The New (3 letters) Testament (9 letters) contains 27 books (3×9) that fall in to 3 general categories:
- Historical books: Mathew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts of the Apostles.
- Epistles (Letters): Romans, 1&2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians…
- Prophetic books: Revelation.
The New Testament books were written over a span of approximately 70 years and were written in the Greek language. Below is John 1:1 in the original:
εν αρχη ην ο λογος και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον και θεος ην ο λογος
(The books that are highlighted and in italics are recommended for reading)
The Historical books focus on the life of Christ and his body – the Church. Three of the Gospels are written from the same vantage point – time. They are chronicles of the life of Jesus and follow his work and words on earth. These are the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The focus of John‘s Gospel is on Jesus’ life too but is more focused on his thoughts and teachings and less on an orderly time line. All of these gospels contain Jesus’ words and focus on his ministry and message – to save us, to redeem us, to pay for our sins – to forgive us.
The epistles (Greek word meaning “letters”) contain, especially in the letter of Paul to the Christians in Galatia (Galatians), an orderly explanation of the central teachings of Christianity including salvation, by grace, through faith in Jesus; practical advice for Christians for daily living, and overflowing in gospel encouragement. To gain more insight into this read the letters to the Romans, Ephesians, and the Philippians.
The prophetic book of Revelation has been misunderstood and misused by many to further personal gain. Simply put, the book of Revelation, written by the apostle John, was written to reveal these simple truths:
- Christians will suffer – there will be persecution.
- Jesus has won the fight. The victory is ours – won and given to us by Jesus on the cross and in his resurrection.
- Jesus, at his own time, will finally take us to be with him for eternity.
This book is written by the apostle John in “dream language,” so to speak, and written to Christians who already knew and had a strong foundation in God’s Old Testament and faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
The New Testament’s primary message is so very clear. Jesus is God and he came in human flesh to suffer and die, that is, to be punished for our sins. He did this willingly so that we might be at peace with God. Experience the peace that transcends all understanding as you read the life saving and eternal words of Jesus.