J. I. Packer:

Were I asked to focus the New Testament message in three words, my proposal would be adoption through propitiation, and I do not expect ever to meet a richer or more pregnant summary of the gospel than that. (Knowing God, p. 214)

And a test for how well you understand Christianity:

You sum up the whole of New Testament teaching in a single phrase, if you speak of it as a revelation of the Fatherhood of the holy Creator.

In the same way, you sum up the whole of New Testament religion if you describe it as the knowledge of God as one’s holy Father.

If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father.

If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all.

For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. (Knowing God, p. 201; my emphasis)

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12 thoughts on “How Would You Summarize the New Testament in Three Words?”

  1. Justin Bertram says:

    How about, “Jesus is Lord”?

  2. donsands says:

    Excellent. I was just a few moments ago with my 4 grandsons, and how I overwhelmingly delight in them, and being with them. Could my heavenly Father also delight in me? Through adoption, and by the propitiation of His only begotten Son I truly am thought of with even greater delight than I have four my beautiful grandsons. Hard to think that is true, because I’m yet so sinful, yet it is pure and true.
    Thanks for the post.

    ps If you could afford a prayer for me, I’d appreciate it. I seem to have lost my memory to an extent. I can’t remember yesterday, and a lot of other things. Thanks.

    1. Q. Hood says:

      I’ll be praying for you. Hopefully other readers of your prayer request will also pray for you and ultimately that God be glorified in your life.

      Soli Deo Gloria!!

  3. Glenn says:

    “everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God.”
    The Fatherhood of God is revealed in a Jewish Messiah and by a Jewish Messiah living in a Jewish culture. A great and profound revelation it is, but distinctively Christian only if we deny the very roots that nourish Christianity.

    1. I agree. I went to my bookshelf and checked this page out for myself, because it was coming across as anti-Semitic, which makes no sense as Yeshua was Jewish, as was those who wrote the Bible, save for Luke. Taylor here cuts off the quote while Packer is in mid thought. I am not sure if he meant to do this or not.

  4. How about, “The New Testament”?

  5. donsands says:

    Thank you Q. God has heard your prayer, and others prayer as well. And our heavenly Father does, and will receive all the glory and honor. Amen.

  6. Matt Tully says:

    Thank you for the wonderful quotes, Justin. Packer is absolutely right. All glory to the great God of the universe, our Father.

  7. I absolutely agree with Packer. In today’s world with all the emphasis on theology and group dynamics, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that God is our Father and His love is absolute. I believe we would do well to stop looking at each other and to start looking to Him to give us what we need to take our places as His sons.

  8. Pierre says:

    Summary three words on the NT- “WORD OF GOD”

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Justin Taylor


Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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