The Books of the New Testament

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:

  1.  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.
  2. 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.
  3. By means of that Spirit becoming our spirit (I Cor 6:17) we are now in Christ, that is, make up his spiritual Body.
  4. 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.)
  5. This salvation became universal in the New Testament, instead of limited to 1 nation.
  6. The “Kingdom of Heaven” began.  This means eternal life upon conversion, and living that life in the world – which is “reigning with Christ.”
  7. 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.).
  8. 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.
  9. 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….”)
  10. Second Coming.  The Old Testament is primarily concerned re. First Advent.



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