GOD'S WORD THE BIBLE: New Testament Documents


While any classification of the New Testament documents will be arbitrary, due to the fact that they were originally written independently of any preplanned human system of classification, the following breakdown serves as a good introduction to begin to understand the content of the New Testament

1 Corinthians
11 Corinthians
1 Thessalonians
11 Thessalonians
1 Timothy
11 Timothy
1 Peter
11 Peter
I John
II John
III John


1. Biographical: The best known works of the New Testament are the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. In these four documents we are given an account of the birth, life, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Today, we might compare these documents to four separate television documentaries of the same subject. While each at times shows a different aspect of the subject, they all are consistent in their record of the events they report on which are common to all. The first three Gospel are referred to as the synoptic gospels because there content for the most part is very similar. The Gospel of John however is unique in bringing to light many aspects of Jesus life and teaching that are not present in the synoptic Gospels.

2. Historical: The document known as the "Acts of the Apostles" is historical in nature as it gives the only substantial written record of the birth and growth of the early Christian Church. One of the most important men of the Christian faith, the Apostle Paul, is introduced early in the book of Acts as a persecutor of the new Christians. After his conversion Paul becomes the central figure of the book for the last sixteen of it's twenty eight chapters. This portion of Acts chronicles the travels of the Apostle Paul and his companions through the then known Roman empire on three separate missionary journeys. On these journeys the apostle proclaimed the message of the gospel and started many new local Christian congregations. Paul as the shepherd of these congregations wrote many letters to these new believers which together account for a large portion of the New Testament documents. The names given to these Epistles or letters correspond to the cities and regions in which these believers lived or to certain individuals therein. For example the book of Ephesians was a letter written by Paul to the Christians who lived in a city called Ephesus. The first book of Timothy was one of two known letters which Paul wrote to a young convert named Timothy who became a trusted companion and fellow-laborer with the Apostle.

3. Epistolary: Twenty one of the twenty seven books of the New Testament are epistles or letters addressed to the new Christian congregations or individuals who were a part of the early Christian community. Thirteen of these were written by the Apostle Paul with eight remaining. While the Gospels give an account of the life and death of Jesus the epistles unfold the meaning and significance of these events in full detail along with providing the instruction for the conduct of the Christian life. These letters having been written by the Apostles or containing their teaching lay the foundation of the Christian faith. All that the Christian needs to know and understand about God and his own spiritual life are contained in these letters

4. Prophetical: This last category contains one book, known as the book of Revelation, written by the apostle John. This book tells of the Apostles personal encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ who appeared to him on the island of Patmos after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. The first three chapters contains an address to seven Church congregations of that day given to encourage and to chasten them. The remainder of the book tells of future events including the coming of antichrist a wicked world ruler, the seven year tribulation of great judgment and suffering, the second coming of Jesus Christ to reign as king of kings for one thousand years on this earth, and lastly a final battle of good against evil where satan and all who follow him are judged forever. The book ends describing the resurrection of all from the dead to stand before the judgment throne of God. At this time the unsaved will be separated from God forever and the saved will inherit the new heaven and earth which God has prepared for those who love Him.