The Christian church was born into a world filled with competing religions which may have differed widely among themselves but all of which possessed one common characteristic--the struggle to reach a god or gods who remained essentially inaccessible. . . . The current ethical standards were superficial, despite the ideals and insights possessed by some philosophers, and when they discoursed on evil and on virtue, they had neither the remedy for the one nor the dynamic to produce the other.
--Merrill Tenney, New Testament Times (Eerdmans, 1965), 107
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God . . .
--The Apostle Peter, 1 Pet 3:18