READING THE BIBLE: NEW TESTAMENT
The Bible is filled with the teaching of many of the wisest people who have ever lived. Not only is that true, but the Bible is the word of God. When we want to know how to live, we can read the Bible. When we have questions about how to please God, we can read the Bible. The Bible teaches us what God wants us to do. It tells us about what kind of people God wants us to be.
The New Testament is the part of the Bible that Jesus’ followers wrote. It is much shorter than the Old Testament. Some of the books take only a few minutes to read. But before you read any of the books in the New Testament, it is helpful to know what each book is about.
Here is a list of each of the New Testament books. After the name of each book there are a few sentences to help you know what each book is about. After you have read the list, choose a book that sounds interesting to you and start reading.
After you read about one of the books, think about it for a while. You may want to think about what kind of things you have learned. Think about how the things you have learned can help you in your everyday life. Then you may want to talk about what you have learned with someone else.
When you see a word marked like *this, you will find the word explained in a Word List. You will find the list at the end of this article.
A LOOK AT THE NEW TESTAMENT: Book by Book
The word gospel means good news. Almost half of the New Testament consists of the four accounts of the life of Jesus. Each of these four books, or *Gospels, is for a different group of readers. Together, they give us a complete story of Jesus. They tell us about his life and his teachings. A large part of each of these books tells the story of Jesus’ final week on earth. That last week was when Jesus died and rose to life again. The book of Acts continues the story. It tells about the time soon after Jesus went back to heaven.
Matthew connects the Old Testament and the New Testament. Matthew wrote to people who were *Jews. Matthew presents Jesus as the *Messiah. In the Old Testament, God promised to send the people a king. Matthew tells us that Jesus was the king. The book shows his authority and power.
Mark wrote his gospel to people who were Romans. Mark is a book of action. It describes many of the things Jesus did. Mark gives an account of Jesus’ work on earth.
Luke was a doctor. He was also a good writer. Luke tells many stories of how Jesus cared for the sick and poor. Luke’s book is full of joy. He tells us many of Jesus’ stories. Many of these stories had special meanings.
John wrote his book with a thoughtful style. John chose 7 *miracles which he called *signs. These showed Jesus as the Son of God. He used everything else in the book to bring attention to this.
Luke also wrote Acts. He tells what happened to the followers of Jesus. This was after Jesus went back to heaven. Peter and Paul soon became leaders of the *church which grew very fast.
THE LETTERS OF PAUL
Paul wrote Romans to people who had a good education. Romans explains the *gospel. Paul explains things clearly. He gives good reasons for what he believes.
1 Corinthians is a practical book. The book is all about the problems of the *church in Corinth. They did not understand many things. Paul writes to them about marriage, *sin, and public worship. They also took each other to court. He tells people to stop arguing and agree with one another.
Paul wrote this letter to defend himself. Some false teachers had told lies about him. He also tells many personal stories about his life.
Galatians is like Romans, only shorter. This book talks about people who follow a list of rules to please God. Galatians shows how Christ came to bring freedom. He did not come with a set of laws that people must follow.
Paul wrote this letter when he was in prison. The book is full of hope and help. It tells about all the good things a believer has in Christ. The book also tells people how God wants them to live. It tells them how to fight against evil forces.
The *church in Philippi was a favourite of Paul. This friendly letter talks about how a Christian can find joy in any situation.
Paul wrote this book to warn against wrong beliefs. Colossians tells how faith in Christ is complete. No one can add to what Christ did.
Paul wrote this letter soon after he came to believe in Jesus. It tells a short history of one *church. Paul also gives them instruction on special problems in that *church.
This letter is stronger than the first letter to the Thessalonians. Paul talks about some of the same subjects. Paul also answers questions about when Jesus will come to earth again.
As Paul got older, he chose some young men to help him in his work. One of those men was Timothy. The two letters to Timothy are a guide for a young leader of the church.
Paul wrote this letter just before he died. It gives Paul’s final words to his young helper.
Titus was also a young helper of Paul. Paul sent him to Crete to help with a difficult church. Paul gives some good advice on how to help this *church in his letter.
Philemon was the owner of a slave named Onesimus. Onesimus had run away. But while away, he met Paul. Paul helped him to believe in Jesus. Paul wanted Philemon to forgive his slave. He wanted him to accept him as a brother in Christ.
THE GENERAL LETTERS
No one knows who wrote Hebrews. The writer sent this letter to Christians who were in great difficulties. Some of them were thinking about going back to the religion of *Jews. The book encourages them to be loyal to Jesus. It also explains how many parts in the Old Testament were *signs. These *signs prepared the way for Christ.
James was a man of action. He talked about how a believer should live out their faith. If someone calls themselves a Christian, they should live like one.
The people in Peter’s time had no love for the early Christians. They were not kind to them. Peter wrote this letter to comfort and encourage the people who were suffering opposition.
Peter wrote this letter to warn the *church about false teachers.
John explains basic truths of the Christian life in this book. He explains some of the words that Jesus used. He speaks of words like light, love, and life.
John warns his readers against false teachers. He tells the *churches how to protect themselves against them.
This letter explains the need to be kind and generous to those who are true teachers.
Jude wrote this small book to warn the *church. He speaks strong words against false teachers.
The Book of Revelation speaks of what is to happen in the future. John used many *signs and unusual stories as he wrote the book. Revelation finishes the story that started in Genesis. It tells of a huge battle between good and evil that will take place on earth. The Lord Jesus wins this battle. The book ends with a picture of a new heaven and a new earth.
Church: A group of people who follow and believe in Jesus Christ. A meeting of those who believe in Jesus Christ.
Gospel: A book about the good news. The message that Jesus came to save us from the results of sin. One of the four books at the beginning of the New Testament.
Jews: People who are born from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their children. A person of the same big family and country as Jesus.
Messiah: The person whom God sent to save people from their *sin and be their king; a special servant of God; a name for Jesus Christ.
Miracle: A great thing that can only happen by God’s power; a great thing that shows that a person brings a message from God.
Sign: Acts which showed the power of God present in the world.
Sin: Evil deeds. When we do things against God and other people. When we do not obey God’s rules.