Bible Study: New Testament Layout

Greetings! I am most happy that you are here today as I discuss briefly how the New Testament is laid out and the order of books of the New Testament. Hopefully, this post will expunge any uncertainties and give you fresh insight to the books of the New Testament. Without further adieu, let us begin our exploration.

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the four Gospels. These books bring to us the life of Jesus on this earth. There are many similarities and there are many differences. Some present the same events while others do not. Matthew was an apostle. Mark traveled with and worked with the apostle Paul. Luke was an educated man. He was a physician and historian. John was the apostle “whom Jesus loved.” The Books of  Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the Synoptics. In these books the story of Christ is told from a view point regarding His humanity. However, the Gospel of John is related in regards to the deity of  Jesus.

Acts tells us about how the Church began and the Acts of the Apostles. There were internal conflicts within the church even then. There were great persecutions of the church body externally. Evangelism was birthed. Three missionary trips were made by Paul. This is a great Book of the New Testament to study! There is so much happening!

The epistles of Paul

It is often said that Paul wrote half of the New Testament. I cannot immediately relate the accuracy of that statement but Paul is perhaps the greatest single contributor to the New Testament. Paul wrote thirteen (and possibly fourteen) books of the New Testament in the form of letters to churches. These books are: Romans, 1st Corinthians, 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1st Thessalonians, 2nd Thessalonians, 1st Timothy, 2nd Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. It should be noted that Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon were written while Paul was imprisoned.

It is contested whether or not Paul wrote the Book of Hebrews but, personally, I think he did not. The language used and the events mentioned do not point to Paul. However, I do believe that Luke is the best possible candidate. There are others of course but with the reading that I’ve done thus far I’m sticking with Luke.

James, the half brother of Jesus provides us the book of James.

1st and 2nd Peter are letters from the Apostle Peter.

1st, 2nd, and 3rd John are written by the Apostle John. I  believe that John the Apostle is responsible for these books because literary criticism denotes too many similarities.

Jude is presented by another half brother of Jesus.

Revelation is an apocalyptic book written by John. There is debate as to whether this is the apostle John or another John “the elder”. Again, the apostle John gets my vote in light of literary criticism.

Now, having said all that, let me say this. In no way can the New Testament books be presented as a chronological order of writing or events presented. It would seem that the epistles of Paul and the letters of Peter and John were post resurrection yet these books may be intertwined chronologically speaking to some extent. I know that may sound confusing and I probably did not get the desired point across. What I’m trying to say is this. It will take a concerted effort to trace when all the books were written, to whom they were written to in a manner where events and time in a chronological presentation could be digested to know what events and characters overlap. Fortunately, that has been done for us. There are chronological timelines and books that help with this type of study to gain greater understanding. I will not go into those at this time. It is the intention of this post to merely provide a greater grasp of the New Testament and its layout.

God Bless!
In His Grip,
Lonnie Richardson

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