Eight Jewish Men

writers of the New Testment

by: Tim Kelley

March 2006


God works through humans.  Though I'm sure that in His wisdom He could have done it some other way, He chose to convey his thoughts to us through the ancient people of Israel.  He used individuals from that nation to write His words so those words could be preserved for us at this time.

The Tnakh (typically called the "Old Testament") was written by Moses, David, Solomon, and the various prophets - all Hebrew men.  Those men, with the notable exception of Moses, were probably all of Jewish descent.  How can I make that claim?  Because by the time those words were written, the northern tribes of Israel had already turned to idolatry and for the most part had been taken into captivity, leaving those from the tribe of Judah - along with parts of Levi and Benjamin - as the only followers of YHVH - the god of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

What about the New Testament?  Was it written by the Jews as well?  In order to understand, we must realize that by the time of the latter prophets, no matter what one's ethnic background may have been, he became "Jewish" if he had joined in with those from from the southern tribes of Israel in the continued worship of YHVH at the Temple.  Thus the "Jews" were - for the most part - the only people who continued in the worship of God.  That's why we read in Zechariah that even though people from all twelve tribes will  return to YHVH in the latter days -     

 . . . ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, 'Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.  (ESV Zechariah 8:23)

The Jews are the ones who, after being taken captive by the Babylonians, returned to the land 70 years later.  Though the land was filled with people from other nations, the Jews restored the worship of YHVH even while being governed by the Greeks and later the Romans.  By the time of the first century, if a person were to claim YHVH as his god - no matter what his ethnic background may have been, he would have still been considered Jewish.

Yeshua's disciples were all "Jewish".  That can be clearly understood by the fact that the gospels call Yeshua the "King of the Jews" even though the prophets show that He will be the king of all Israel - including those from the northern kingdom.  In fact Paul, even though he was from the tribe of Benjamin, clearly defines himself as being a Jew (Acts 21:39).  Though there seems to have been a difference between the Jews from the area of Galilee as opposed to those from Judea, they were still all Jewish.

The writers of the New Testament include 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, 4) John, 5) Peter, 6) James, 7) Jude, and 8) Paul.  They were all Jewish men with the possible exception of Luke.  Many believe Luke to have been of Greek descent because when he wrote, he used a Greek name  (Paul did too for that matter).  Even if ethnically that had been the case, we clearly understand (based on Luke 1:1-4) that Luke was a follower of Yeshua throughout His ministry and on into the ministry of his disciples.  From his writings we know that he had  been an eye-witness to, and had "perfect understanding" of the things of which he wrote about the Messiah.  Thus, by definition, Luke was Jewish as well.