MATTHEW    Author: Matthew

    Matthew was a disciple of Jesus and a former publican
(tax collector).  Mark and Luke refer to him as Levi.  Matthew's object seems to be to show that Jesus was the long expected Messiah, that His life was the fulfilling of the Old Testament prophecies relation to the Messiah.  Thus it is that, more than a dozen times after describing some event in Jesus' life, he makes a statement such as, "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets."  By one count Matthew refers to the kingdom 55 different times, and the "kingdom of heaven" 35 times.  It is said that Matthew quotes more from the Old Testament than any other New Testament writer.  Of the 15 parables recorded by Matthew all but three begin: "The kingdom of heaven is like..."  Matthew and Luke are the only two who wrote of the genealogy of Christ, but with noticeable differences.  In Matthew His genealogy is traced back to Abraham, father of the Jewish nation (Matthew 1:1-17); Luke traces it back to Adam (Luke 3:38), the father of the human family, showing that he belongs to each one of us, as well as to the Jewish nation.  Only Matthew records the visit of the Wise Men from the East at Jesus' birth and to the flight into Egypt.

 

MARK    Author: Mark
   Mark is described as the son of a woman named Mary
( Mark 12:12), and a cousin of Paul's missionary companion Barnabas (Col. 4:10).  Mark begins his Gospel by introducing John the Baptist as the herald of the Messiah.  He demonstrated that Jesus is the Son of God by the works He accomplished during His brief say on earth.  In the King James Version all but four of the sixteen chapters of Mark begin with the word "and" illustrating how Christ's life and service are a complete, perfect whole.  The word "and" is said to appear 1,375 times in this short book.  Mark is the shortest of all the Gospels, and very little is found here that is not in the other gospels.  It is the first of the of our Gospels to be written.  Mark, who depicts Jesus as a man of action, records twenty of Jesus's miracles in detail, but only four parables.

 

LUKE    Author: Luke
   Luke was a Gentile physician, and sometime companion of Paul (Acts 16:10-24; 2 Tim. 4: 11; Col. 4: 14). It is obvious from his writings that he was an educated man, with a wide cultural background.  Scholars believe he wrote for Greek readers.  Thus, writing for Gentiles, he traces Christ's ancestry back to Adam, the father of the race.  Matthew, writing for Jew, traces it back to Abraham.  Luke, the longest of the Gospels, gives the longest account of Jesus and the only one of His childhood, including His visit to the Temple at the age of 12.  Only he records the visit of the shepherds at His birth.  Luke's portrayal of Jesus as one with humanity, sympathetic to human needs, is in keeping with Paul's description of him as "the beloved physician" (Col. 4:14).  Thus he relates the stories of the good Samaritan (Luke 10: 33); the publican (chapter 18:13); the prodigal (chapter 15: 11-24); Zacchaeus (chapter 19:2); and the thief on the cross (chapter 23:43).  He alone tells of Jesus' beholding the city of Jerusalem and weeping over it, of His bloody sweat in Gethsemane, and His showing mercy to the dying thief on the cross.

 

JOHN    Author: John
   John, a Galilean from Bethsaida, on the Sea of Galilee, was the youngest of Jesus' disciples.  His Gospel, written when he was very old, toward the close of the first century, is quite different from the others.  One reason for this is that he describes Jesus' Judean ministry, whereas the other writers deal with His Galilean.  John begins his book by turning our minds to "the beginning" of Creation, and portrays Jesus as God, before all things, the Creator of all, who "was made flesh, and dwelt among us."  The key word is believe, which appears in the book almost 100 times.  The key text is chapter 20:31.  The purpose of the book is to lead men to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the  Son of God.  John alone relates the story of Christ's first miracle at Cana, the interview with Nicodemus, the raising of Lazarus, His commending His mother to the care of John at the cross, and the triumphant shout, "It is finished."

 

ACTS    Author: Luke

   The book covers approximately the years A.D. 31-63.  It begins with the ascension of Jesus and  then relates something of the growth of Christianity in Palestine and near by countries.  An important element of Acts is that it describes how the gospel broke through the exclusiveness of Judaism and spread to the Gentile world.  More than thirty times the word "witness" is used.  The name of the Holy Sprit is used seventy times, and although the book is called the Acts of the Apostles, we rather see for the most part the Holy Sprit working through Peter and Paul and their companions.

 

ROMANS    Author: Paul
   This letter of Paul is the longest and probably the most influential of all his writings.  It was penned at Corinth, possibly during the winter of A.D. 57-58.  All men are sinners, in a hopeless situation, unable to do righteously, but that the grace of God provides for the pardon and perfecting of all is the apostle's theme.  This is made possible through faith in Jesus Christ.  The first part of the book tells what God did for us, and the last part, what we should do for God and our fellow men.

 

1 CORINTHIANS    Author: Paul
   Paul wrote this letter to the church of Corinth in the spring of 57 from Ephesus, where he spent 3 years.  At this time Corinth was perhaps the most important city in all of Greece, noted for its wealth, trade, luxury, and licentiousness.  Its principal deity was Aphrodite, the goddess of sensual love.  First Corinthians has two themes: rebuke for contentiousness and immorality, and the clarification of questions asked by the Corinthian believers.  After rebuking the Christian believers for a party spirit and immorality, Paul goes on to discuss such questions as food sacrificed to idols, the deportment of women in church, the celebration of the Lord's Supper, tongues, and the resurrection.

 

2 CORINTHIANS    Author: Paul
   Because Paul's first letter to the Corinthian believers was well received by the majority of them, he wrote the second letter.  The theme of the first seven chapters is mainly thankfulness for the reception of his previous letter, coupled with a defense of his apostleship.  In chapter 8 and 9 he urges the Corinthian Christians to fulfill their obligations by helping the poor Christians at Jerusalem, an obligation they had neglected.  In the final chapters he writes to the minority who had not accepted his rebuke in his first letter, and appeals to them to repent.

 

GALATIANS    Author: Paul
   The date of the writing of this Epistle is uncertain: It has been dated as early as A. D. 45; it may have been written during the same winter Paul wrote Romans (A. D. 57-58).  The Epistle's theme is very similar to Romans: righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ.  The treatment of the subject centers on the insistence of certain Judaizers that the keeping of prescribed requirements of Judaism-"works"-is necessary for salvation.  Paul firmly repudiates their teaching by insisting that works do not justify a man - only faith in Christ.  In fact, trusting in "works of the law" makes the operation of grace impossible.

 

EPHESIANS    Author: Paul

   This letter, written about A. D. 62, is one of the 4 the apostle Paul wrote in prison.  Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon are the others.  In this Epistle Paul writes of the church as the body of Christ: and he calls for Christian unity: for the individual believer to be united to Christ, and for the Jew and Gentile to be one in Christ.  And he descries the gifts of the Spirit as intended to bring unity.  The last part of the Epistle is an exhortation for reformation of life, and a discussion of home relationships.

 

PHILIPPIANS    Author: Paul
   This letter was written by Paul, during his first imprisonment, to the first church founded in Europe.  A vision in which he was invited to "come over in to Macedonia, and help us," brought Paul to Philippi.  This letter gives us information about Paul's situation during his Roman imprisonment, as well as of his relationship to the Philippian church.  The words joy in Christ may well describe the theme of the book; the words "joy" or "rejoice" are used many times.  In this letter Paul expresses his gratitude for the love of the Philippians and their gifts to him.

 

COLOSSIANS    Author: Paul
   This Epistle was also written during Paul's imprisonment in Rome.  The Colossian church is infected with the false teachings of Judaistic legalism, as was the Galatian.  In addition, pagan elements, as such as angel intermediaries, angel worship and "will worship," are being taught by some.  Paul presents Christ as the true Mediator who only is the "hope of glory."  Though these letters are similar in style, the emphasis in each is very different.

 

1 THESSALONIANS    Author: Paul
   During his second missionary journey Paul, accompanied by Timothy and Silas, preached three Sabbath days at Thessalonica, and during that time he founded this church. Then he went on to Berea, Athens, and Corinth.  Timothy followed him later, and it was as a result of Timothy' report that the letter was written.  In the letter Paul commends the Thessalonians for their faith, love, and hope, and goes on to correct misunderstandings that had arisen regarding the resurrection and the manner of Christ's second coming.  he also deals with future rewards and punishment and the doctrine of redemption.

 

2 THESSALONIANS    Author: Paul
   It is probable that Thessalonians was written only a few months after 1 Thessalonians.  It seeks to correct further misunderstandings that had arisen, apparently as a result of his first Epistle.  Certain emphasis by Paul seems to have given some the impression the Second Coming was imminent.  Therefore the apostle prophesies of events to take place before Christ's return.

 

1 TIMOTHY    Author: Paul

   First and second Timothy, with Titus, are called the Pastoral Epistles because they deal with the duty of ministers to their churches.  Timothy, a young Greek-Jewish convert of Paul's, had accompanied the apostle on some of his travels.  At the time the Epistles were written he was pastor of the important Ephesus church. This Epistle, with 2 Timothy, may be regarded as a handbook for Christian pastors and ministers.  In this Epistle Paul unfolds plans for church organization and development, and emphasizes the need for sound doctrine.

 

2 TIMOTHY    Author: Paul

   This, so far as we know, is Paul's last letter before his execution.  It was penned in a Roman prison to his "dearly beloved son," Timothy, following his final arrest, apparently somewhere in Greece.  In the Epistle Paul writes of his work's being "finished" and of his expectation of death.  But, forgetting himself, he seeks, to strengthen Timothy and to give him final counsel regarding his ministry.  He also warns him of perilous days ahead, and exhorts him to follow the example Paul himself had set.

 

TITUS    Author: Paul
   Written  to Titus, a Gentile convert of Paul's, while Titus was organizing the Christian church on the island of Crete.  Earlier Paul had given Titus the difficult task of setting the differences at Corinth, and in the second letter to the Corinthians we learn how successful he was in this mission.   Seventeen years after Paul's conversion Titus accompanied him and Barnabas to Jerusalem.  As in the letters to Timothy, this letter discusses in a practical way the everyday problems confronted by a young minister.  It is thought to have been written between the two letter to Timothy.  Paul tells Titus the qualifications of church officers (Titus 1:6-9), talks to him of the aged (chapter 2:2,3), the youth (verses 4-6), the slaves (verses 9, 10), and how to live a Christian life.

 

PHILEMON    Author: Paul

   This, the shortest of all Paul's letters, is addressed to Philemon, a Christian living in Colossae.  It was written on behalf of Onesimus, Philemon's slaves, who had run away, and had met Paul.  Converted and repentant, he returns to his master with this letter from Paul.  In the letter Paul entreats Philemon to receive Onesimus back as a brother in Christ.  He makes himself responsible for the debts that he might own, asking that they be charged to his (Paul's ) account.

 

HEBREWS    Author: Paul

   This book has been called the fifth Gospel.  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John describe Christ's ministry on earth; Hebrews describes His ministry in heaven.  The theme of the book is Christ's perfect sacrifices for the sins of the world-His ministry as high priest, representing us to His Father. Its message is structured around a comparison and contrast with the Old Testament symbols and their fulfillment in Christ.  This book shows that we must have Old Testament to understand the New, and the New Testament to understand the Old.

 

JAMES    Author: James
   The author of this letter introduces himself as "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. "There are three men in the New Testament who bore this name, one of whom was the brother of our Lord.  But it is not possible to discover with certainty which of the three wrote this Epistle.  This book, addressed "to the twelve tribes...scattered abroad," is the  most Jewish in style and form of any of the New Testament books.  It is sometimes referred to as the Proverbs of the New Testament because of its practical guide to Christian living and conduct.  It points out that works, and not words, are the mark of a disciple.  While Paul deals with the source of our faith, James speaks of the fruits of it.  Throughout the letter a contrast is made between the manifestations of the true and false religion.

 

1 PETER    Author: Peter
   This Epistle was written by Peter toward the end of his life, probably in the middle sixties A. D.  The contents of the book reflect a time of trial and suffering, and it was probably written during the widespread persecution of the Christians by the Roman authorities under the cruel Emperor Nero.  Peter admonishes the readers of this book to a life of purity and godly living, exhorting them to be faithful and steadfast.  He seeks to encourage his readers in the face of persecution.  Consequently he uses the term joy and glory more than a score of times, and refers to hope several times.  Peter knew from experience what trials and suffering meant, but he gives a formula for happiness in a world that is wretched and evil.  In the fifth chapter he tells his readers to cast all their cares upon God, for He cares for them.

 

1 JOHN    Author: John
   The three Epistles of John were written by the apostle John, the writer of the fourth Gospel.  They are thought to be dated A. D. 90-95, when  John was quite old.  The theme of the Epistle, characteristic of John, is love.  The concept is used in some way in the letter more than two dozen times.  In the letter John seeks to combat heresies that  were troubling the church, especially Gnosticism.  The adherents of this heresy clamed to have special knowledge.  John writes of the true knowledge.

 

2 JOHN    Author: John
   This is a personal letter addressed to an "elect lady and her children."  It is the only one in the bible addressed specifically to a woman.  The word truth is found 5 times in the 13 verses of this book, and love, 4 times.  John points out that the test of our love is whether we keep God's commandments.

 

3 JOHN    Author: John
   Written to counter schismatic tendencies on the part of one Diotrephes, this letter was sent by John to an elder named Gaius.  While he writes with firmness, nevertheless the affectionate spirit of the beloved apostle shows through.

 

JUDE    Author: Jude
   This short letter was written by Jude, believed to be a brother of Jesus.  He warns against the dangers of apostasy and urges his readers to defend the faith courageously.  His letter is very similar to 2 Peter.

 

REVELATION     Author: John
   This last book of the Bible was penned by John, the author of the fourth Gospel and the 3 Epistles of John.  Revelation is the only book in the New Testament that is essentially all prophecy.  Its theme is the unfolding of the future events related to the church and the world, ending in the triumph of our Lord.  These revelations are given to John through Jesus, who received them from the Father
(chapter 1:1).  by one estimate, there are 300 symbols
used in Revelation, each with a definite meaning.  
Jesus is referred to as a lamb, referring to His sacrifice
for His people, more than 25 times.
The Old Testament

Amazing Change

   Eternal heartfelt thanks to Mrs. Phyllis Bailey for putting her love for God and two of her hobbies-reading and filing- to good use.
And to the
 
Review and Herald Publishing Association
for making this presentation possible.