Summary – New Testament
For your reading pleasure, a summary of the 27 books in The New Testament.
Matthew: Matthew’s Gospel provides the vital link between the Old and New Testaments. Matthew begins by tracing the genealogy of Jesus through Joseph; the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary; the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist; and Satan’s temptation of Jesus while in the wilderness. Jesus speaks more in Matthew than in the other Gospels, and his teachings discourses include: the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7); sending out the Twelve (chapter 10); parables of the kingdom (chapter 13); fellowship of the kingdom (chapter 18); and the Olivet Discourse concerning the future (chapters 24-25). During Jesus’ final week his betrayal, trial, crucifixion, burial and resurrection take place. Matthew concludes with the call of the Great Commission to all believers.
Key Words: “fulfillment”; Kingdom of Heaven”. Matthew quotes from many books of the Old Testament to solidify further the claim that indeed Jesus is the “fulfillment” of the promised Messiah, the Savior of the world. The term “kingdom of heaven” is used repeatedly by Matthew to introduce the Good News that God is present in Jesus Christ and lives to reign in men’s lives. This term appears nowhere else in the New Testament.
Themes: Jesus came to save both the Jews and the Gentiles. There is one true God, but with the essence of 3, the Trinity: God the Father; God the Son; and God the Holy Spirit. The standards of God are high, but the example He gave us is perfect…Jesus. Christ is sufficient for whatever need we might have. The ways of God are infinitely higher than the ways of the world. Jesus willingly laid own His life to redeem a sinful world with His perfect and acceptable sacrifice.
Jesus’ birth and infancy 1:1 – 2:23
The preparation and beginnings of Jesus’ ministry 3:1 – 4:25
The Sermon on the Mount 5:1 – 7:29
Jesus’ ministry of miracles 8:1 – 9:34
Jesus’ sending out the Twelve 9:35 – 11:1
The continuation of Jesus’ ministry with claims and parables 11:2 – 25:46
Jesus’ betrayal and crucifixion 26:1 – 27:56
Jesus’ burial, resurrection and ascension 27:57 – 28:20
Mark: The Gospel according to Mark vividly portrays Jesus teachings, healing and ministering to the needs of others. Jesus is the perfect example and the perfect sacrifice for people of all time. His public ministry includes exhibits of his divine power over disease, nature, demons and even death. These miracles also reveal Jesus’ compassion for a hurting world. However, opposition and hostility grow against Jesus from the chief priests, Pharisees and Sadducees. Finally, Jesus willingly allows his arrest and crucifixion to take place. But his resurrection seals the ultimate victory for all who trusts Him to save them.
Key Words: “servant”; “immediately”. The ministry of Jesus Christ centers around His being a “servant” to all, giving His life as a ransom for many. Mark’s Gospel uses the term “immediately” many times to emphasize the importance and urgency of believing in God’s Son now!
Themes: Jesus is concerned about every aspect of our lives. Jesus’ actions paralleled His words, and so must our if we hope to be a positive witness unto Him. Jesus’ death on the cross paid the price for each of our sins if we will but turn to him with a repentant heart and trust Him as Savior. There is none so down and out that he can ever be beyond the extending arms of God’s love. Even as Jesus came to serve us, so must we also serve others.
The beginning of Jesus Christ’s ministry 1:1 – 1:13
Jesus’ ministry of healing and teaching 1:14 – 8:26
Jesus’ instruction of his disciples 8:27 – 13:37
Jesus’ betrayal, trial, and crucifixion 14:1 – 15:41
Jesus’ burial and resurrection 15:42 – 16:20
Luke: Luke begins by telling us about Jesus’ parents; the birth of His cousin, John the Baptist; Mary and Joseph’s journey tomBethlehem, where Jesus is born in a manager; and the genealogy of Jesus through Joseph. Jesus’ public ministry reveals His perfect compassion and forgiveness through the Good Samaritan (chapter 10); the lost (prodigal) son (chapter 15); and the rich man and Lazarus (chapter 16). While many believe in Jesus’ unprejudiced love that surpasses all human limits, many other challenge and oppose His claims. Jesus’ followers are encouraged to count the cost of discipleship, while His enemies seek His death on the cross. Finally, Jesus is betrayed, tried, sentenced and crucified. But the grave cannot hold Him. His resurrection assures the continuation of His ministry to seek and save the lost (chapter 19:10). After appearing on a number of occasions to His disciples, His Holy Spirit is promised, and Christ ascends to the Father.
Key Words: “Jesus”; “Son of Man”. As God incarnate, “Jesus” is often referred as the “Son of Man”. The genealogy of Jesus through Joseph is detailed, as are many other specifics of His human characteristics and life.
Themes: Jesus understands our weaknesses, our temptations and our trials. Jesus came to save both the Jews and the Gentiles. Jesus came to save both the outcasts and the accepted. Jesus came to save both the poor and the rich. Jesus came to save both adults and children. Jesus came to save both men and women. Jesus came to save both the free and the oppressed. Jesus came to save each and every one of us!
Introduction 1:1 – 1:4
The birth and childhood of John the Baptist and of Jesus 1:5 – 2:52
The ministry of John the Baptist 3:1 – 3:20
Jesus’ baptism, genealogy and temptation 3:21 – 4:13
Jesus’ teachings and healing ministry 4:14 – 9:50
Jesus’ journeys from Galilee to Jerusalem 9:51 – 19:27
Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion 19:28 – 23:49
Jesus’ burial, resurrection and ascension 23:50 – 24:53
John: While Luke presents Jesus as the “Son of Man,” John presents Jesus in His deity as the “Son of God.” Jesus’ relationship to the Father is emphasized as he teaches, heals, prays and ministers. Miracles listed in John include: turning water to wine (2:1-11), feeding of the 5,000 (6:1-14), walking on water (6:16-21) and the raising of Lazarus (11:1-46). But in addition to being totally God, Jesus’ humanity is shown by his being tired, hungry, thirsty and sorrowful. 7 times Jesus refers to Himself in “I Am” passages which clearly shown His claim to Godhood and the way to salvation. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, great detail is given to appearances of The Lord before His ascension.
Keys Words: “Word”; “life”; “believe”. Jesus is the pre-existent eternal “Word” who became a man. In order to gain eternal “life” one must “believe” upon the name of Jesus. Jesus, who always was with God and indeed is God.
Themes: God loves each of us so much that He gave up His Son so that anyone believing in Jesus shall not perish but shall have eternal life (chapter 3:16). Miracles are given not only to heal, but also as signs pointing to Jesus. God expects us to love not only him, but also our neighbors . Christ fully understands our hurts, He paid the supreme price to heal them. The Holy Spirit gives us an eternal peace which the world cannot manufacture or purchase.
The incarnation of the Son of God 1:1 – 1:14
The introduction and public ministry of Jesus 1:15 – 5:15
Opposition to Jesus’ ministry 5:16 – 12:50
Jesus’ preparation of a His disciples for His betrayal 13:1 – 17:26
Jesus’ arrest, trial and crucifixion 18:1 – 19:37
Jesus’ burial and resurrection 19:38 – 21:25
A summary of The Early Church.
Acts: Acts carries outs the story of the ministry of Christ through the lives of His disciples. The Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost giving power and boldness to aid Christians in witnessing to all the world of their risen Savior. Acts describes Peter’s leadership of the Jewish church; the death of Stephen (chapter 7); intense persecution against Christianity led by Saul (chapter 8); and Saul’s (Paul’s) conversion on the road to Damascus (chapter 9). Paul leads 3 extensive missionary journeys teaching and preaching the Gospel. The book ends with Paul’s trip to Rome, where he is put into prison. But Christianity has spread like fire from Jerusalem throughout the entire Roman Empire. Nothing can stop the Good New now.
Key Words: “Holy Spirit”; “growth”. Acts mentions or refers to the “Holy Spirit” more than 30 times. He is the One who will guide, fill, sustain, convict and comfort the believer. The book also outlines the “growth” of the church: in number, strength and understanding.
Themes: God will not ask us to do anything without also giving us the provision to do it well. Church growth will be continuous and significant with the Holy Spirit’s leadership. It is impossible to,live successful Christian lives apart from the Holy Spirit. Christians obedient to God’s leading will have tremendous opportunities to share Christ.
The ascension of Jesus 1:1 – 1:11
Pentecost and the early Church in Jerusalem 1:12 – 8:3
The Gospel’s spread to Judea and Samaria 8:4 – 12:25
Paul’s first missionary journey 13:1 – 14:28
The Jerusalem council 15:1 – 15:35
Paul’s second missionary journey 15:36 – 18:22
Paul’s third missionary journey 18:23 – 21:14
Paul’s journey to Rome 21:15 – 28:31
A summary of Letters of Paul.
Romans: The book of Romans is the longest of Paul’s 13 New Testament letters, is an elaborate, theological discussion on salvation and the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Paul systematically reflects on his gratitude for God’s salvation through grace, as law and grace are contrasted, and his determination to make Christ known to men everywhere. God’s dealings with Israel and His purpose for the Jews are detailed. Righteousness apart from works is further illustrated through the example of Abraham’s life (chapter 4). Finally, practical applications concerning Christian duties and ethics are given.
Key Words: “sin”; “salvation”; “faith”. Paul clearly explains that broken fellowship with God is a result of “sin” in our lives, and “salvation” is available only by “faith” in the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
Themes: Everyone is born with a sinful nature, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (3:23). All of us, like Paul, have inner conflicts from the sinful tendencies of our natural man. Absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God. Only through the perfect Jesus Christ can we become righteous. Justification is by faith, not by good works. Sanctification is through the indwelling Holy Spirit, not through keeping religious laws. Everyone trusting in Jesus Christ will be saved and given the ability through the Spirit of God to,live victoriously. Divine power for holy living is imparted through the Holy Spirit.
Introduction 1:1 – 1:17
All men’s guilt as sinners 1:18 – 3:20
Salvation available to all by faith 3:21 – 8:39
The plan of God for Israel 9:1 – 11:36
Christian relationships and attitudes 12:1 – 15:13
Final instructions and greetings – 15:14 – 16:27
1 Corinthians: The household of Chloe has reported to Paul strife in the church at Corinth. The church sends a delegation of 3 men with a letter to Paul that seeks his wisdom on several concerns and questions the church has. This letter from Paul to the Corinthians systematically answers these issues: divisions in the church, immorality, lawsuits, challenges to Paul’s apostleship, meat sacrificed to idols, marriage, divorce and the Lord’s Supper. Classic teaching is offered on spiritual gifts (chapter 12), Christian love (chapter 13) and the resurrection (chapter 15). In addition to Paul’s words of discipline, he gives practical suggestions to the people while proclaiming the Gospel as the power and wisdom of God.
Key Words: “correction”; “unity”. Paul offers words of “correction” with both love and firmness. The only hope available to Corinthians is “unity” in Jesus Christ. Bound together they can love, serve, minister and overcome evil by drawing their strength from the same Spirit of God within each of them.
Themes: Christ alone is able to cleanse us of our sins and give us right standing before God. Only Christians are able to give true love. True love is a decision, an action and a commitment. God will never let us be tempted beyond our limits to endure. Brothers and sisters in Christ share a oneness and unity not made available to the world. Mature Christians sometimes need to limit their personal liberties for the benefit of those weaker. Believers receive gifts in order to glorify God and build up the body in love. Jesus Christ is interested in all areas of our lives and is the answer to all our problems.
Introduction 1:1 – 1:9
Problems in the Corinthian church 1:10 – 4:21
Discipline for the church 5:1 – 6:20
Concerning marriage 7:1 – 7:40
Principles of Christian rights and liberty 8:1 – 11:1
Concerning public worship and spiritual gifts 11:2 – 14:40
Concerning the resurrection 15:1 – 15:58
Paul’s plans and final instructions 16:1 – 16:24
2 Corinthians: This intensely personal letter from Paul uncovers his heartfelt emotions, ambitions and love for the church. Paul explains in detail his career and some of the trails he endures in the service of Christ, including a thorn in the flesh to keep him humble. He then recounts the need for a collection to be made ready for Macedonian churches. The joy of generous giving is emphasized. Finally, Paul defends the validity of his apostolic ministry and calling from God.
Key Words: “authority”; “reconciliation”; “sharing”. The “authority” which Paul declares over the Corinthians as their spiritual father is granted to him by God, and he challenges every Christian with the responsibility of seeking “reconciliation” of divisions within his church, his family and with others. Once Christians understand the principles of total “sharing”, they can begin to stand upon the other promises of God.
Themes: God’s goodness is more powerful than Satan’s evil. Being granted the ability and privilege to give to God’s work is a blessing in itself. Not all religious teachers are of The Lord. Not all religious teachers have our best interests in mind. Words from the righteous are sometimes misunderstood and condemned by the world. It is okay to boast about Jesus Christ and what He has done.
Introduction 1:1 – 1:11
Paul’s ministry and philosophy expounded 1:12 – 7:16
Stewardship encouraged 8:1 – 9:15
Paul’s authority as an apostle examined 10:1 – 13:10
Final exhortations 13:11 – 13:14
Galatians: Paul uses this letter to remind Christians that they are heirs of God as His own children. This inheritance is not available by works, but only by faith in Jesus Christ. Paul, a Jew, himself, refutes the false teaching that each Gentile Christian must be converted to Judaism and follow strict observance of every Mosaic Law. He summarizes the Gospel and then declares how Abraham was saved by faith about 400 years before the law was revealed through Moses. After defending his credentials as an apostle, Paul,concludes with discussions on walking in the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit.
Key Words: “grace”; “liberty”. Not by our own good works, but only by the “grace” of God are we justified and brought into a right relationship with God. This “liberty” God has granted us is made possible by Christ’s payment for our sins and the a Holy Spirit’s leading us from sin’s bondage.
Themes: The law was given to reveal man’s sinfulness and guilt. To live under the law is bondage; to live by faith is freedom. Christians are not bound by the law; Christ has set us free. Liberty is not license to continue in sin. The Christian’s power to live victoriously over sin comes from the Holy Spirit.
Introduction 1:1 – 1:10
Paul’s callings by God and acceptance by the apostles 1:11 – 2:10
Explanation of grace by faith 2:11 – 4:31
Freedom in Christ 5:1 – 6:10
Final blessings 6:11 – 6:18
Ephesians: Ephesians does not address specific problem or situations in the church. Instead, it is written to encourage the body of Christ to maturity in Him. Paul presents an overview of the plan and purposes of God from the beginning of time. The privileges and unity which Christ gives believers prepare them daily for spiritual warfare. Practical guidance is given for relationships between husbands and wives (chapter 5); parents and children, and masters and slaves (chapter 6). Paul shares that for a Christian to be successful, he must first the wealth of his position in Christ and the power found if he will “put on the whole armor of God” (6:11).
Key Words: “riches”; “one”. All believers in Christ are heirs of the “riches” of Christ and His grace and glory. Ephesians seeks to unify the body by emphasizing that there is “one” Lord, “one” faith and “one” baptism (4:5).
Themes: The Holy Spirit seals believers as belonging to God. The body of Christ is the Church, through which His eternal plan is fulfilled. God has given every believer all the provisions necessary to have victory over attacks from Satan. We are helpless against Satan’s onslaughts in our own might; our strength is obtained from the armor of God. If Christians will understand their calling in Christ, proper conduct in Him will follow.
Salutation 1:1 – 1:2
Christians’ position in Christ 1:3 – 3:21
Unity and holiness for the Ephesian church 4:1 – 5:21
Relationships based on Christ 5:22 – 6:9
Spiritual warfare 6:10 – 6:20
Final words 6:21 – 6:24
Philippians: This warmly affectionate letter from Paul commends the Philippians for their faith and support. He exhorts them to center their lives in Christ nod to be content in all situations. Paul has very little occasion to acknowledge any problems in the church although 2 quarreling women, Euodias and Syntyche, are admonished to settle their differences (chapter4). Paul sets most worthy goals before the people: to live in godly unity and love, to be strong in prayer and to joyfully imitate the example of their Savior, Jesus Christ.
Key Words: “Gospel”; “joy”. Paul shares the significance of the “Gospel” in his relationship with God, as well as with other people. The overwhelming “joy” which Paul is shown to be available to all Christians, regardless of their circumstances, through an intimate walk with The Lord and by living under the loving care of His Church.
Themes: A quitter never wins; a winner never quits. What goes into our minds, comes out in our actions. God never fails. Lasting joy comes only through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Christians also have problems, but Christ is the power to overcome. We have no basis for pride except in our perfect example, Jesus Christ.
Paul prays for the Philippians 1:1 – 1:11
Paul’s chains advance the Gospel 1:12 – 1:26
Christ is Paul’s model for humility 1:27 – 2:18
Paul commends Timothy and Epaphroditus 2:19 – 2:30
Knowledge and peace of Christ are exhorted 3:1 – 4:20
Final greetings 4:21 – 4:23
Colossians: The first portion of Colossians is doctrinal in nature, and the last is practical application. Paul combats the false teachings of legalism, angel worship and ceremonialsm. His defense against such heresy is coupled with his urging commitment to the Lordship of Christ. Believers are encouraged to put off the old man and put on the new man (3:9, 10) by living righteous lives before God. These rules for Holy living give them freedom from human regulations as they follow Christ’s example.
Key Words: “supremacy”; “head”. The book of Colossians is written to a church being diluted with vain, worldly philosophies. The “supremacy” of Christ in every area of life is emphasized as Christ is presented as “head” of the body, His Church.
Themes: Jesus alone is sufficient to meet every need of our lives. The perfect reflection of invisible God is the perfect Jesus Christ. Philosophies which do not exalt Christ are not from God. Our relationship with God is reflected through our relationships with others.
Paul’s prayer for the Colossians 1:1 – 1:14
Supremacy of Christ 1:15 – 2:5
False doctrines 2:6 – 2:23
Exhortation of holy living 3:1 – 3:17
Guidelines for Christian relationships 3:-18 – 4:1
Final instructions 4:2 – 4:18
1 Thessalonians: Among the first of Paul’s letters, Thessalonians is written to encourage the young church at Thessalonica and to commend them for their diligent faith. Paul instructs the believers to live lives of holiness and orderliness and includes a plea against sexual immorality. This dynamic fellowship is a constant source of joy for Paul. But some in the church misunderstand the second coming of Christ, thinking the believers who die before Christ’s return will miss out on the resurrection. Paul assures them that the dead in Christ indeed be the first to rise, and they then will be caught up together with those alive to meet The Lord in the air. This letter from Paul closes with various exhortations and blessings.
Key Words: “steadfastness”; second coming”. Paul commends the Thessalonian believers for their “steadfastness” in faith despite their background of Greek paganism. At a time when the “second coming” of Christ is expected soon, Paul writes on the comfort, necessary and certainty of Christ’s return.
Themes: God expects believers to be examples for unbelievers. Persecution is never a reason to leave God. Our ultimate victory is in Christ. The return of Jesus Christ is certain. Christians should pray for their church and their leaders. Living a sanctified life is God’s will fir every believer.
Thanksgiving for the Thessalonians faith 1:2 – 1:10
Paul’s ministry in Thessalonica 2:1- 4:12
Preparations for the coming of The Lord 4:13 – 5:11
Final admonitions 5:12 – 5:28
2 Thessalonians: In this letter to the Thessalonians, Paul stresses the importance if Christians using their time wisely. They are commended for their spiritual growth and promised judgement of those persecuting them. The conditions that will prevail at the time of Christ’s return are outlined, including the great apostasy which will take place. Paul exhorts the Thessalonian church to remain steadfast in their service as the time of Christ’s return is not known. But the absolute surety of His coming is known and is the essence of these words from Paul.
Key Words: “persecution”; “work”. The “persecution” of these new Christians continues from legalistic Jews who will not submit to the Word of God. It is against this background that Paul implores the church not to be idle, but to “work” with patience and diligence.
Themes: God’s presence gives peace in every circumstance. Do not put off until tomorrow what you can do for God today. Condemnation awaits those who take pleasure in unrighteousness. The ministry of The Lord is active, not idle. Christians should never grow tired of doing good works.
Salutation 1:1 – 1:2
Paul’s thanksgivings and prayer 1:3 – 1:12
Concerning the coming of The Lord 2:1 – 2:17
Exhortation against idleness 3:1 – 3:15
Final greetings 3:16 – 3:18
1 Timothy: This personal letter from Paul to his close ally Timothy serves several purposes. It offers hope and comfort to keep,young Timothy in the right path and is a sign for the church that Timothy has the express backing and support of the Apostle Paul. Paul offers Timothy advice for his congregation on these concerns: proper worship, qualifications for the church officers; relationships with widows, elders and slaves; and the evil of loving money. Admonitions permeate the letter with counsel to help the Christians live godly lives in a healthy church committed to following good and fleeting evil.
Key Words: “doctrine”; “qualifications”. Paul exhorts Timothy to remain true to God’s ways bad to follow no other “doctrine”. Specific examples of God’s ways include a list of the “qualifications” which The Lord has given fir the church’s leadership.
Themes: There is only one true doctrine, and only committed Christians are capable of living within it. What we really believe as doctrine will be exhibited by our attitudes and actions. Age is no barrier to being use mightily by God. True leadership is God-given, not man-made. As an athlete must train, so a Christian must exercise and discipline his faith.
Law versus faith 1:1 – 2:15
Instructions on church offices 3:1 – 3:16
Advice to Timothy concerning false doctrines 4:1 – 4:16
Advice to Timothy concerning church discipline 5:1 – 6:2
Evil of loving money 6:3 – 6:21
2 Timothy: in spite of Paul’s dismal circumstances, his primary concern is for Timothy and his ministry since Paul is certain that when his own death comes, God will have an eternal home waiting for him in heaven. Paul admonishes Timothy to never be ashamed of the Gospel, but to preserve in faith and obedience. He then instructs that in the last days there will be a devastating turn away God as men glorify sin, and that those who harm the ministry of Christ should be avoided. The Word of God is presented as the power and inspiration of God to complete and equip the believer for service. Paul concludes by asking Timothy to come see him soon.
Key Words: “endure”; “teach”. Even as Paul has remained strong while in prison, he encourages Timothy to “endure” his trials as a good soldier of a Jesus Christ. Timothy is admonished to flee youthful lusts and to follow faith and righteousness. Then he can “teach” the things of God to faithful men who will likewise “teach” others (2:2).
Themes: The Spirit God gives His children is not one of fear, it is one of power, of love and a sound mind (1:7). Persecution is a certainty for those committed to living for Jesus. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (3:16). Christians should avoid disputes and quarrels. Through all may forsake us, God will always remain true.
Salutation 1:1 – 1:2
Encouragement to be faithful 1:3 – 2:26
Apostasy in the last days 3:1 – 3:17
Charge to preach the Word 4:1 – 4:5
Approach of Paul’s death 4:6 – 4:18
Paul’s final greetings 4:19 – 4:22
Titus: Paul’s request in this letter is that Titus appoint qualified elders in every city to guide the believers of Crete. Special exhortations are given to the young and the old of both sexes to live righteously as they hope in the return of Jesus Christ. Believers are encouraged in good works, but admonished to remember that their justification is a product of God’s grace and mercy. False teachers are rebuked by Paul as he emphasizes how sound doctrine should be the focus of every believer. Paul uses this letter to give Titus the spiritual wisdom he needs to effectively lead the church.
Key Words: “pure”; “heir”. Christians are exhorted not only to live “pure” lives, but to have “pure” motives as well. Every believer is justified before God to be an eternal “heir” to all that God has made available.
Themes: Good works are not to bring us salvation, but to reflect our salvation. Christians should not speak evil of anyone. Believers should deny worldly lusts (2:12). We should never let our speech be such that we could be condemned or bring disgrace to the ways of The Lord.
Introduction 1:1 – 1:4
Appoint church elders 1:5 – 1:9
Rebuke false teachers 1:10 – 1:16
Teach sound doctrine 2:1 – 2:15
Live obedient and upright lives 3:1 – 3:11
Concluding instructions 3:12 – 3:15
Philemon: The shortest of Paul’s letters, the book of Philemon is a striking analogy to the redemption story of the Gospel. Paul pleads with Philemon to forgive Onesimus and to restore him beyond his original position as a slave. Now he can be a Christian brother, useful,to all members of the church. Philemon is reminded of his debt to Paul, but still offers to repay for any loss of Philemon’s. Tradition reveals that Philemon uses this opportunity to free Onesimus.
Key Words: “slave”; “profitable”. Paul is spiritually a prisoner if Jesus Christ and physically in the bondage of a a Roman prison, so he understands Onesimus’s debt as a “slave” to Philemon. Paul plays upon the word “profitable” (verse 11), which is the meaning of Onesimus and which, indeed, all Christians are.
Themes: All sins against people are also sins against God. The laws of the land are for both Christians and non-Christians alike. A right relationship with Jesus Christ will break down social and economic barriers. Reconciliation requires action from both the wrong and the wronged. Christ will forgive our sins and give us a fresh beginning.
Greetings 1:1 – 1:3
Thanksgiving and prayer for Philemon 1:4 – 1:7
Paul’s plea for Onesimus 1:8 – 1:21
Farewell 1:22 – 1:25
A summary of Other Letters (Epistles).
Hebrews: The writer if Hebrews exhorts the Hebrew Christians to maturity by showing them that present suffering for Christ is followed by eternal glory with Him that Judaism or no other religion can offer. The entire Old Testament pointed to the ministry of Chirst, for the offerings, feasts, tabernacles and priests were all used to show the better way of Jesus. Faith is defined and encouragement is given to all believers by detailing the faith of such men and women as Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses (chapter 11). The author of Hebrews reveals that the new, eternal covenant has replaced a temporal one, and it’s price has been paid-in-full by the blood of Christ.
Key Words: “sacrifice”; “better”. The “sacrifice” of Christ is presented as being superior to anything offered by the Judaic system: Christ is “better” than the angels, since He is worshipped by them, He is “better” than Moses since He created him; He is “better” than Aaron’s priesthood, since His atonement is eternal; and He is “better” than the law, since He mediates a superior covenant.
Themes: Christianity is more than a religion. It is a relationship with Jesus Christ. To be victorious, we must run the race with our eyes on Jesus. We can give our temptations to Jesus. He has already faced all of them and won the victory. God desires His children to give strength of testimony to each other. Only the blood of Christ can cleanse us of our sins.
Jesus Christ’s superiority over the prophets and angels 1:1 – 2:18
Jesus Christ’s superiority over Moses 3:1 – 4:13
Jesus Christ, the superior priest 4:14 – 7:28
Jesus Christ’s superior covenant and sacrifice 8:1 – 10:18
Obedience through faith 10:19 – 12:29
Concluding instructions 13:1 – 13:25
James: To merely say we have faith is insufficient. James stresses that we must have faith that manifests itself in the of action of good works. His letter covers a wide range of sins: pride, prejudice, hypocrisy, worldliness, the unbridled tongue and apathy. This practical treatise gives the scattered Jewish Christians a strong understanding of their union in Christ. Their trials, desires, relationships, prayers, compassion, patience and faith are all shown to have a place in their worship of God and in their ministry to others. The letter closes with a dramatic account if the faith of Elijah.
Key Words: “patience”; “pure religion”. James emphasizes “patience” as a godly virtue each believer needs in order to become perfect and complete in Christ. “Pure religion” is living righteously before God and an an example before the world. This includes a proper relationship with orphans, widows and others.
Themes: We are saved by faith alone, but saving faith never stands alone. It reveals itself through obedience and fruit of the believer. We cannot be saved by any number of good works. Faith without good works is not real faith. We must be doers of the Word, not just hearers. Our human strength is unable to bridle the tongue, but through God’s strength, it can be done. There is no place for discrimination or greed in the life of a committed believer.
Concerning trials and temptations 1:2 – 1:18
Characteristics of true faith 1:19 – 2:26
Stumbling blocks 3:1 – 5:6
Faith that triumphs 5:7 – 5:20
1 Peter: To many this time of persecution is one of despair, but Paul reveals that this is actually a time to rejoice. He encourages the believers to count it a privilege to suffer for the sake of Christ, for even as their Savior was persecuted, so will all followers of Christ be persecuted as they identify with Him. This letter from Peter makes reference to his sermons from the book of Acts and also to his personal experiences with Jesus. To further identify with Christ, all believers are called to holiness, purity and brotherly love. The Christian’s wealth in Christ enables him to live with the mind of Christ in all of life’s associations. Peter concludes his practical advice by confirming Satan as the great enemy of every Christian (5:8). But the assurance of Christ’s future return gives the incentive of hope.
Key Words: “suffering”; “glory”; “rejoice”. The trials and “suffering which believers face because of their commitment to Jesus Christ will bring them spiritual “glory”. For this reason, Christians have occasion to “rejoice” even when Satan and the world aim to hurt them.
Themes: The assurance of eternal life is given to all Christians. The Word of The Lord endureth for ever (1:25). God desires for us to cast all our cares upon him. One way to identify with Christ is to share in His suffering. Suffering for righteous living brings glory; suffering for sinful living brings shame. Satan hates us and seeks our defeat. Happiness comes to those who are obedient and submissive to Christ.
Salutation 1:1 – 1:2
Praises to God 1:3 – 1:12
Exhortation to holiness 1:13 – 2:12
Submissions of the believer 2:13 – 3:7
Suffering of the believer 3:8 – 5:11
Final greetings 5:12 – 5:14
2 Peter: This letter from Peter encourages believers to grow in Christ, which is made possible by a proper knowledge of the Gospel. God’s Word gives the promises necessary for obedience and can be totally relied upon as revealing all truth and prophecy. Peter discusses in detail the danger and destructiveness of the evil ministry of false teachers, whose interests are not in God, but in self-glorification and worldly lusts. But God’s righteousness shall prevail when, at the day of The Lord, the old earth shall be burned up and a new heaven and a new earth shall replace it (chapter 3).
Key Words: “knowledge”; “last days”. Peter’s method of refuting the false “knowledge” being propagated is to remind the believers of the true “knowledge”, which is based on a personal experience with Christ. This growth in the grace of God is aided by a better understanding of the “last days”, when the ungodly will receive their judgement.
Themes: Deceit comes in many forms, but truth comes in one form (the form of God). God has delayed His judgement so that more my come to repentance (3:9). Destruction comes to those who scoff at the Word of God. Maturity in God will come as we develop an intense and personal relationship with God’s Son, God’s Spirit and God’s Word. Righteousness shall prevail over wickedness in the end.
Salutation 1:1 – 1:2
Growth and knowledge in Christ 1:3 – 1:21
False teachers and their condemnation 2:1 – 2:22
The day of The Lord 3:1 – 3:18
1 John: This message of a John is a warning to the believers not to be deceived by the false doctrines being spread. He addresses them as his “little children” and “beloved” marking his closeness to them. Ppt he union between the Father and the Sin is boldly proclaimed, for only as one comes to know Jesus Christ can he know the Father. John urges the believers to find joy in God and in the knowledge of His forgiveness and grace. John’s practical instructions include admonitions for the believer to walk in the light of righteousness, to live a spiritual life marked by a spiritual birth and to show brotherly love for others. The Christians are encouraged not to love the things of this world, to be aware of antichrists and to test the spirits to see whether they are from God or Satan. John concludes his letter of happiness and hope for the believers by reassuring them of the power of prayer and their protection in God from the evil one.
Key Words: “fellowship”; “love”. The emphasis of 1 John is to stress that in order for a believer to have a proper “fellowship” with God, he must walk in obedience and truth. Proper “fellowship” with others is manifested by having “love” for one another. This “love” for others is made possible by the fact that Christ first loved us enough to lay down His life.
Themes: God is life. God is light. God is love. A believer’s birthmark is righteousness. True love will manifest itself in actions, not just in words. Perfect love cast out all fears (4:18). The love God has for us is totally unconditional. Only the blood of Christ can cleanse us of all our sins.
Walking in the light 1:1 – 2:14
Hindrances to fellowship 2:15 – 2:27
Abiding in Christ’s love 2:28 – 5:5
Victory and assurance through faith (5:6 – 5:21
2 John: John continues showing his concern for others by warning of those who do not teach the truth about Jesus Christ. But John does have joy for those walking according to the commands of God. Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God and those trusting Him for salvation should live in truth, love and obedience. The relationship believers have with those of the world must be discerning; false teachers should not be encouraged in any way (1:10, 11). The Apostle John concludes this small letter by stating his desire to return for a personal visit with the Christians.
Key Words: “truth”; “walk”. The theme of “truth” transcends 2 John. This “truth” advocates love, knowledge and joy for believers who “walk” in these virtues. John uses his apostolic authority command this “walk” of obedience and to warn believers of false teachers who do not follow Christ’s teaching.
Themes: Antichrists are in the world, and they seek to deceive us. Obedience and love are inseparable. A Christian’s support for heathen activities is being a partaker in that evil. Great joy comes I those who help others grow in truth.
Salutation 1:1 – 1:3
Walk in obedient love 1:4 – 1:6
Avoid false teachers 1:7 – 1:11
Concluding remarks 1:12 – 1:13
3 John: Having traveled with Jesus, John understands the need for itinerant ministers to be aided in their efforts. John writes this letter to his friend Gaius commending him and encouraging him to continue his support for the evangelists who travel throughout Asia Minor. Gaius is further warned not to be like Diotrephes, who refuses to help the missionaries, undermines the authority of a John, and even banishes from the church all who desire to give aid to these traveling bearers of truth. In contrast, Demetrius is highly commended as a model church member. John closes this third letter with hope to visit soon.
Key Words: “Joy”; “Hospitality”. The abundant “joy” which John expresses is for the faithfulness of Gaius and other believers who continue to walk in truth. The “hospitality” which they show to the itinerant preachers and other Christian brothers is a trait which the entire Church is commissioned to develop.
Themes: The family of God should support other members of the family who proclaim the Gospel. When we support a ministry, we become a partner of that ministry. A good reputation will follow a conscientious walk with God. Believers should stand firm against hypocrites diluting the mission of the Church.
Gains’ love and faith commended 1:2 – 1:8
Diotrephes’ actions rebuked 1:9 – 1:10
Demetrius’ actions praised 1:11 – 1:12
Final greetings 1:13 – 1:14
Jude: Jude writes this letter to warn believers that godless men bearing false doctrines about Jesus and the Christian walk are polluting the churches. Jude reminds the people of God’s previous judgement against Israel’s unbelief, angels’ disobedience, and Sodom and Gomorrah’s corruption. These 3 Old Testament judgements are followed by 3 declarations of woe to godless men who have taken the way of Cain, Balaam and Korah. Jude referee to Jewish tradition regarding Enoch’s prophecy of the doom of the ungodly and makes reference to the apostles’ predictions of evil, divisions and apostasy. But still Jude encourages the faithful to remain strong and true and to show mercy to those who doubt. The power and authority of Jesus Christ is proclaimed with great joy.
Key Words: “Contend”; “Ungodly”. The mission of this letter from Jude is to urge the believers to “contend” for the faith which has been entrusted to them (verse 3). It painstakingly details the sin and the assured judgement of all “ungodly” people.
Themes: Christians need to beware of false teachers infiltrating their churches. Ungodly people can be detected by their beliefs, their acts and their words. Believers should be merciful to unbelievers. Jesus Christ will cleanse all believers and present them without fault to God. The judgement of God on unbelievers is certain.
Introduction 1:1 – 1:2
Condemnation of false teachers 1:3 – 1:16
A call to persevere 1:17 – 1:23
Doxology of Jude 1:24 – 1:25
A summary of Prophecy.
Revelation: The Revelation is lavish in colorful descriptions of the visions which proclaim for us the last days before Christ’s return and the ushering in of the new heaven and new earth. It is a full disclosure of the prophetic events which await every person, whether dead or alive. The Revelation makes known what is to come: the series of devastations to be poured out upon the earth; the mark of the beast, “666” (13:18); the climactic battle of Armageddon; the binding of Satan; the reign of The Lord; the great white throne judgement; and the nature of the eternal city of God. Prophecies concerning Jesus Christ are fulfilled, and a concluding call to His Lordship assures us that He will soon return.
Key Words: “Revelation”; “Jesus Christ”; “Seven”. This book is a thorough “revelation” of the total person of “Jesus Christ”: His glory, power and wisdom; His judgement, kingdom and grace; and the Lamb of God from Alpha to Omega. Several numbers have significant symbolism in the Revelation, but the number “seven” is dominant throughout with 7 letters, 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 signs, 7 plagues, 7 dooms and 7 new things.
Themes: The end of earthly life is only the beginning of eternal life. Christians shall spend eternity with God in the new Jerusalem. Unbelievers shall spend eternity with Satan in the lake of fire. God desires that everyone trust in His Son for redemption, today.
Introduction 1:1 – 1:7
Christ’s revelation of a Himself to John 1:8 – 1:20
Letters to the 7 churches 2:1 – 3:22
The throne in heaven 4:1 – 5:14
The 7 seals 6:1 – 8:5
The 7 trumpets 8:6 – 11:19
The 7 explanatory prophecies 12:1 – 14:20
The 7 bowls of wrath 15:1 – 16:21
The overthrow of Babylon 17:1 – 19:5
Prophecies concerning the second coming of Christ 19:6 – 19:21
Prophecies concerning the Millennium 20:1 – 20:6
The rebellion and Satan’s final doom 20:7 – 20:15
The new heaven, new earth and new Jerusalem 21:1 – 22:6
The coming of The Lord Jesus Christ – 22:7 – 22:21
Source material from KJV Rainbow Study Bible