As I blog my way - shallowly - through the Gospels and Acts, and soon on to Epistles and Revelation, I feel like pointing out that if you’re looking for a Reader’s Digest version of the New Testament, Wikipedia is (surprise) better as both outline and high-level overview of these works. My blogging, on the other hand, is intended as a personal outline - a journal - of the books as they strike me today, more than thirty years and several readings after I first got serious about them. I won’t pretend that this is intended for a wide audience.
Decades ago, I was surprised to learn that (most) Gospel experts felt that Mark was written first - not Matthew - and that there were parallels and gaps between the four books that were interpreted as having theological, social and/or political meaning. They wern’t just flat recountings of Jesus’ life. Now, after about ten years of re-reading the NT, then reading analyses and criticisms, then reading selected books again, I’m devoid of the mystical feeling I had when I was a believer. That mysticism has been replaced by a gentle curiosity and sometimes amusement at the whole thing.
Looking back, the entry point into Jesus-belief was people and personal circumstances and rituals and my preconcieved expectations about those rituals. The books themselves were not the primary reason I believed. They certainly wouldn’t compel me to believe in this day and age. I figure that once I’ve gotten past the Gospels again, the only thing that will really get my blood going is Revelation, and I have a fun story to tell then. It has to do with Lysergic acid diethylamide - and God speaking to me.