In this post, I’d like to share with you 14 books removed from the bible. This could be quite a stretch and you might ask why anyone would remove books from the bible! In all honesty, I wanted to discuss the original manuscripts of the bible, not what some people think is true. The Bible is often referred to as the “Holy Book,” but it’s not holy at all. It’s actually a collection of books that were written by different people over many years. In fact, there are so many different versions of the Bible that it’s difficult to even count them all! The Bible has been edited and translated many times since its original composition, so some parts of it may have been removed or changed over time. Some people who study this sort of thing think that there are more than 13 books in the Bible that have been removed from some versions—but there is no way to know for sure because the original manuscripts have been lost forever (or at least until God decides to reveal them again). This post contains a list of all 14 books removed from the bible pdf
You may find it hard to access the right information on the internet, so we are here to help you in the following article, providing the best and updated information on 14 books removed from the bible pdf. Read on to learn more. We at churchgists have all the information that you need about 14 books removed from the bible pdf.
14 books removed from the bible pdf
Eastern Orthodox Bibles include all the books in the Catholic Apocrypha along with several more. However, it classifies all these apocryphal books as Anagignoskomena (“worthy to be read”), meaning that they are read during services of worship, but that they are not as authoritative as the other books. Orthodox theologians sometimes call the apocryphal books deuterocanonical to indicate their secondary authority, using this term differently from Catholics, for whom it describes how these books were received after first being disputed.
This book was called First Esdras by Jerome, who found the Greek text in his Vulgate. It was an abridgment of the canonical books of Ezra and Nehemiah (or 1 and 2 Esdras). It is also known as 3 Esdras. The two were separated in modern editions, but remained so until the 16th century. 1 Esdras has been added to some versions of the Septuagint as 4 Esdras.
The first verse calls it “the book of Ezra,” which may have led Clement of Alexandria to add II Esdras to his canon, but there are other reasons that led him to this choice.
2 Esdras (also known as 4 Esdras) is an apocryphal book of the Old Testament that appears in some translations of the Bible. The name refers to Ezra, a key character in the work. The book is part of Pseudepigrapha, a collection of ancient Jewish religious works that were not included in the Hebrew canon.
The book was written around 100 CE and is a Jewish apocalyptic work. It appears to be written in the form of a dialogue between Ezra and an angel. It begins with Ezra’s great sorrow at seeing Jerusalem destroyed by the Babylonians years before. He asks God why this happened (and why he had been allowed to live so long), and God tells him that it was because it pleased him, just like everything else in life happens for divine reasons.
3 Maccabees is a book of the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical, which tells the story of the successful resistance by Jews in Alexandria against an attempt by Ptolemy IV to impose Greek customs and worship on them. This resulted in their persecution, but they were saved through divine intervention.
Why was 3 Maccabees removed from the Bible? It was included as part of the Septuagint, and it’s still regarded as Scripture by the Coptic Orthodox Church and Ethiopic churches today. However, it was removed from Catholic canons at the Council of Trent for “having been composed in Greek instead of Hebrew.” Despite being written in Greek—just like other books of the Septuagint—its removal from Catholic Scriptures likely had more to do with its portrayal of Jews resisting Hellenization than its language.
It’s important to read 3 Maccabees because it teaches us about Jewish resistance against religious oppression and cultural assimilation. In addition, despite being set during a violent conflict between Jews and those who wanted them to abandon their faith, it remains hopeful that God will bring peace between all peoples one day. Here is a short summary:
The Egyptian king Ptolemy IV wanted people not only to accept his rule but also worship him as a god. He tried to force this upon all non-Egyptians under his command, including Jews living in Alexandria. The Jewish elders begged him not to force them into idolatry by reminding him that they’d always paid taxes faithfully and defended his kingdom when required–and besides that he couldn’t expect them to give up their religion just because he wanted tribute! Yet even though he had no good response for this or any reason why they should stop believing what they believed (and many people agreed with them), he continued trying anyway. So when Ptolemy built a gymnasium for young men outside Jerusalem and tried taking over their temple there, an angry crowd assembled outside
The supposed author places the book’s beginning after the death of Antiochus IV Epiphanes when the “king of Hades” was finally finished tormenting the people of Israel and they could start to live in peace.
Here is a brief description written in an informative tone:
In 1 Maccabees, there are closely detailed accounts of battles, including descriptions of the heroism of Judah Maccabee’s brothers and his mother. The book ends with the defeat of Nicanor, who had been sent with an army to kill Judas, but he dies by Judas’ hand (1 Macc 16). In 2 Maccabees, a very different spirit pervades. Its overall theme is not that suffering is lightened by fortitude and faith (as in 1 Macc), but rather that it is worthwhile to die for one’s religion and that God rewards such fidelity with resurrection from death. The book contains little historical information except for two failed attempts to stamp out Judaism: first by Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes early in his reign around 168 BC; then later again by Bacchides shortly after Judas’ death around 161 BC. However it does describe what follows on from this victory: how Menelaus replaced Jason as high priest – and became a tyrant/collaborator (2Macc 4); how Alcimus succeeded him – but died soon afterwards; and finally how Judas’ nephew Jonathan succeeded him as high priest around 152 BC.
Acts of Pilate (Gospel of Nicodemus)
The Gospel of Nicodemus is a religious text that was widely prevalent in the Middle Ages. It has also been called the Acts of Pilate, since it is an account of the trial, suffering and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Acts of Pilate is generally considered to be an apocryphal work and was never included in any canon of scripture.
The Acts of Pilate are considered to be part of the Gospel of Nicodemus and are also referred to as being apocryphal in nature. They consist mostly out of dialogues between Jesus and Pilate, with other Bible characters such as Annas and Caiaphas appearing for brief periods within the text. The Gospel was possibly written by a Syrian Christian monk around the eighth or ninth century AD, although many scholars believe that its origins can be traced back to much earlier times. However, this belief has received substantial criticism because some parts within this book describe events that transpired after the fourth century AD, particularly regarding detailed accounts on how Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity.
The Acts were likely written around 325 BC during the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian because they contain bits about them being involved in previous campaigns against Germany. In addition, they also refer to Pontius Pilate as having become well-known following his expulsion from Judea by his superiors following his crucifixion judgment over Christ; this did not happen until 36 AD when Vitellius became governor over Syria
Apocalypse of Peter
The Apocalypse of Peter is an apocalyptic gospel written, perhaps in part, by the apostle Peter. It is considered a New Testament apocrypha by most Christians. The text is considered to be written in the second century.
The story describes the journey into heaven and hell that Jesus took with Peter after his resurrection from the dead (1:1). Peter sees and records what happens in heaven and hell, including the fate of sinners (1:5–5:12). In this vision, God has no human form but appears as a “great luminous cloud” (2:7), which is surrounded by angels. God’s son also does not have a physical body but appears as flames rising out of the Father’s throne and speaks only through other angels. When Jesus descends into hell he saves sinning believers who were punished there until their sins were expiated (4:9–10; 5:8–11).
Ascension of Isaiah
The book is believed to have been written originally in Hebrew or Aramaic, and later translated into Greek, Coptic, Latin and Ethiopian. It is believed to be based on an earlier Hebrew version that is lost. The text comprises three sections:
- a prologue (1:1-5)
- the ascent of Isaiah (chapters 2-5)
- the martyrdom of Isaiah (6:1-13).
Book of Enoch (1 Enoch)
The Book of Enoch has frequently been promoted as a holy book, as a divinely inspired text that was revealed by God to the prophet Enoch. Its deletion from the Bible was characterized in an 1823 statement by church president Joseph Smith: “The Book of Enoch is not contained in our present Bible.”
But this claim is not as clear-cut as it seems. A clue lies where we believe the Book of Enoch came from: another book that had been removed from some Bibles long before Smith’s time. This other book (1 Enoch) reveals details of ancient Jewish history and culture that are similar to what the biblical author mentions in his writings, but not quite identical. It also includes specific information about angels who visit Earth and directly speak to humans. Both books are unique among ancient scriptures in that they explicitly mention God’s involvement with humans and describe how he organized a global community around himself—a community that was eventually lost because of its rebelliousness.
Book of Jubilees (Lesser Genesis)
Book of Jubilees (Lesser Genesis)
The Book of Jubilees, also known as Lesser Genesis, recounts the history of the world from creation to Moses. It was written by a Jew living in Alexandria and purports to be revelation given to Moses regarding events that took place before he lived. The book also includes a chronology of the world and names the fallen angels who mated with human women to produce giants. Parts of this book were found among scrolls at Qumran, but it was not included in the official canon because it goes against the doctrine of free will.
Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles
The Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles is a brief early Christian treatise, dated by most scholars to the late 1st or early 2nd century. The first line of this treatise is “The teaching of the Lord to the Gentiles (or Nations) by the twelve apostles”. The text, parts of which constitute the oldest extant written catechism, has three main sections dealing with Christian ethics, rituals such as baptism and Eucharist, and Church organization. The opening chapters describe the virtuous Way of Life and the wicked Way of Death. The Lord’s Prayer is included in full. Baptism is by immersion (in running water if possible). Fasting is ordered for Wednesdays and Fridays. Two primitive Eucharistic prayers are given. Church organization was at an early stage of development. Itinerant apostles and prophets are important, serving as “chief priests” and possibly celebrating the Eucharist. Meanwhile, local bishops and deacons also have authority and seem to be taking the place of the itinerant ministry.
Epistle to the Laodiceans
The Epistle to the Laodiceans is a lost letter of Paul the Apostle, traditionally included in the Bible’s New Testament as an epistle to the church in Laodicea. The letter was not one of those canonical letters that were widely accepted by Christians as authoritative scripture by the 4th century. Versions of it are preserved in only two manuscripts, both from the 6th century or later. In 1699, an English translation was printed by Justin Morgan under the title The Genuine Epistle of St Paul to the Laodiceans.
The lost original letter has been considered one of three epistles which have been subject to interpolation by other texts, along with 1 Timothy and Titus. It is believed that this letter was written between 60-90 AD and that it is actually a composite document made up of parts taken from both Colossians and Ephesians.
The book was rejected for inclusion in early versions of the New Testament because its author was unknown, who wrote it which wasn’t known whether or not it was actually authored by Paul (1:1). However it may be a writing from one apostle guiding another apostle who in turn writes his own epistle to get all apostles on one accord while also giving respect and honor due Paul as first among equals (1:12–2:3).
Gospel According to the Hebrews (Jewish-Christian Gospel)
The Gospel according to the Hebrews is a non-canonical Jewish–Christian gospel. The text of the gospel is lost with the exception of several fragments preserved in quotations by the early Church Fathers. One of these fragments, which seems to be from the beginning of this Gospel and not another, describes Jesus as praying on his knees while he was baptised by John, instead of standing as in other texts such as Luke 3:21. Epiphanius claims that it was written in Hebrew (Aramaic), but Jerome knew only a Greek version; he says that it was composed for those converts who were familiar with Jewish traditions and thought it would be easier for them to accept a story about Jesus’ childhood from a Jewish perspective than from a Gentile perspective.
It contained narratives about James, Judas Thomas and Matthew, who were all Apostles of Christ. This lost gospel is cited as an authority by many Church Fathers including Clement of Alexandria and Origen. It is mentioned more frequently than any other work except for those books included in the New Testament canon. Some have speculated that this may have been one source used by the author of the Gospel of Matthew during composition.#
Gospel of Barnabas (Pseudo-Barnabas)
The Gospel of Barnabas (Pseudo-Barnabas)
This is a heretical text of the medieval period which claims to have been written by one of the Twelve Apostles, Barnabas. It was cited as scripture by the Quran and thus enjoyed widespread circulation in North Africa and parts of Europe in the Middle Ages.
It denies the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, instead saying that He ascended bodily into heaven. The book also claims that Jesus was a prophet but not divine.
Gospel of James (Protoevangelium Jacobi)
The Gospel of James (also known as the Protoevangelium Jacobi) is a 2nd-century work found in Greek manuscripts and is one of the New Testament apocrypha. It provides an account of the birth and early life of Mary, mother of Jesus. It also gives information about Joseph, the husband of Mary, who is not mentioned in the canonical Gospels. This text was used by early Christian writers to encourage celibacy among the clergy. The name Protoevangelium means “first gospel” or “first good news.”
According to this text, Mary was born to Joachim and Anna in Jerusalem, who had been previously childless. After dedicating her life to God, she became pregnant miraculously; Joseph was chosen to be her husband because he was an old widower from Bethlehem and a descendent from David. When it came time for her delivery, she gave birth to Jesus alone while Joseph waited outside. After she gave birth angels appeared with a bright light while Joseph was collecting wood; they told him that his wife would give birth to a son named Jesus (the name given by Gabriel earlier). Angels then sang and danced around them when the baby was circumcised on his eighth day.
Gospel of Thomas
The Gospel of Thomas was found in 1945 in Egypt, hidden in a jar. It contains 114 sayings thought to be the lost teachings of Jesus, written in Coptic (an Egyptian language) and translated from Greek. The Gospel of Thomas is said to have been excluded from the Bible because it contradicts the Bible.
Why were the 14 books removed from the Bible
Apocryphal books endorsed philosophy incompatible with the concept of this Bible. So maybe the real question is not why some books were removed from the Bible, but why some books that were different from both the Old Testament and the New Testament were added to the Bible. The answer is that, as the Eastern Orthodox say, they are “worthy to be read.” They provide important information about what happened in the years between the testaments, they tell inspiring stories of how people remained faithful to God during difficult trials in those times, and they add to the collection of wise advice for living that is found in the canonical wisdom books.
1. Praying for the dead (and giving money to atone for their sins)
2 Maccabees 12:43-45 He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection.
For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead.
But if he was looking at the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore, he made atonement for the dead, so that they might be delivered from their sin.
2. Giving money to atone for sins
Sirach 3:30 “As water extinguishes a blazing fire, so almsgiving atones for sin.”
Tobit 4:10 “For almsgiving delivers from death and keeps you from going into the Darkness.”
3. Praying to saints in heaven and asking them for prayer
2 Maccabees 15:12-16 What he [Maccabeus] watched was that: Onias [dead in the time] that was high priest, a good man, of modest bearing and tender fashion, one who talked fittingly and was educated from youth in all which belongs to excellence was praying with outstretched hands for the entire body of the Jews.
In precisely the same manner, a difference appeared, distinguished by his grey eyes and hair, and of great majesty and authority. And Onias talked, stating, “This is a man who loves the family of Israel and prays much for the people and the holy city Jeremiah [deceased at the time], the prophet of God.”
Jeremiah stretched his right hand and gave Judas a golden sword, and as he gave it, he addressed him thus: “Take this holy sword, a gift from God, with which you will strike down your adversaries.”
These are a couple of the significant problems that Martin Luther, John Calvin, and other reformers contested during the Protestant Reformation.
The books that are removed from the Bible are very interesting to read.
The books that are removed from the Bible are very interesting to read. If you haven’t read them, then you should. The books are a lot shorter than the Bible, and they are interesting to read because they have been removed from the Bible. They aren’t in the Bible anymore, but they are still worth reading.
What are the 14 missing books of the Bible That Are Not Accepted
There are lots of explanations for why these texts weren’t contained in the canon. The readers may just have been known to few individuals, or else they may have been left out since their content doesn’t fit nicely into this of the other books of the Bible. The Authorized King James Version is known as this book Apocrypha.
The Prayer of Manasseh
This work dates from the first century BC. It had been meant to be utilized about Manasseh’s Babylonian captivity (2 Chron. 33). Regions of the Prayer have found their way to Protestant liturgy.
The Song of the Three Holy Children
In addition, the Book of Daniel was composed about 100 BC and has been found inserted into his book, in the next chapter, shortly after the 23rd verse.
The History of Susanna
This is just another 1st century BC addition to the book of Daniel. It’s usually found prefixed to the reader. The goal of the narrative would be to magnify Daniel’s powers along with the ruling.
This is the Greek version of and in some parts a facelift of the canonical Book of Ezra. It was composed about 100 BC. A number of the subject matter is supplemented by the book of Nehemiah.
This book is an apocalypse, particularly chapters 3-14. It’s composite in origin, dating from 65 BC into 120 AD. The worth of this book can be found in the fact that it focuses heavily on the span of Jewish notions surrounding the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The perspectives it occupies on eschatology are tightly intertwined with the teachings of the New Testament.
how many books were removed from the bible
Although the 19 books contained within this text were included in the Holy Bible for thousands of years, they were removed a little over 200 years ago. Its now time to reclaim these treasured scriptures and get further insight into God’s word. This book contains: 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, The Book of Tobit, The Book of Susanna, Additions to Esther, The Book of Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, The Epistle of Jeremiah, The Prayer of Azariah, Bel and the Dragon, Prayer of Manasses, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Book of Enoch, Book of Jubilees, Gospel of Philip, and the Gospel of Mary. It also includes the ancient Hebrew alphabet with common Hebrew words as a study source.
original books of the bible
The Old Testament (also known as the Jewish Tanakh) is the first 39 books in most Christian Bibles. The name stands for the original promise with God (to the descendants of Abraham in particular) prior to the coming of Jesus Christ in the New Testament (or the new promise). The Old Testament contains the creation of the universe, the history of the patriarchs, the exodus from Egypt, the formation of Israel as a nation, the subsequent decline and fall of the nation, the Prophets (who spoke for God), and the Wisdom Books.
Genesis speaks of beginnings and is foundational to the understanding of the rest of the Bible. It is supremely a book that speaks about relationships, highlighting those between God and his creation, between God and humankind, and between human beings.
Exodus describes the history of the Israelites leaving Egypt after slavery. The book lays a foundational theology in which God reveals his name, his attributes, his redemption, his law and how he is to be worshiped.
Leviticus receives its name from the Septuagint (the pre-Christian Greek translation of the Old Testament) and means “concerning the Levites” (the priests of Israel). It serves as a manual of regulations enabling the holy King to set up his earthly throne among the people of his kingdom. It explains how they are to be his holy people and to worship him in a holy manner.
Numbers relates the story of Israel’s journey from Mount Sinai to the plains of Moab on the border of Canaan. The book tells of the murmuring and rebellion of God’s people and of their subsequent judgment.
Deuteronomy (“repetition of the Law”) serves as a reminder to God’s people about His covenant. The book is a “pause” before Joshua’s conquest begins and a reminder of what God required.
Joshua is a story of conquest and fulfillment for the people of God. After many years of slavery in Egypt and 40 years in the desert, the Israelites were finally allowed to enter the land promised to their fathers.
The book of Judges depicts the life of Israel in the Promised Land—from the death of Joshua to the rise of the monarchy. It tells of urgent appeals to God in times of crisis and apostasy, moving the Lord to raise up leaders (judges) through whom He throws off foreign oppressors and restores the land to peace.
The book of Ruth has been called one of the best examples of short narrative ever written. It presents an account of the remnant of true faith and piety in the period of the judges through the fall and restoration of Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth (an ancestor of King David and Jesus).
Samuel relates God’s establishment of a political system in Israel headed by a human king. Through Samuel’s life, we see the rise of the monarchy and the tragedy of its first king, Saul.
After the failure of King Saul, 2 Samuel depicts David as a true (though imperfect) representative of the ideal theocratic king. Under David’s rule the Lord caused the nation to prosper, to defeat its enemies, and to realize the fulfillment of His promises.
1 Kings continues the account of the monarchy in Israel and God’s involvement through the prophets. After David, his son Solomon ascends the throne of a united kingdom, but this unity only lasts during his reign. The book explores how each subsequent king in Israel and Judah answers God’s call—or, as often happens, fails to listen.
2 Kings carries the historical account of Judah and Israel forward. The kings of each nation are judged in light of their obedience to the covenant with God. Ultimately, the people of both nations are exiled for disobedience.
Just as the author of Kings had organized and interpreted Israel’s history to address the needs of the exiled community, so the writer of 1 Chronicles wrote for the restored community another history.
2 Chronicles continues the account of Israel’s history with an eye for restoration of those who had returned from exile.
The book of Ezra relates how God’s covenant people were restored from Babylonian exile to the covenant land as a theocratic (kingdom of God) community even while continuing under foreign rule.
Closely related to the book of Ezra, Nehemiah chronicles the return of this “cupbearer to the king” and the challenges he and the other Israelites face in their restored homeland.
Esther records the institution of the annual festival of Purim through the historical account of Esther, a Jewish girl who becomes queen of Persia and saves her people from destruction.
Through a series of monologues, the book of Job relates the account of a righteous man who suffers under terrible circumstances. The book’s profound insights, its literary structures, and the quality of its rhetoric display the author’s genius.
The Psalms are collected songs and poems that represent centuries worth of praises and prayers to God on a number of themes and circumstances. The Psalms are impassioned, vivid and concrete; they are rich in images, in simile and metaphor.
Proverbs was written to give “prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young,” and to make the wise even wiser. The frequent references to “my son(s)” emphasize instructing the young and guiding them in a way of life that yields rewarding results.
The author of Ecclesiastes puts his powers of wisdom to work to examine the human experience and assess the human situation. His perspective is limited to what happens “under the sun” (as is that of all human teachers).
Song of Songs
In ancient Israel everything human came to expression in words: reverence, gratitude, anger, sorrow, suffering, trust, friendship, commitment. In the Song of Solomon, it is love that finds words–inspired words that disclose its exquisite charm and beauty as one of God’s choicest gifts.
Isaiah son of Amoz is often thought of as the greatest of the writing prophets. His name means “The Lord saves.” Isaiah is a book that unveils the full dimensions of God’s judgment and salvation.
This book preserves an account of the prophetic ministry of Jeremiah, whose personal life and struggles are shown to us in greater depth and detail than those of any other Old Testament prophet.
Lamentations consists of a series of poetic and powerful laments over the destruction of Jerusalem (the royal city of the Lord’s kingdom) in 586 B.C.
The Old Testament in general and the prophets in particular presuppose and teach God’s sovereignty over all creation and the course of history. And nowhere in the Bible are God’s initiative and control expressed more clearly and pervasively than in the book of the prophet Ezekiel.
Daniel captures the major events in the life of the prophet Daniel during Israel’s exile. His life and visions point to God’s plans of redemption and sovereign control of history.
The prophet Hosea son of Beeri lived in the tragic final days of the northern kingdom. His life served as a parable of God’s faithfulness to an unfaithful Israel.
The prophet Joel warned the people of Judah about God’s coming judgment—and the coming restoration and blessing that will come through repentance.
Amos prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah over Judah (792-740 B.C.) and Jeroboam II over Israel (793-753).
The prophet Obadiah warned the proud people of Edom about the impending judgment coming upon them.
Jonah is unusual as a prophetic book in that it is a narrative account of Jonah’s mission to the city of Nineveh, his resistance, his imprisonment in a great fish, his visit to the city, and the subsequent outcome.
Micah prophesied sometime between 750 and 686 B.C. during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Israel was in an apostate condition. Micah predicted the fall of her capital, Samaria, and also foretold the inevitable desolation of Judah.
The book contains the “vision of Nahum,” whose name means “comfort.” The focal point of the entire book is the Lord’s judgment on Nineveh for her oppression, cruelty, idolatry, and wickedness.
Little is known about Habakkuk except that he was a contemporary of Jeremiah and a man of vigorous faith. The book bearing his name contains a dialogue between the prophet and God concerning injustice and suffering.
The prophet Zephaniah was evidently a person of considerable social standing in Judah and was probably related to the royal line. The intent of the author was to announce to Judah God’s approaching judgment.
Haggai was a prophet who, along with Zechariah, encouraged the returned exiles to rebuild the temple. His prophecies clearly show the consequences of disobedience. When the people give priority to God and his house, they are blessed.
Like Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Zechariah was not only a prophet, but also a member of a priestly family. The chief purpose of Zechariah (and Haggai) was to rebuke the people of Judah and to encourage and motivate them to complete the rebuilding of the temple.
Malachi, whose name means “my messenger,” spoke to the Israelites after their return from exile. The theological message of the book can be summed up in one sentence: The Great King will come not only to judge his people, but also to bless and restore them.
The New Testament is a collection of 27 books, usually placed after the Old Testament in most Christian Bibles. The name refers to the new covenant (or promise) between God and humanity through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The New Testament chronicles the life and ministry of Jesus, the growth and impact of the early church, and instructive letters to early churches.
Matthew’s main purpose in writing his Gospel (the “good news”) is to prove to his Jewish readers that Jesus is their Messiah. He does this primarily by showing how Jesus in his life and ministry fulfilled the Old Testament Scriptures.
Since Mark’s Gospel (the “good news”) is traditionally associated with Rome, it may have been occasioned by the persecutions of the Roman church in the period c. A.D. 64-67. Mark may be writing to prepare his readers for such suffering by placing before them the life of our Lord.
Luke’s Gospel (the “good news”) was written to strengthen the faith of all believers and to answer the attacks of unbelievers. It was presented to debunk some disconnected and ill-founded reports about Jesus. Luke wanted to show that the place of the Gentile (non-Jewish) Christian in God’s kingdom is based on the teaching of Jesus.
John’s Gospel (the “good news”) is rather different from the other three, highlighting events not detailed in the others. The author himself states his main purpose clearly in 20:31: “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
The book of Acts provides a bridge for the writings of the New Testament. As a second volume to Luke’s Gospel, it joins what Jesus “began to do and to teach” as told in the Gospels with what he continued to do and teach through the apostles’ preaching and the establishment of the church.
Paul’s primary theme in Romans is presenting the gospel (the “good news”), God’s plan of salvation and righteousness for all humankind, Jew and non-Jew alike.
The first letter to the Corinthians revolves around the theme of problems in Christian conduct in the church. It thus has to do with progressive sanctification, the continuing development of a holy character. Obviously Paul was personally concerned with the Corinthians’ problems, revealing a true pastor’s (shepherd’s) heart.
Because of the occasion that prompted this letter, Paul had a number of purposes in mind: to express the comfort and joy Paul felt because the Corinthians had responded favorably to his painful letter; to let them know about the trouble he went through in the province of Asia; and to explain to them the true nature (its joys, sufferings and rewards) and high calling of Christian ministry.
Galatians stands as an eloquent and vigorous apologetic for the essential New Testament truth that people are justified by faith in Jesus Christ—by nothing less and nothing more—and that they are sanctified not by legalistic works but by the obedience that comes from faith in God’s work for them.
Unlike several of the other letters Paul wrote, Ephesians does not address any particular error or heresy. Paul wrote to expand the horizons of his readers, so that they might understand better the dimensions of God’s eternal purpose and grace and come to appreciate the high goals God has for the church.
Paul’s primary purpose in writing this letter was to thank the Philippians for the gift they had sent him upon learning of his detention at Rome. However, he makes use of this occasion to fulfill several other desires: (1) to report on his own circumstances; (2) to encourage the Philippians to stand firm in the face of persecution and rejoice regardless of circumstances; and (3) to exhort them to humility and unity.
Paul’s purpose is to refute the Colossian heresy. To accomplish this goal, he exalts Christ as the very image of God, the Creator, the preexistent sustainer of all things, the head of the church, the first to be resurrected, the fullness of deity (God) in bodily form, and the reconciler.
Although the thrust of the letter is varied, the subject of eschatology (doctrine of last things) seems to be predominant in both Thessalonian letters. Every chapter of 1 Thessalonians ends with a reference to the second coming of Christ.
Since the situation in the Thessalonian church has not changed substantially, Paul’s purpose in writing is very much the same as in his first letter to them. He writes (1) to encourage persecuted believers, (2) to correct a misunderstanding concerning the Lord’s return, and (3) to exhort the Thessalonians to be steadfast and to work for a living.
During his fourth missionary journey, Paul had instructed Timothy to care for the church at Ephesus while he went on to Macedonia. When he realized that he might not return to Ephesus in the near future, he wrote this first letter to Timothy to develop the charge he had given his young assistant. This is the first of the “Pastoral Epistles.”
Paul was concerned about the welfare of the churches during this time of persecution under Nero, and he admonishes Timothy to guard the gospel, to persevere in it, to keep on preaching it, and, if necessary, to suffer for it. This is the second “Pastoral Epistle.”
Apparently Paul introduced Christianity in Crete when he and Titus visited the island, after which he left Titus there to organize the converts. Paul sent the letter with Zenas and Apollos, who were on a journey that took them through Crete, to give Titus personal authorization and guidance in meeting opposition, instructions about faith and conduct, and warnings about false teachers. This is the last of the “Pastoral Epistles.”
To win Philemon’s willing acceptance of the runaway slave Onesimus, Paul writes very tactfully and in a lighthearted tone, which he creates with wordplay. The appeal is organized in a way prescribed by ancient Greek and Roman teachers: to build rapport, to persuade the mind, and to move the emotions.
The theme of Hebrews is the absolute supremacy and sufficiency of Jesus Christ as revealer and as mediator of God’s grace. A striking feature of this presentation of the gospel is the unique manner in which the author employs expositions of eight specific passages of the Old Testament Scriptures.
Characteristics that make the letter distinctive are: (1) its unmistakably Jewish nature; (2) its emphasis on vital Christianity, characterized by good deeds and a faith that works (genuine faith must and will be accompanied by a consistent lifestyle); (3) its simple organization; (4) and its familiarity with Jesus’ teachings preserved in the Sermon on the Mount.
Although 1 Peter is a short letter, it touches on various doctrines and has much to say about Christian life and duties. It is not surprising that different readers have found it to have different principal themes. For example, it has been characterized as a letter of separation, of suffering and persecution, of suffering and glory, of hope, of pilgrimage, of courage, and as a letter dealing with the true grace of God.
In his first letter Peter feeds Christ’s sheep by instructing them how to deal with persecution from outside the church; in this second letter he teaches them how to deal with false teachers and evildoers who have come into the church.
John’s readers were confronted with an early form of Gnostic teaching of the Cerinthian variety. This heresy was also libertine, throwing off all moral restraints. Consequently, John wrote this letter with two basic purposes in mind: (1) to expose false teachers and (2) to give believers assurance of salvation.
During the first two centuries the gospel was taken from place to place by traveling evangelists and teachers. Believers customarily took these missionaries into their homes and gave them provisions for their journey when they left. Since Gnostic teachers also relied on this practice, 2 John was written to urge discernment in supporting traveling teachers
Itinerant teachers sent out by John were rejected in one of the churches in the province of Asia by a dictatorial leader, Diotrephes, who even excommunicated members who showed hospitality to John’s messengers. John wrote this letter to commend Gaius for supporting the teachers and, indirectly, to warn Diotrephes.
Although Jude was very eager to write to his readers about salvation, he felt that he must instead warn them about certain immoral men circulating among them who were perverting the grace of God. Apparently these false teachers were trying to convince believers that being saved by grace gave them license to sin since their sins would no longer be held against them.
John writes to encourage the faithful to resist staunchly the demands of emperor worship. He informs his readers that the final showdown between God and Satan is imminent. Satan will increase his persecution of believers, but they must stand fast, even to death. They are sealed against any spiritual harm and will soon be vindicated when Christ returns, when the wicked are forever destroyed, and when God’s people enter an eternity of glory and blessedness.