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What is the New Testament?

May 16, 2024 | Maureen Wetzel

I love to read. I love to walk over to my bookshelf and grab a book, get comfy on the couch, open it up, and read. I can do that with the New Testament. It starts with stories of a miraculous birth, miracles, raising people from the dead and ends with apocalypse! A few weeks ago, Brad helped us look at the Old Testament. This week we want to look at the New Testament.

This part of the Bible is a recording of the life and ministry of Jesus and the start of the Christian Church. It was written in Greek and, as Christians, we believe it to be the inspired word of God.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of Godmay be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The whole of the New Testament is broken into three categories: the four gospels, Acts, and Letters. There are eight authors who wrote what we call the New Testament. There were a few eyewitnesses like Jesus’ disciples, Matthew, Mark, John and Peter. Then, Paul wrote many letters to churches after his conversion. Luke came a bit later as a companion of Paul. You have the four Gospels and then you have books that all focus on how to live out the Gospel. But what is the Gospel? It’s the good news of Jesus Christ! These authors wanted others to know the good news and be able to live it out in a way that would bring glory to God and draw others to Him. Their books sit back-to-back in the New Testament like a “bookshelf.” You can just pick one and read it!

While everything in the Old Testament points to Jesus, the New Testament reveals Jesus, offers grace, and gives us an instruction manual for what it means to live the life and teachings of Jesus inside the new covenant relationship we have with God. I was talking about this with my friend Jill Shaw, and she shared it this way, “We get to see Him interacting with people of every status in society. We hear His voice when He’s speaking to His heavenly father, and when He’s planning for His mother’s wellbeing once He’s gone. We hear His challenges both to power and to the powerless who get a glimpse of what redemption, restoration and relationship could look like outside of the religious norms of the time.” Hanging out with Jesus in the pages of the New Testament helps us to see what we are supposed to look like to those around us. When Jesus says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another,” in John 13:35, He’s telling His disciples (and us) that we’ve seen how He treats people…now do the same. In all of this we experience Jesus. We experience what He did for others and what He has done and will continue to do for us. At the end of John’s book, we find out that “There are many more things that Jesus did. If all of them were written down, I suppose that not even the world itself would have space for the books that would be written.” (John 21:25) I’m blown away by that every time I read it.

Now that I have you sitting in front of a Biblical bookshelf, where do you start? What book do you want to pull down and read? I love the Gospel of John because I really see who Jesus is in that book, but my favorite book is Philippians. The themes of thanksgiving, unity and joy in Philippians have been a blessing to me as I walked out my faith in different seasons. Just pick one and you’ll meet Jesus in whatever book you choose!



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