Lesson 4 - The New Testament
The Bible has two main parts. The first part is called the Old Testament. The second part is the New Testament. The New Testament contains 27 books. It begins with Matthew and ends with Revelation. These books were written by 8 men. These men wrote what God told them to write. The New Testament books were written in the Greek language. Later the New Testament books were translated into other languages. The New Testament is divided into 4 main sections. These sections are: The Gospels, History, Epistles, and Prophecy.
The first 4 books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are called the gospels. The word "gospel" means "good news." These books tell us the good news of the coming of Christ to save man from his sins. These books also tell us of the birth, life, teachings, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. The authors of the gospels are the same as the title of each book.
The book of history in the New Testament is Acts of the Apostles. It is often called the book of Acts. This book was written by Luke. It tells of the beginning of Christ’s church in Acts, chapter 2. Throughout the rest of the book, it tells how the church spread throughout the world. Acts tells many things that Peter and Paul did.
The book of Acts also tells and shows us how people became Christians. Acts is often called the book of conversions. This is because it has so many examples of people being converted to Christ. The following verses are examples of how people became Christians. You should study them carefully.
- The People on day of Pentecost - Acts 2:36-38, 41-42, 47
- The People of Samaria - Acts 8:1, 4-5, 12
- The Ethiopian Eunuch - Acts 8:35-39
- Saul of Tarsus (who later became the apostle Paul) - Acts 9:1-11, 17-18; 22:12-16
- Cornelius - Acts 10:1-5, 44-48
- The Philippian Jailor - Acts 16:23-34
- The Corinthians - Acts 18:8
The word "epistle" means "letter." There are 21 epistles in the New Testament. The epistles of the New Testament can be divided into 2 groups: the Epistles of Paul and the General Epistles. The apostle Paul wrote 13 of the 21 epistles. They are: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon. Paul’s epistles were written to individual persons and some to certain churches. Here is a brief summary of each book that Paul wrote:
- Romans: Chapters 1-11 show that we are saved by faith. Chapters 12-16 are given to encourage the Romans to live the Christian life.
- 1 and 2 Corinthians: These books were written to the church at Corinth. Paul started this church. First Corinthians tells of the many problems the church had. Paul tells them to correct them. Second Corinthians shows that some of these problems had been overcome.
- Galatians: This letter shows that Christians do not live under the law of Moses.
- Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians: These letters were written while Paul was in prison at Rome. The letters tell us that unity should be among Christians and that Christ is above and over all.
- 1 and 2 Thessalonians: These letters deal with the second coming of Christ. Some Christians had stopped working. They thought that Christ was to come again very soon. Paul told them this was not true.
- 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus: Timothy and Titus were two young preachers. They had been helping churches that Paul had established. He gave them much advice.
- Philemon: Philemon was a Christian. He had a slave by the name of Onesimus. Onesimus ran away from Philemon. Paul met Onesimus and converted him. Paul then wrote a letter to Philemon asking him to take Onesimus back as a brother in Christ.
James; 1 and 2 Peter; 1, 2, and 3 John; Jude: These books are called the General Epistles. Each book is named after its author. Here is a brief summary of each book:
- Hebrews: The author of this book is unknown; some people believe that Paul wrote it. This epistle shows clearly the greatness of Christ’s law over the law of Moses.
- James: He was a brother of Christ. The book was written to Jews who had become Christians. One of its main teachings is that faith without works is dead.
- 1 Peter: This book was written to encourage those who were being persecuted (harmed). It shows that it is good to suffer for Christ.
- 2 Peter: Warning is given against false teachers. It also teaches concerning the second coming of Christ.
- 1, 2, and 3 John: First John is mostly about love. Second John is the shortest book in the Bible. It is written to "the elect lady". Third John is written to Gaius. John praises Gaius for his love for the Lord. Gaius is warned against Diotrophes.
- Jude: False teachers had come into the church. Jude wrote in order to encourage Christians to fight for the faith once for all revealed to God’s people. Jude teaches us that we must oppose error, even within the Lord’s church.
The book of Revelation is a book of prophecy. It was written by John. It tells us about the things that "must shortly take place." Revelation is written in symbolic language. Most of Revelation should not be interpreted as it is stated. A person must understand what the symbols mean. Only then can he interpret it properly. Also, many of the things mentioned have already happened.
Many thanks to "Truth for the World" for allowing us to use their material!