back to Questions Readers Asked
A reader wonders if "the faith" and "the gospel" are the same. Similar and related questions have been asked about "the (written) New Testament" and "the faith". Or the "new covenant" and "the gospel" or the "new covenant" and "the faith"óare all these phrases synonymous? Then there is a nest of questions about what is included in "the faith" or "the gospel".
Itís clearly a mistake to claim that "the faith" is the written New Testament. Iím not denying that one might come up with that as a theological construct but you certainly canít get it from actual texts. Thatís like defining "the elect" as "all those that God has eternally purposed to save and will come to him." That may be correct but you certainly canít get it from the way actual texts use the phrase.
Be that as it may, it makes no sense to me to say that the multitude of priests in Acts 6:7 that became obedient to "the faith" were responding to Paulís request in 2 Timothy 4:13 that the young man bring him his cloak when he comes. That personal request is there because God wanted it there but it isnít part of the normative teaching concerning Christ. The "qualifications of deacons" is part of the New Testament but that isnít what the priests became obedient to.
Jude 3 urges his readers to contend earnestly for "the faith". He said it had already been delivered and that it had been delivered once for all. This means that before Jude wrote his book, "the faith" had already been finally delivered. If thatís true, then Judeís book is not part of the already and finally delivered faith. Since Jude 3 is certainly part of the written New Testament but in this text is not part of the already delivered faith we canít simply equate the written New Testament and "the faith".
The written New Testament embraces "the faith," which in some texts is close to an equivalent to "the gospel". It also contains a "rule of faith" in light of which Christians understand and respond to the foundation truths of the gospel or the faith (depending on which texts weíre examining). And as weíve noticed there are personal items included in the written New Testament that are not part of "the faith". In that respect the written New Testament is bigger than "the faith".