New Testament

  1. Matthew
    1. Jesus fulfills the Old Testament prophesies of a coming Messiah.
    2. Matthew was a tax collector and was also known as Levi.
    3. The first of four Gospels (meaning "good news"), the book of Matthew ties what follows in the New Testament to what came before in the Old.  The book, written primarily to a Jewish audience, uses numerous Old Testament references to prove that Jesus is the promised Messiah the Jews have been anticipating for centuries.  Beginning with a genealogy that shows Jesus' ancestry through King David and the patriarch Abraham, Matthew then details the angelic announcement of Jesus' conception and the visit of the "wise men" with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Matthew introduces the character of John the Baptist, relative and forerunner of Jesus, and describes the calling of key disciples Peter, Andrew, James, and John.  Jesus' teachings are emphasized, with long passages covering His Sermon on the Mount (Chapters 5-7), including the Beatitudes ("Blessed are they...") and the Lord's prayer )"Our Father, who art in heaven...").  As with all four Gospels, Matthew also details the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and is the only biographer of Jesus to mention several miracles - the tearing of the temple curtain, an earthquake, the breaking open of tombs, and the raising to life of dead saints - that occurred during that time (27:50-54).   
    4. As Messiah, Jesus is also King and also worthy of our worship. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  2. Mark
    1. Jesus is God's Son, a suffering servant of all people.
    2. The second of four Gospels is believed by most to be the first one written.  The book of Mark is the briefest and most active of the four biographies of Jesus, the majority of which is repeated in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.  Mark addresses a Gentile audience, portraying Jesus as a man of action, divinely capable if healing the sick, controlling nature, an d battling the powers of Satan.  Mark's theme of the suffering servant comes through in his narratives of Jesus' interaction with hostile doubters - the Jewish leaders, who want to kill him (9:31); His neighbors, who take offense at Him (9:31); and even His own family members, who think He's crazy (3:21).  The abasement of Jesus pictures what His disciples should pursue: "Whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be the servant of all.  For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransome for many" (10:43-45).
    3. Suffering and loss aren't necessarily bad things - in fact, for Christians, they're the pathway to real life (8:35). - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  3. Luke
    1. Jesus is savior of all people, whether Jew or Gentile.
    2. Luke's Gospel is addressed to a man named Theophilus (1:3), "to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us" about Jesus Christ (1:1).  It's unclear who Theophilus was though some believe he may have been a Roman official - and Luke's book is the least Jewish and most universal of the four Gospels.Luke traces Jesus' genealogy beyond Abraham, the patriarch of the Jews, all the way back to Adam,"the son of God" (3:38), common ancestor to everyone.  Luke also shows Jesus' compassion for all people:  Roman soldiers (7:1-10), widows (7:11-17), the "sinful" (7:36-50), the chronically ill (8:43-48), lepars (17:11-19), and many others - including a criminal condemned to die on a cross beside Jesus (23:40-43).  As with all the Gospels, Luke shows Jesus' resurrection, adding detailed accounts of His appearances to two believers on the Emmaus road and the remaining eleven disciples.  As the Gospel ends, Jesus is ascending into heaven - setting the stage for a sequel of sorts, Luke's book of Acts. 
    3. It doesn't matter who you are, where you came from, or what you've done - Jesus came to seek and to save you. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  4. John
    1. Jesus is God Himself, the only Savior of the world.
    2. While the books of Matthew, Mark and Luke have many similarities (they're called the "synoptic Gospels," meaning they take a common view), the book of John stands alone.  The fourth Gospel downplays Jesus' parables (none are recorded) and miracles )only seven are featured).  Instead, John provides more extensive treatments of Jesus' reasons for coming to earth ("I am come that they may have life, and that they might have it more abundantly, " 10:10); His intimate relationship with God the Father ("I and my Father are one," 10:30); and His own feelings toward the job He had come to do (Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son, that they Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given to him," 17:1-2).  John also gives special emphasis to Jesus' patient treatment of the disciples Thomas, who doubted the resurrection (20:24-29), and Peter, who denied the Lord (21:15-23).
    3. "These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name" (20:31). - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  5. Acts
    1. The Holy Spirit's arrival heralds the beginning of the Christian church.
    2. Officially called "Acts of the Apostles," the book of Acts is a bridge between the story of Jesus in the Gospels and the life of the church in the letters to follow.  Luke begins with Jesus' ascension into heaven after forty days of post-resurrection activity, "speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God" (1:3).  Ten days later, God sends the Holy Spirit on the festival day of Pentecost - and the church is born.  Through the Spirit, the disciples are empowered to preach boldly about Jesus, and three thousand people become Christian that day.  Jewish leaders fearing the new movement called "this way" (9:2), begin persecuting believers, who scatter to other areas and spread the gospel through much of the known world.  The ultimate persecutor, Saul, becomes a Christian himself after meeting the brightly shining, heavenly Jesus on the road to Damascus.  Saul, later called Paul, ultimately joins Peter and other Christian leaders in preaching, working miracles, and strengthening the fledgling church.
    3. Christians today are driven by the same force that Acts describes: "Ye shall receive power, after the Holy Ghost is come upon you" (1:8). - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  6. Romans
    1. Sinners are saved only by faith in Jesus Christ.
    2. Some call Romans a "theology textbook" for its thorough explanation of the Christian life.  Paul begins by describing God's righteous anger against human sin (Chapters 1-2), noting that everyone falls short of God's standard (3:23).  But God Himself provides the only way to overcome that sin, "the righteousness of God which is by faith in Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe" (3:22).  Being justified (made right) through faith in Jesus, we can consider ourselves "to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (6:11).  God's Spirit will "quicken" (give life to 8:11) all who believe in Jesus, allowing us to "present [our] bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God" (12:1).  It is possible, with God's help, to "be not overcome of evil, but [to] overcome evil with good" (12:21).
    3. In Paul's own words, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (5:1). - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  7. 1 Corinthians
    1. An apostle tackles sin problems in the church in Corinth.
    2. Paul had helped found the church in Corinth (Acts 18) but then moved on to other mission fields.  While in Ephesus, he learns of serious problems in the Corinthian congregation and writes a long letter to address those issues. For those arguing over who should lead the church, Paul urges "that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement" (1:10).  For a man involved in an immoral relationship with his stepmother, PAul commands, "Put away from among ourselves that wicked person" (5:13).  For those church members filing lawsuits against others, PAul warns, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?" (6:9).  The apostle also teaches on marriage, CHristian liberty, the Lord's Supper, spiritual gifts, and the resurrection of the dead.  In the famous thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul describes the "more excellent way" (12:31): that of charity, or love. 
    3. Church problems are nothing new - neither is the way to correct them.  Personal purity, self discipline, and love for others are vital to a congregation's success. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  8. Galatians
    1. Christians are free from restrictive Jewish laws.
    2. Writing to several regional churches, Paul can only "marvel" (1:6) that Galatian Christians have turned from their freedom in Jesus back to the rules of Old Testament Judaism.  Some people tried to compel Christians "to live as do the Jews" (2:14). an error even the apostle Peter made (2:11-13).  Paul argued strongly "that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God...for, The just shall live by faith" (3:11). 
    3. Old Testament rules don't control Christians' lives - but God's Spirit should:  "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh" (5:16). - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  9. Ephesians
    1. Christians are all members of Jesus' "body," the church.
    2. Paul had started the church in Ephesus (Acts 19) and now explains in detail the church members' relationship to Jesus Christ - so that they "may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ" (4:15).  Through Jesus, God has reconciled both Jews and Gentiles to Himself (2:11-18).  This new life should result in pure, honest living in the church and in the home (Chapters 4-6).
    3. "In him [Jesus] you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit" (2:22 NIV). - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  10. Philippians
    1. "Friendship letter" between the apostle Paul and a beloved church.
    2. With sixteen references to "joy" and "rejoicing," Philippians is one of the apostle Paul's most upbeat letters - even though he wrote it in "bonds" (1:13).  Paul thanks the church at Philippi for its support (1:5) and encourages its people to "rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, rejoice" (4:4).
    3. When we live in the joy of the Lord, "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (4:7). - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  11. Colossians
    1. Jesus Christ is supreme - over everyone and everything.
    2. False teaching ("enticing words," 2:4) had infiltrated the church at Colosse, aparently causing some people to add unnecessary and unhelpful elements to their Christian faith.  Paul sent this letter to remind Christians of the superiority of Jesus over Jewish rules and regulations (2:16), angels (2:18), and anything else.  Jesus is "the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature" (1:15).
    3. "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men...and not after Christ" (2:8). - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  12. 1 Thessalonians
    1. Jesus will return to gather His followers to Him.
    2. In this letter to another church he helped found (see Acts 17), Paul teaches on the second coming of Christ, apparently an issue of some concern to the Thessalonians. Paul describes how Jesus will return but doesn't say exactly when.  The important thing, in his words, is "that ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory" (2:12).
    3. The Thessalonians were told to live right in the view of Jesus' coming return.  With the passage of two thousand years, don't you think it's more important for us today? - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  13. 2 Thessalonians
    1. Christians should work until Jesus returns.
    2. Shortly after writing 1 Thessalonians, Paul dictates a follow-up. Apparently, a letter falsely claiming to be from Paul had left the Thessalonians "shaken in mind...troubled" (2:2) at the thought that Jesus had already returned.  Paul assures them that the event is still future - and urges everyone to live positive and productive lives until the second coming.  "If any would not work," Paul commands those who have dropped out in anticipation of Jesus' return, "neither should he eat" (3:10).
    3. As with all Christian life, balance is key: We should always look forward to Jesus' return, but we should also be busy doing good while we're here on earth. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  14. 1 Timothy
    1. Pastors are taught how to conduct their lives and churches,
    2. The first of three "pastoral epistles," 1 Timothy contains the aging apostle Paul's insights for a new generation of church leaders.  Timothy had often worked alongside Paul but was now pastoring in Ephesus (1:3). Paul warned him against legalism and false teaching (Chapter 1), listed the qualifications for pastors and deacons (Chapter 3), and described the behavior of a "good minister of Jesus Christ" (4:6) in the final three chapters.
    3. Though 1 Timothy is a letter to a pastor, Paul's teaching "that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God" (3:15) can speak to the rest of us, too. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  15. 2 Timothy
    1. The apostle Paul's words to a beloved coworker.
    2. Second Timothy may be the last known letter of Paul.  Addressed to "Timothy, my dearly beloved son" (1:2), the book warns the young pastor against false teaching and urges him to live a life of purity before his congregation.  Timothy should expect trouble ("All that will live godly in CHrist Jesus shall suffer persecution," 3:12), but God will be faithful ("The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom," 4:18).  PAul begs Timothy to join him as quickly as possible, as "the time of my departure is at hand" (4:6). 
    3. We should all live life in such a way that we can say, like Paul, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith" (4:7). - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  16. Titus
    1. Church leaders are instructed on their lives and teaching.
    2. On the Mediterranean island of Crete, Paul left Titus to "set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders" (1:15) for the fledgling church.  Known for their poor behavior (see "Unique and Unusual" below), the people of Crete needed the kind of church leader who holds fast to "the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers" (1:9).
    3. Though church leaders are held to a high standard, so are the people in the pews.  What's good for the pastor is good for everyone else. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  17. Philemon
    1. Paul begs mercy for a runaway slave converted to Christianity.
    2. Philemon is a "fellowlabourer" (1:1) of Paul, a man who has "refreshed" (1:7) other Christians with his love and generosity.  But the apostle writes with a deeper request - that Philemon forgive and take back a runaway slave, who apparently accepted Christ under Paul's teaching: "my son Onesimus, who I have begotten in my bonds" (1:10).  "If thou count me therefor a partner," Paul wrote to Philemon, "receive him as myself" (1:17). 
    3. Christians are called to forgive, and here's a practical example to consider.  With God's help, will you let go of your grudges? - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  18. Hebrews
    1. Jesus is better than any Old Testament person or sacrifice.
    2. Written to Jewish Christians (hence the name "Hebrews"), this long letter emphasizes the superiority of CHristianity to Old Testament Judaism.  Jesus is "so much better" (1:4) than angels, Moses, and the previous animal sacrifices.  "For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh," Hebrews asks, "how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (9:13-14).  Jewish Christians, some of whom were apparently wavering in their commitment to Jesus, are reminded that Christ "is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises" (8:6) - a once-for-all sacrifice on the cross that provides "eternal redemption for us" (9:12). - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  19. James
    1. Real Christian faith is shown by one's good works.
    2. Though the apostle Paul clearly taught that salvation is by faith alone and not by good works (see Romans 3:28), James clarifies that good works will follow true faith: "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works?" (2:14).  James encourages Christians, in everyday life, to view trials as opportunities for spiritual growth, to control their tongues, to make peace, to avoid favoritism, and to help the needy.  The bottom line?  "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (4:17).
    3. Want practical wisdom for living the Christian life? You'll find it all through the book of James. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  20. 1 Peter
    1. Suffering for the sake of Jesus is noble and good.
    2. As the early church grows, the Roman Empire begins persecuting Christians - and Peter assures them that God is still in control: "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trail which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you" (4:12).  What is the proper response to such suffering?  "Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that , when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy" (4:13).
    3. LIfe may be hard, but God is always good.  And for Christians, there's a much better day ahead. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  21. 2 Peter
    1. Beware of false teachers within the church.
    2. The Christian qualities of faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, patience, godliness, and love (1:5-8), coupled with a reliance on scripture (1:19-21), will help believers avoid the false teachings of those who "privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them" (2:1).
    3. "Beware lest ye also, be led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness" (3:17). - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  22. 1 John
    1. Jesus was real man just as He is real God.
    2. FIrst John tackles a strange heresy that claimed Jesus had been on earth only in spirit, not in body: "Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not if God: and this is that spirit of Antichrist" (4:3).  John wrote that he knew Jesus personally, as one "which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled" (1:1), and that knowledge leads to a saving belief in Jesus.  Saving belief leads to obedience, but even when we sin, we know that God "is faithful and just to forgive us our sins" when we confess (1:9).
    3. "These things have I written...that ye may know that ye have eternal life" (5:13, emphasis added). - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  23. 2 John
    1. Beware of false teachers who deny Jesus' physical life on earth.
    2. Addressed to "the elect lady and her children" (1:1), perhaps an actual family or figuratively, a church, 2 John tackles the heretical idea that Jesus had not been physically present on earth.  The letter may be a reaction to the "gnostics," who taught that Jesus was spirit only and that he just appeared to suffer and die on the cross.  This teaching of "a deceiver and an antichrist" (1:7), should be avoided at all costs- to the point of barring one's door against those who believe it (1:10).
    3. Just as in John's time, false teachers spread dangerous ideas in today's world.  Every teaching should be weighed against scripture, 2 John says.  "He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son" (1:9). - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  24. 3 John
    1. Church leaders must be humble, not proud.
    2. Addressed to a believer named Gaius, 3 John praises those (like Gaius and another Christian named Demetrius) who lead in "charity before the church" (1:6).  But 3 John also has harsh words for Christians like Diotrophes, "who loveth to have the preeminence" (1:9) and refuse to show kindness and hospitality and hospitality to traveling evangelists.
    3. Hospitality isn't just for the Martha Stewarts of the world - Christians are expected to feed, house, and encourage other believers, especially those who minister full time for God.  Humble service to others follows the example of Jesus Himself (see John 13:14). - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  25. Jude
    1. Beware of heretical teachers and their dangerous doctrines
    2. Jude tackles the same problems Peter did in his second letter: false teachers who were leading the church astray.  "Murmumers" and "Complainers" who were "walking after their own lusts" (1:16) who were apparently using the grace of God for a cover for their sinful lifestyles - and encouraging Christians to do the same.  True believers, Jude says, reflect God's love, show love, and work to "pull sinners out of the fire" (1:23).
    3. Satan tries to sneak "secret agents" into God's church to confuse and ultimately crush true believers.  It's the job of every true Christian to "earnestly contend for the faith" as passed downn by Jesus' disciples and recorded in the Bible. - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010
  26. Revelation
    1. God will judge evil and reward His saints
    2. Jesus Christ Himself arranges for John to receive a "revelation" of "things which must shortly come to pass" (1:1).  First, in Chapters 2-3, Jesus gives John words of challenge and/or encouragement for seven churches - the good, the bad, and the in-between.  Then the vision turns to the actual throne room of God, where a Lamb, looking "as it had been slain" (5:6), breaks seven seals from a scroll, unleashing war, famine, and other disasters on earth.  A dragon and two beasts allied against God, arise to demand the worship of God's people who have not been killed in earlier catastrophes.  The satanic forces and the people who follow them incur seven "vials of the wrath of God" (16:1), which bring plagues, darkness, and huge hailstones to earth.  The upheaval destroys "Babylon the great," the evil and arrogant world system, just before an angel from heaven seizes Satan, "that old serpent" (20:2), and imprisons him for one thousand years.  After a brief release to instigate a worldwide war, Satan is thrown into the "lake of fire and brimstone," where he will be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (20:10).  God unveils "a new heaven and a new earth" (21:1), where He will "wipe away all tears" (21:4) from His people's eyes.
    3. "I've read the back of the book," an old Southern gospel song says, "and we win!"  God has given His children a preview of how this world ends - and the new improved world we'll enjoy forever.  The curse of sin will be gone, we'll live in perfect fellowship with the Lord Himself, and we will "reign for ever and ever" (22:5).  Kind of puts our bad days in perspective, doesn't it? - From the Amazon Kindle book “Know Your Bible, All 66 Books Explained and Applied” by Paul Kent and George Knight, November 10, 2010