Editor’s Note: The following is setting up the next number of blog posts, which will be in more detail about some of the books of the New Testament. This is a quick over-view, beginning with “one-idea” descriptions, then moving into some of the Great Themes.
Matthew: The “life of our Lord” from a Jewish point of view; links with the Old Testament.
Mark: Brief, compact syle, full of action; written by a “young” man.
Luke: By a doctor, a Gentile, with non-Jewish readers in mind.
John: Much of Jesus’ teachings; stresses Christ’s divinity; theological; written late.
Romans: An outline of doctrine (3 main parts); SIN, SALVATION, CHRISTIAN LIVING.
I, II Corinthians: Numerous practical matters; to a “carnal” church.
Galatians: “Grace“. Strong warning against salvation by keeping rules.
Ephesians: The Church is the Body of Christ; his Bride.
Philippians: Christ’s love for us; Paul’s for the Philippians; theirs for him.
Colossians: “Twin” to Ephesians; Christ as the HEAD of the Church, and of ALL.
I, II Thessalonians: The Second Coming. Man of Sin first; work until then.
I, II Timothy: Instructions to a minister about Church order and the pastorate.
Titus: Similar to Timothy. Rules about proper leaders of the churches.
Philemon: To Philemon about the return of his run-away slave, Onesimus (“useful”).
Hebrews: Urges new Christians to go on to “fullness“; not stop at fundamentals.
James: Very practical, re. tongue, patience, trials; written by Jesus’ brother.
I, II Peter: Christian living (wives, husbands, employees) in trouble; end of this world.
John: Epistles I, II, III. God is love, light, life; warning vs. counterfeits.
Jude: Warning against “end-time” heresies, evil living. (Beautiful doxology)
Revelation: by John. Predicts downfall of Rome (12-19) like Jerusalem’s (6-11).
Summary thoughts as to the New Testament:
All 27 books written within about 50 years (vs Old Testament, over 1400 years, 28 times as long and covering 2000 years, not counting Creation, Flood, pre-Abraham). Eight or nine authors (average of about 3 each) versus about 32 for Old Testament (average of 1 each) plus many unknown contributors (Josh 10:13). Only 1 New Testament book uncertain – Hebrews.
“Gospels” are historical; sometimes called Life of Christ; but really furnish us very little info of his first 33 years of life; nothing (except Luke 2:41 – ff) said re. the first 30 years, after birth events. Much of his last 3 years is of the last week – passion, crucifixion, resurrection. 30 prominent miracles reported; same number of parables.
The Gospels were written after Paul’s epistles. Is thought Mark’s the first (who got much of his information from Peter); Matthew, Mark and John much later. Luke wrote Acts, and John wrote 3 epistles and Revelation.
Great Themes in the New Testament:
- God became man. It is no longer sufficient to believe merely in God, as they did in the Old Testament, but in Jesus Christ, the God-man.
- The Holy Spirit became Christ’s Spirit. It is not sufficient to believe merely in the Trinity, but that the Third Person is “incarnate” in Jesus.
- By means of that Spirit becoming our spirit (I Cor 6:17) we are now in Christ, that is, make up his spiritual Body.
- Salvation is by grace; not just forgiveness, but sanctification. (While there was grace in the Old Testament, “forgiveness” was “suspended sentence”, and forgiven sinners were not new people, saints, truly good.)
- This salvation became universal in the New Testament, instead of limited to 1 nation.
- The “Kingdom of Heaven” began. This means eternal life upon conversion, and living that life in the world – which is “reigning with Christ.”
- Christian Liberty. God’s law “written in our hearts”, “both to will and to do”. Good things become wrong when make others stumble (Romans 14, I Cor.).
- Communion of saints. The church is not an external organization. It is not a family thing; spiritual brothers and sisters come before blood ones. It is superior to marriage. It is the Family of God. The “2 by 2” principle.
- Practical matters; The Gifts of the Spirit. Indissolubility of Christian marriage. Equality of men and women. (All on account of “Christ in you”. “Greater works than these….”)
- Second Coming. The Old Testament is primarily concerned re. First Advent.