The New Testament canon was not completed until 367 CE. By what standard did the early church live? I propose that the saving message of the gospel was and is the sufficient standard of life for the Christian. A concise statement of this message can be found in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. Consider Paul’s words from 1 Corinthians 1:22-25:
Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. (Emphasis mine)
To those who are being saved Christ as revealed on the cross is the power of God and the wisdom of God. In verse 18 of 1 Corinthians 1, Paul calls this message the “word of the cross.”
When a person embraces the gospel, we can go a long way toward helping them become like Christ by unpacking the implications of the “word of the cross” for their lives. The following tool may prove useful toward that end. You can print it or just memorize it and draw it on a napkin. I’ve begun using it by having a person just put one thing in each quadrant each time we meet and having them apply the truth to their life. They can unpack more implications once they’ve begun to live out previous ones.
Click the link below to open the full resource. It’s not copyrighted so feel free to use and adapt at will. I assume you’ll use it ethically. If you use it and would like to suggest some revisions, please do so in the comments. Blessings to you as you go out to make reproducing disciples.