In our private study of the Word of God, it is important that our time is well spent. If we spend the whole year reading through the entirety of the Bible, but commit none of it’s teachings to our lives, what have we really accomplished? It is imperative then to consider what we are trying to do in our own personal study. One of the most beneficial ways I personally have learned to begin reading and studying is to take a step back before I get into a text, and examine exactly where I am going. For example, if I am going to be examining Ephesians I know that it is not the same kind of study as Revelation. In this article I wish to provide you with a very brief overview of the New Testament to ensure you have the tools that will allow you to know exactly what book you are examining:
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John- The four-fold revelation of the life of Jesus. Matthew written to the Jews showing Christ the King, Mark written to the Romans to show Christ the Servant, Luke written to the Greek to show Christ the Man, John written to everyone to show Christ the God.
Acts- the only History book in the New Testament. Recorded by Luke from the Ascension to Paul’s 1st imprisonment.
Romans- only the gospel can justify you; 1 Corinthians- every problem in the Church; 2 Corinthians- Paul’s most intimate letter; Galatians- mini-Romans; Ephesians- Christ over the church; Philippians- JOY!; Colossians- avoiding heresy; 1 and 2 Thessalonians- end times misunderstanding
1 and 2 Timothy- Letters to a young preacher; Titus- the work of the church; Philemon- an allegory of us returning home; Hebrews- Christ is better; James- the behavior of belief; 1 and 2 Peter- Peter’s perspective on the gospel; 1, 2, 3, John- God is love; Jude-Contend for the faith; Revelation- Persevere because Jesus wins!
This very short list of “tag-lines” for the books of the New Testament have been very helpful in my own private study. Remembering these summaries keeps the books in their overall context and provide a launching pad for a further and deeper study. Be assured there is so much more to uncover in the Scriptures, but forgetting the simple points of the books will lead us away from the context and eventually the truth if we are not careful.