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New Testament at a Glance A Brief Description of Each Book and Section

It is obviously impossible to capture the entire truths contained in the New Testament within this brief format.  Our purpose for this page is to provide a brief overview of the contents of each book.  As we read without prejudice, we'll discover the many spiritual principals of God's dealings with humankind and the church, through the Lord Jesus, woven into these writings.  See the Bible Book Guide for more detailed background information and interpretation principles on each book and section.

Navigation Notes:  As with other long pages on our site, we place links at the end of most sections which minimize scrolling.  You may click on the "[TOC]" links to return to the Table of Contents.  If you follow a link to another page, you can click the "Back" button on your browser to return to this page.

Table of Contents

The Gospels

The world gospel means good news.  The Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) were written in the 50's or 60's AD.  John was written in the 80's or 90's AD.  Each book bears the name of the author.

Matthew

The life and teachings of Jesus with emphasis on His fulfillment of the OT prophecy as the Jewish Messiah.

Mark

A short, fast-moving account of the life of Jesus with emphasis on His actions and role as the Suffering Servant.

Luke

The most comprehensive narrative of  the life and teaching of Jesus with emphasis on His humanity and role as Savior to the whole world, not just the Jews.

John

Significantly different, more reflective style than the Synoptics, focusing on the divinity of Christ.

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Historical Book

Acts

Historical account of the apostles and the  early church, beginning with ascension of the resurrected Christ.  It traces the churches growth under the guidance of the Holy Spirit given at Pentecost, and continues with Paul's missionary journeys to the Gentiles.

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The Epistles of Paul

These letters were written from the late 40's to the early 60's AD.  All were written by the Apostle Paul, with the possible exception of Hebrews, whose author is unknown.

Romans

Paul's theological masterpiece and most comprehensive explanation of the gospel, including the doctrine of faith, grace, righteousness, justification, sin, law, judgment, the church, the place of Jews and Gentiles in God's purposes, duties of Christians to civil government, and principles of personal morality.

1 Corinthians

Straightforward advice to the Corinthian church on spiritual and moral problems which also plague many modern churches such as divisions and strife, immorality, and the misunderstanding of basic doctrine.

2 Corinthians

Expresses gratitude for repentance by the majority of Corinth, defends Paul's apostolic authority, and appeals to the unrepentant minority to turn from false teachers.

Galatians

Paul's discourse on the doctrine of justification by grace thru faith alone - written to counter the false teaching that a person must keep the law or perform good works in order to have a right relationship with God.

Ephesians

Doctrine of the church, including the position, practice and protection of the body of believers.

Philippians

An epistle of joy and encouragement written in the midst of adverse conditions (prison).  Paul, in one of his last and most personal letters, shares many of his own personal experiences and struggles.

Colossians

Possibly the most Christ-centered book of the Bible, explains and affirms the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ as opposed to the many abounding false religious philosophies.

1 Thessalonians

Importance and instructions for right living in light of Christ's impending return.  This book provides one of the fullest treatments of eschatological (end times) events in the NT.

2 Thessalonians

Supplements and corrects misinterpretations by the Thessalonians regarding the Day of the Lord teachings in Paul's first letter.

1 Timothy

Written to help Paul's younger assistant Timothy deal with a variety of issues raised by false teachers, to provide encouragement for spiritual growth, to offer advise on being a better spiritual leader, and to offer instructions about church organization.

2 Timothy

Paul's last letter, sometimes thought of as his "Last Will and Testament", encourages Timothy to unashamedly and faithfully carry on the message about Christ that was entrusted to them.

Titus

Instructions to Titus regarding Christian growth, church organization, battling false teachers, and teaching proper Christian conduct.

Philemon

A plea for forgiveness of a runaway slave, and the importance of love, equality and acceptance in the body of Christ.

Hebrews

The superiority of Christ, and of the New Covenant to the Old Covenant, explaining many OT Jewish practices as symbols preparing the way for the coming Messiah.  Many authors for this book have been proposed (including Paul), but the exact author is unknown.

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General Epistles

These letters, written in the latter half of the first century, are titled by the author's name.  They were written to the church in general or to groups of churches, with the exception of 3rd John (and possibly 2nd John), which was written to an individual.

James

Practical instructions on living an authentic Christian life, including the meaning and visible evidence of true faith.

1 Peter

Encourages Christians, facing persecution due to their faith, to persevere in light of their future assurance of sharing Christ's glory.

2 Peter

Addresses internal oppositions within the church caused by false teachers, stressing the need for growth in the grace and knowledge of Christ.

1 John

Offers God's perfect love as an example for us to follow in our fellowships with one another, and warns of false teaching in the congregations.

2 John

Warns against the false teaching the Christ did not come in the flesh, and focuses on walking in the truth of the gospel.

3 John

Promotes service toward others, and hospitality to traveling ministers of the gospel.

Jude

Combats the false teaching that the doctrine of salvation by grace alone gives believers a license to sin without consequences, and exhorts believers to "contend earnestly for the faith".

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Prophecy

Revelation

The unveiling and consummation of God's final purposes, partially foreshadowed by events in early church history.  There are many viewpoints on the various symbols, timing, and prophetical issues, but I think we can all agree that God is clearly in charge.  Revelation also completes the cosmic battle on earth between good and evil which began in Genesis and, in the end, Jesus wins.

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