUS BRIGGS
BY CHARLES AUGUSTUS BRIGGS

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 15, 2013
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01/26/2014

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THE STUDY OF THEOLOGY BY THE APOSTLESBY CHARLES AUGUSTUS BRIGGS1. Jesus gathered about Him gradually a large body of disciples, out of which He selected twelve to be with Him inHis journeys and receive special preparation for the work to which He had called them.A careful study of the Gospels shows that there was anatural and simple development in the calling, training,and sending forth of the twelve apostles by Jesus duringHis life on earth. The Synoptic narrative tells of thecall of the four fishermen, Simon and Andrew, Jamesand John, and of Matthew the publican. The narrativeof John tells of the call of Andrew and Simon, Philipand athanael, and a fiith, probably John. How andwhen the others among the Tw^elve were called by Jesuswe are not told. But it was not long before a group of twelve was selected to be the companions of Jesus inHis ministry.^ This following of Jesus involved theabandonment of home, familj^ and property, and ashare in His sufferings, the endurance of hunger and cold,sorrow and reproach. At the installation of the TwelveJesus gave them the Sermon on the Mount, in which Hecalled them blessed because of their voluntary renuncia-tion of all things in order to follow Him. The list of the Twelve gives the names in pairs, because thesedisciples were sent forth in pairs on their missions.^1 Vide Brigga, iVVu? Light on the Life of Jesus, pp. 34 seq.• Vide Briggs, Ethical Teaching of Jesus, pp. 224 a«y.28 HISTORY OF THE STUDY OF THEOLOGY [pt. lThe list is as follows : ^ (1) Simon and Andrew, (2) Jamesand John, (3) Philip and Bartholomew (athanael),(4) Thomas and Matthew, (5) James bar Alphseus (Mary),and Lebb8eus=Thadd8eus= Judas, his brother, (6) Simonthe Canaanite, or Zealot, and Judas Iscariot.*2. These disciples were all pious Jews. Inasmuch asthey were selected by Jesus to he teachers and preachers,
 
we may conclude that they already had special qualificationsfor such work.Jesus' choice of them to be His companions, assistants,and representatives implies that they had ability andintellectual acquirements as well as piety. The factthat four of them were fishermen, and one a publican,does not militate against this. Jesus saw that they couldbe made ' fishers of men.' '3. These pious Jews had doubtless the elementaryJewish education, and some of them probably a highereducation.It is probable that James and John, Philip, athanaeland Thomas, at least, had received an education some-what higher than the common one.* Philip andathanael were students of Scripture. John seems tohave been acquainted with the high priest, and musttherefore have been a man of some position.^ Early inHis ministry Jesus preached and baptized for a time inthe neighbourhood of the Baptist, and the disciples of Jesus were with Him, serving as His assistants.* Indeed,it was not Jesus who baptized, but His discij)les. Hisfirst disciples therefore began very soon to assist Himin His ministry, and must have been qualified for suchservice.1 Vide Matt. x. 2-4 ; Mark iii. 16-19 ; Luke vi. 13-16 ; Acts i. 13.2 Vide Brigsjs, 'The Apostolic Commission,' in Studies in Honour of B. L. Gildersleevef i.« Mark i. 17. ¦* Vide Bruce, Training of the Twelve, pp. 6 sea.» John i. 45 se(^. ; John xviii. 15-16. ® John iii. 22-30 ; iv. 1,CH. m.] STUDY OF THEOLOGY BY THE APOSTLES 294. At least five of these Twelve, probably six, had beendisciples of John the Baptist, and had been trained byhim in his doctrines and methods.Andrew and Simon, Philip and athanael, were allwith John the Baptist at the time that he pointed out
 
Jesus to his disciples as the Messiah. The disciple whosename is not given, and who was one of the two thatfollowed Jesus as ' the Lamb of God,' was in all proba-bility John. It is therefore likely that his brotherJames, who is associated with him in the Gospels onvarious occasions, was also a disciple of the Baptist.All of these men had received the baptism of repentanceand were actively engaged in preparation for the comingof the Messiah, in accordance with the teaching of theirmaster.6. All the Twelve had the unique privilege of beingtrained by Jesus Himself.They were all constantly with Him for some monthsof study and preparation. Jesus regarded them asgiven to Him by the Father. He made them all Hisfriends, and entrusted to them His teaching.^ One of those thus privileged testified that, ' having loved Hisown which were in the world (Jesus) loved them untothe end.' «6. The preparation of the Twelve for their ministry waspartly inform and method, partly in substance and doctrine.The Twelve were trained as prophets, priests, andkings of the kingdom of God by the Messiah Himself.In their training the theoretical and the practical werecombined. They were taught by example as well asprecept, and were given opportunity to practise whatthey learned in a ministry of assistance. They wereshown that there is an ethical relation in the teaching of 1 John XV. 15 ; xvii. 6, 8. * John xiii. 1,30 HISTORY OF THE STUDY OF THEOLOGY [pt. i.Jesus between knowing and doing, and that the know-ledge of the higher teaching depends upon the practiceof the lower. ^ They were warned against the Phariseesas teachers that ' say and do not.' ^7. The Twelve were instructed by Jesus in all that isfound recorded in the Synoptic Gospels, and much thatis contained in the Gospel of John.

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