Question:

Was the New Testament written prior to A.D. 70? I realize scholars claim the book of revelation was written around A.D. 95, but if that were so, does it pertain to life and godliness?

I Peter 1:3 says, "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:" Peter wrote this prior to his death in A.D. 68. If by that time God "hath given us all things that pertain to life and godliness..." then anything written after that would not apply.

Thank you for your thoughts.

Answer:

The likely dates for the books of the New Testament are:

Matthew - between AD 50-70. The early AD 50s being the most likely.
Mark - between AD 55-65.
Luke - about AD 60.
John - between AD 60-92, AD 65 being the most likely.
Acts - about AD 63.
Romans - about AD 57.
I Corinthians - about AD 55
II Corinthians - about AD 56
Galatians - about AD 49 (or some argue AD 57)
Ephesians - between AD 60-62
Philippians - about AD 62
Colossians - between AD 60-62
I Thessalonians - about AD 50
II Thessalonians - about AD 50
I Timothy - about AD 62-63
II Timothy - about AD 67
Titus - about AD 62-63
Philemon - about AD 60-62
Hebrews - about AD 62
James - between AD 43-49
I Peter - between AD 60-64
II Peter - between AD 64-66
I John - between AD 65-92
II John - between AD 85-95. About AD 90 is most likely.
III John - between AD 85-95. About AD 90 is most likely.
Jude - between AD 66-80
Revelation - between AD 92-95

Technically, using your argument, you would need to claim that II Peter was not a part of the things applying to life and godliness since Peter's statement is in the past tense.

It is common to speak of things that happen in a relatively short period of time as if they happened at one time. "Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints" (Jude 3). Jude is not claiming that the New Testament was written all at one time, but in one period of time that would then apply to all Christians for all time. In this light, Peter's statement remains true even if a few books of the New Testament remained to be written. After all, we are only talking about 30 years between II Peter and Revelation.

However, there is another way to look at Peter's statement. In prophetic statements, things that are certain to take place are often written as if they have already taken place to emphasize the certainty of the statement. It is called the "prophetic perfect tense" or heterosis in scholarly discussions. The past tense is used instead of the future tense "when the speaker views the action as being as good as done. This is very common in the Divine prophetic utterances where, though the sense is literally future, it is regarded and spoken of as though it were already accomplished in the Divine purpose and determination. The figure is to show the absolute certainty of the things spoken of." [E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible]. An example is when God told Abram, "To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates" (Genesis 15:18). That did not come true until the days of Solomon, about 1500 years later, but God spoke of it as if it had already been done. We use this figure of speech when we refer to Christians as being saved, even though we have not reached heaven yet. The past tense expresses our confidence in our future salvation. Therefore, Peter can be expressing his confidence that God has given us everything pertaining to life and godliness even though it wasn't quite complete at the time he stated this.

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