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New Testament

Jeremiah 31:31   Lo! days shall come, saith the Lord, and I shall strike a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah.

The New Testament, or the New Covenant, is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first division being the Old Testament, or Old covenant.  The New Testament, written originally in Greek as opposed to the Old Testament written originally in Hebrew, is a collection of the writings of first century Christians who were disciples or followers of Jesus Christ.   It is widely held and agreed upon that all of the 27 books of the New Testament were written no later than 150 AD and some believe that they were all written before 70 AD.

These books are divided into groups:

The Gospels:   The gospel or “good news” of Jesus Christ is outlined in the first four books of the New Testament.   The gospels give us a glimpse of the life of Jesus, His teachings, mostly in parable form, the miracles He performed, and the plan of salvation.  The word Apostle refers to any of the original 12 disciples called by Jesus to preach the gospel or “good news”. The Apostles or disciples were: Simon Peter, the brothers James and John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alpheus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot. The first three gospels are referred to as the Synoptic Gospels from their similarity in content, order, and statement.

The Gospel of Matthew is credited to the Apostle Matthew.   Prior to becoming a disciple of Jesus, Matthew was a tax collector and the book of Matthew reflects a very orderly account of the life and teachings of Jesus.   Matthew wrote his account to his fellow Jews in an effort to parallel the Old Testament prophecies of a messiah with the life of Jesus in order to show them that Jesus is the messiah they had been waiting for since Old Testament days.   Of the four gospel writers,  Matthew quotes the old Testament the most and lays out the lineage of Jesus from King David.   Matthew references the Old Testament prophesies more than 60 times to demonstrate how the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth fulfills each one.

The Gospel of Mark is credited to John Mark spoken of in the New Testament book of Acts whose mother was an active participant in the early church and it is believed their home was used as a meeting place for worship.   Marks writings seem to be for the Gentile believers as opposed to Jewish converts to the Christian faith. Mark emphasizes not the Old Testament prophecy link to Jesus and therefore does not start off with the lineage or early life of Christ.   The book of Mark begins with the Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan by John the Baptist.   Mark portrays Jesus as a humble servant of God and as a savior and emphasises what it means to be a disciple of Christ.

The Gospel of Luke is credited Luke who was not one of the original twelve disciples of Jesus but a physician and a peer of Paul.   Luke is credited with being the only Gentile (not a Jew) to write any of the books contained in the Bible.   The book of Luke is very thorough account of the life of Jesus and gives details the other gospels do not expound upon.

The Gospel of John is credited to the Apostle John, son of Zebedee. John tells us himself in Chapter 20 verse 31 why he wrote:  “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”   John is not one of the Synoptic Gospels as he does not present an ordered account of the life of Jesus.   John’s gospel, or “good news” is that Jesus is who He said He was, Song of God, the long-awaited Messiah, fully God and fully man and the way to salvation.

Apostolic History:   Apostolic meaning of, relating to, deriving from, or contemporary with the Apostles, the original twelve disciples of Jesus Christ, of or relating to the teachings or practice of the Apostles.   The book of Acts or the Acts of the Apostles tells us about what happened after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.   Acts was written by Luke the physician, a gentile. Luke is credited with being the only gentile writer of a book of the Bible.   The gospel of Luke and the book of the Acts of the Apostles is actually one book, volumes 1 and 2.   In the New Testament Luke and Acts are not presented in consecutive order but have the book of John between them.   This is because Luke’s gospel is included in the Synoptic Gospels, or gospels containing the life of Jesus, so it was decided at some point to keep it together with Matthew and Mark, the other two Synoptic writers.

Epistles: An epistle is a composition or literary work written in letter form that is long, formal, and intended for instruction, to teach, or bring a moral lesson to a particular audience.

The Pauline Epistles: The Pauline Epistles were letters from Paul to various start-up churches of first century Christianity. Paul, a devout Jew was a persecutor of the early Christian church at large. He saw early Christians as a bunch of crazy cult people who were a danger to the sanctity of the Jewish faith and blasphemers of God. Paul loved God and it was his mission to do away with people such as these. One day while Paul was en route to take down more Christians he had an encounter with God on the road to Damascus and God revealed to him that Jesus was indeed the long-awaited Messiah, the Son of God, and the only way to salvation. Paul converted to the very thing he had been so dead against and made it his new mission in life to spread the good news of the gospel of Christ anywhere God led him to go.   Paul basically was a traveling evangelist starting seed churches all over the Mediterranean area from Italy to Greece and places beyond. Peter, one of the original twelve disciples of Jesus is said to have been called to minister to the Jews and Paul is said to have been called to minister to the Gentiles (heathens, pagans, non-Jews).

Paul’s Pastoral Epistles are addressed to pastors of certain churches and focus on Christian living, doctrine, and leadership:

General Epistles: The General epistles are also called the catholic epistles. Catholic with a small “c”, not the Holy Catholic Church, means broad or wide-ranging in tastes, interests, or the like,universal in extent; involving all; of interest to all, pertaining to the whole Christian body or church. In other words, these letters were written for the benefit of Christian churches everywhere and not focussed on one particular group of people meeting to worship but to all people desiring to know Christ and worship and follow Him.

The Epistle of James is credited to James, brother of Jesus.
The First Epistle of Peter is credited to the Apostle Peter, one of the original twelve disciples of Jesus.
The Second Epistle of Peter is credited to the Apostle Peter, one of the original twelve disciples of Jesus.
The First Epistle of John is credited to the Apostle John,one of the original twelve disciples of Jesus who also wrote the Gospel of John and Revelation.
The Second Epistle of John is credited to the Apostle John,one of the original twelve disciples of Jesus who also wrote the Gospel of John and Revelation.
The Third Epistle of John is credited to the Apostle John,one of the original twelve disciples of Jesus who also wrote the Gospel of John and Revelation.
The Epistle of Jude is credited to Jude, the brother of Jesus and James.

The Apocalypse:   An apocalypse is defined as a prophetic disclosure or revelation and here refers to the final book of the New Testament, Revelation also known as the Apocalypse of John.





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January 2021
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