Book Review: “The Untold Story of the NT”

Posted by Gabriel (G²) on June 23, 2008

and should someone hit up somewhere like this, http://www.hccentral.com/fresour.html, they should be able to find most of the books that Viola referred to in his writings in PAGAN Christianity). One of the books I know of by Viola which was very intriguing/recommened to me was one by this name:

As others have said about it,

WOW! Wonderful book! If you have been confused on how the NT fits together and what the context, situation, occasion and purpose behind the writing of the NT letters then you’ve got to read this book! I wish this book would have been around years ago. Every Believer should read this book!
5 out of 5 stars
Viola’s epic volume “The Untold Story of the New Testament Church” is absolutely the best little guide to understanding the order of events in the life of the first-century ekklesia! Viola relies on the scholarship of F.F. Bruce, Donald Guthrie, and A.T. Robinson for the dating of the books. He wonderfully weaves together the book of Acts with the Epistles to create one amazing story. Viola follows the story of the church according to Acts and successfully places the epistles in their historical-cultural context. Enabling the reader to better apply the Scriptures to their life. The New Testament comes alive in movie form as Viola uses some of the best N.T. scholarship to reassemble the entire story of the church as it happened in the beginning! I found that this book was able to give me deep insight into the lives and the circumstances behind the writings of the letters of the Apostles. Viola helps the reader along with his use of maps and background information on people and places. His book is easy to read. You follow his graphic retelling of Acts and stop to read an epistle at every point in time the book was believed to have been written. His book is fluid and he makes little to no assumptions about the chronology of the events. I connected with Paul’s trials and tribulations in ways I never had before. Many times I had to stop reading just to reflect on the sufferings of Paul and ask myself if I could have endured what he endured. From the conflict and turmoil of the immature and immoral at Corinth… to the Judaizers and “super apostles” who opposed Paul at every turn… you will not want to stop reading until the story is complete. However, as Viola points out, the story is not complete. The Bride of Christ is still in a battle bewteen good and evil. The story of the early church is a reminder of the trials that are inevitable for the Christian. Yet… the Bride will endure and will persevere unto the end.
I have been a Christian since I was a child and grew up learning the stories of the Bible. It is only after reading this book that my entire view of scripture has been re-adjusted and changed. The Bible is now a living book for me. For the first time I actually feel like I undertand Paul’s letters. I just read the reviews and am unsure why Amazon put that critical review as the spotlight especially when there have been so many positive reviews on this book. I too have read Gene Edwards and this book is nothing like them. If you want to understand Paul’s letters this is the book to get.


Should anyone get the chance, it should be a good read ( as it deals with many of the issues folks don’t think of, such as how the NT Epistles weren’t written in CHAPTER/VERSE and why having it as such takes out much of the story it conveys as well as leading to a “compartmentalization” mentality where people will read with a “paragraph” mentality/isolate certain verses to make cases on issues instead of with a “letter” mentality realizing that only by reading something IN IT’S ENTIRETY/FROM START to FINISH can context and proper understanding of the author’s intent be seen).

      Again, One cannot read the Scriptures with a PARAGRAPH mentality/isolating texts outside of the overall contexts of the messages which were given and their flow/historical background……and the fact of the matter is that they were letters spoken to specific people where there was establisment of relationship given. For a practical example, one can go here to start (which is a previous thread I wrote on the issue and that may be beneficial–RELATIONSHIP/LOVE: The Missing FACTOR REGARDING ADRESSING MATTERS OF FAITH/DOCTRINE (Part 1) ). Regarding scriptural warnings, None of those warnings were given BY THEMSELVES, as there were other factors at play (i.e the Galatians being “bewitched” and Paul appealing to them not ONLY by preaching against false doctrine but reminding them of the FELLOWSHIP THEY ONCE had in Galatians 4……for Paul FOUNDED churches in the southern Galatian Cities of Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe in Acts 13:14-14:23…..with Paul churches having been founded prior to Paul’s first missionary journey before council met in Acts 15…and didn’t return to visit northern Galatia until AFTER the council in Acts 16:6

Paul wrote in the context of the Judaizers undermining the central NT doctrine of justification by faith alone, for they ignored the EXPRESS DECREE OF THE JERUSALEM COUNCIL (Acts 15:23-29) and spread their teachings that the Gentiles must first become Jewish proselytes and submit to the MOASIC LAW COMPLETELY before being Christiajs (Galatians 1:7, Galatians 4:17-21, Galatians 5:2-12, Galatians 6:12-13). Shocked by the Galatians openess to damming heresy (Galatians 1:6), Paul wrote the letter defending justification and warning the churches of the dire consequences of abandoning it….but again, where was that said by him APART FROM RELATIONSHIP?

Galatians 412I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you. You have done me no wrong. 13As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you. 14Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?

17Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may be zealous for them. 18It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you. 19My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!

Bible.org: Paul Gets Personal(Galatians 4:12-20)

Please Read the article first before responding, if you’d like to respond back. Do you call people “children” whom you have no relationship with (AND NOte, the same wording’s used elsewhere with the apostle John when talking to the churches he began….I John 2:1, I John 2:18-28, I John 3:18, I John 4:4, I John 5:21)? And for those wanting to denounc heresy like Paul because he set the example, why so much resistance to accept/do what he did previously with this event? Contrary to the evil motives of the Judaizers to win recognition for themselves/exclude the Galatians from God’s Gracious slavation, when they interacted with the Galatians (Galatians 3:1, Galatians 2:6-16), did Paul not reference back to how he conducted himself PREVIOUSLY as a means of winning them back by showing how he sought to bring the Galatians to Christlikeness with salvation being the Goal? (Romans 8:29)? Add to that Acts 13:5 and Galatians 2:7, where he HUNG OUT with them the Gentiles as well in the synagouges. Did he not sit with them

Of course no one would say we cannot do what they say/warn because we don’t have a relationship to them, but in following THEIR EXAMPLE when they were relating to others, we’re to do the same when we’re relating to others–warning but also forming AND establishing RELATIONSHIPS (prior to and during). 

And whether folks wish to deny it or not, RELATIONSHIP WAS ESTABLISHED WITH THE PEOPLE THEY WERE TALKING TO AND IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE. For history’s sake, when people wish to quote Titus 1:10-16 and say “I’m doing like PAUL CALLING IT LIKE IT WAS/FOLLOWING HIS EXAMPLE”, that’s inaccurate..

Titus had accompanied Paul and Barnabas years earlier to the Council of Jerusalem where the heresy of the Judaizers was present (Acts 15, Galatians 2:1-5). And Crete had already been briefly visited by Paul on his voyage to Rome (Acts 27:7-9, Acts 27:12-13, Acts 27:21). He returned there for ministry and later left Titus there to continue the work, much as he left Timothy at Ephesus (I Timothy 1:3), while he went to Macedonia. So the man had been around a good bit

That cannot be denied nor is it bending over backward, unless the Scriptures/HISTORY in which they took place where PAUL INVESTED IN PEOPLE are to be seen differently and we’re NOT to follow his or others examples. When they spoke, it wasn’t as many discernment ministries do today demanding that they be heard but they don’t open themselves up to inquiry or get involved in the lives of those looking to them…or where they as PARA-CHURCH ministries try to take the authority of instructing others who often rely SOLEY ON THEM for info but never get plugged into a local fellowship where the info was to primarily be found/implemeneted and taught there because people KNOW YOU.

 How long was it before Paul decided to rebuke the CORINTHIANS in I Corinthians 5? Two years at max…..(and even in I Corinthians, was SHARP REBUKE FOR BAD TEACHING/ACTION IN I Corinthians 5 all he did? Did he not also THANK GOD FOR THEM AND THEIR FELLOWSHIP WHEN HE WROTE in I Corinthians 1? And in Acts 18-19 (read Chronological Bible), with him being in Ephesus and in the MIDST OF THOSE he spoke to for 2 years reasoning/discipling (Acts 19:7-10) (the same place where the Church was established that TIMOTHY WAS LEFT TO HANDLE when Paul had revisited Ephesus after being released from Roman Imprisioment, Acts 28:30—On I Timothy 1 dealing with False teachers (And by connection with II Timothy 2). Without the proper background/actions in place, the commands become less than effective.


           Anyhow, pray that Viola’ s Book blesses you as it has me!!!!! And that you’d see the NT in an entirely NEW WAY…L


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