The New Testament: Summary of the Books
June 18, 2012
Summary of the books of the New Testament Book
The book of Luke is a Gospel that contains narrative, genealogy, sermons, parables, and some Prophetic oracles. Luke begins by telling us about Jesus’s parents (Mary & Joseph); the birth of His cousin, John the Baptist; Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, where Jesus is born in a manager, a common Christmas story, yet always fascinating; and the genealogy of Christ through Mary. Jesus’ public ministry reveals His prefect compassion and forgiveness through the stories of the prodigal son, the rich man and Lazarus, and the Good Samaritan. While many believe in this unprejudiced love that surpasses all human limits, many others especially the religious leaders challenge and oppose the claims of Jesus. Christ’s followers are encouraged to count the cost of discipleship, while His enemies seek His death on the cross. Passover arrives, and Jesus celebrates the traditional Seder meal with his disciples. Finally, Jesus is betrayed by one of his own (Judas Iscariot), He is tried, sentenced and crucified. Joseph of Arimathea buries him. On the third day some female followers of Jesus, including Mary Magdalene, go to his gravesite but find him gone. He resurrected and arose from the grave as He had miraculously raised others during His ministry.
The genre of the book of Acts is narrative, with several Sermons. The book of Acts gives the history of the Christian church and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ, ad well the mounting opposition to it. Although many faithful servants were used to preach and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, Paul was the most influential. Before he converted, Paul took great pleasure in persecuting and killing Christians. Stephen is falsely accused and stoned to death while he preaches to the religious leaders. As Stephen was dying he prayed to Jesus Christ. Stephen’s executioners laid their robes at the feet of the young persecutor named Saul, who would soon become known as Paul the Apostle. Paul has a dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus with Jesus Christ. Cornelius, a Roman commander and some of his men become followers of Christ. After Paul’s conversion he went to the opposite extreme of loving God and preaching His word with power, fervency and the Spirit of the true and living God. The disciples were empowered by the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Paul and Barnabas begin their first and second missionary journeys to the Gentile world with both success and opposition. After they are forbidden to enter Asia, Paul receives a vision. He and Silas head farther West to Macedonia to preach the gospel message. Lydia became the first convert along with her entire household. Paul preached to the Greek philosophers on Mars Hill and next sets out on his third missionary journey. Paul travels to Jerusalem where he is arrested and sent to Rome to be put on trial. Acts ends without describing the events of his trial before Caesar.
The book of 1st Corinthians is a Pauline Epistle (letter from Paul). The church at Corinth was a church divided. Part of the reasons for the division was the members were aligning themselves along personalities (Paul, Apollos, and Cephas) and not ascribing their salvation to Christ alone. Above all else, it was pride that was the greatest cause of division. Arrogance is some of the party leaders were the opposite of what is a necessity for a church. Church members were having personal disputes too which was another cause for division. Paul was disappointed that church members could not settle issues within the church and members had to resort to lawsuits which made them little different than those in the world. One of the major problems of the Corinthian church was named by Paul as a failure to discipline a church member. The Body of Christ is compromised when a member is openly sinning. A failure to disfellowship this man would only serve to make the church more arrogant. The analogy that Paul uses is that of yeast which permeates and affects the whole loaf. He exposes all of the immorality that was occurring in the church at Corinth. These include sexual immorality, issues of marriage, and lawsuits with other believers. He clears up some of the confusion about the practices of worship. Paul also deals with the topic of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is here we find the most important information on planet Earth, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. All believers equally share the reality of being baptized by the Spirit at the moment that they believe the message of the gospel, the message that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He alone saves.
The book of Hebrews is a General Epistle. Hebrews is commonly referred to as a letter, though it does not have the typical form of a letter. It ends like a letter but begins more like an essay or sermon. Its purpose was to present the Lord Jesus Christ as perfect and superior in comparison to anything Judaism and the old covenant had to offer. The book Hebrews addresses three separate groups: believers in Christ, unbelievers who had knowledge of and an intellectual acceptance of the facts of Christ, and unbelievers who were attracted to Christ but who rejected Him ultimately. The major themes are: exhortation to progress by hearing and heeding the word; evaluation of present spiritual state; and expectations for the future. Hebrews is full of encouragement, exhortations and stern warnings (warnings to pay attention, we must pay more careful attention to what we have heard so that we do not drift away).
The book of Revelations is an Apocalypse, Prophecy, and an Epistle. Revelation is often spoken of by the world as a book of doom for the world and it is for Satan. It is not doom for God’s earth but gloom and doom for Satan’s world. Revelations is a description of the visions which proclaim for us the last days before Christ’s return and the ushering in of the new heaven and earth. Revelation begins with letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor (there is actually only one church but the number seven symbolizes that church as being perfect), then goes on to reveal the series of devastations poured out upon the earth; the mark of the beast (666); the climactic battle of Armageddon; the bidding of Satan; the reign of the Lord; the Great White Throne Judgment; and the nature of the eternal city of God. Prophecies concerning Jesus Christ are fulfilled and concluding call to His Lordship assures us that He will soon return.