Skip to content
Home » 27 Books of New Testament In Order

27 Books of New Testament In Order

The New Testament is the second part of the Christian Bible. After Jesus’ passing, people who had heard his teachings and known him personally wrote the books that make up this movement. It includes many letters sent by Jesus’ apostles to various communities, as well as the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), which tell the story of Jesus’ life on earth.

This list includes both the books of the New Testament in order and links to free online versions of each book. James, a son of Zebedee and one of Jesus’ apostles, wrote the first letter in this collection of 27 books, The Letter of James. The Letter of James discusses how Christians should live their lives while they are waiting for Jesus’ return. The Letter to Titus was written by Paul sometime between A.D. 58 and 62; it was addressed to Titus, who was a missionary on Crete at the time.

This letter contains instructions concerning spiritual leadership within churches and how Christians should act when they meet together as a community (e.g., how they should pray). The Book of Hebrews is another letter from Paul’s hand; however, unlike his other letters, this one does not contain personal greetings or instructions for specific individuals.

27 Books of The New Testament and Their Author in Order

Gospel Books
  • Matthew – Written by the Apostle Matthew

  • Mark – Written by John Mark, an associate of the Apostle Peter

  • Luke – Written by the Physician Luke who traveled with the Apostle Paul

  • John – Written by the Apostle John



  • Historical Book


    1. Acts – Written by the Physician Luke as a sequel to his Gospel



    Pauline Epistles


    1. Romans – Written by the Apostle Paul

    2. 1 Corinthians – Written by the Apostle Paul

    3. 2 Corinthians – Written by the Apostle Paul

    4. Galatians – Written by the Apostle Paul

    5. Ephesians – Written by the Apostle Paul

    6. Philippians – Written by the Apostle Paul

    7. Colossians – Written by the Apostle Paul

    8. 1 Thessalonians – Written by the Apostle Paul

    9. 2 Thessalonians – Written by the Apostle Paul

    10. 1 Timothy – Written by the Apostle Paul

    11. 2 Timothy – Written by the Apostle Paul

    12. Titus – Written by the Apostle Paul

    13. Philemon – Written by the Apostle Paul



    General Epistles


    1. Hebrews – Authorship is uncertain, traditionally attributed to Paul

    2. James – Written by James, the half-brother of Jesus

    3. 1 Peter – Written by the Apostle Peter

    4. 2 Peter – Written by the Apostle Peter

    5. 1 John – Written by the Apostle John

    6. 2 John – Written by the Apostle John

    7. 3 John – Written by the Apostle John

    8. Jude – Written by Jude, the half-brother of Jesus



    Revelation Book


    1. Revelation – Written by the Apostle John

    Memorize Order of the NT Books

    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 27 books of the New Testament. Read on to learn more. We at churchgists have all the information that you need about 27 books of New Testament in order. Read on to learn more.

    The​ Gospels (4 Books)

    1.⁢ Matthew

    Written by Matthew, one of Jesus’ disciples, the Gospel ‌of Matthew is a​ comprehensive⁣ account of Jesus’ life ⁤and teachings. This book highlights⁣ Jesus’ genealogy, his birth, baptism, sermons ‌(including the Sermon on⁤ the Mount), parables, miracles, transfiguration, and ultimately,‌ his crucifixion and resurrection.

    2. Mark

    The Gospel of ⁣Mark,​ written ⁤by Mark, a ⁤companion of the apostle Peter,⁢ provides a fast-paced narrative of Jesus’ ministry. It presents Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God, focusing on his miracles, teachings, and crucifixion. The⁢ brevity of⁣ this Gospel emphasizes the ​urgent ⁤call to discipleship ⁤and highlights Jesus’ role as⁣ a servant.

    3. Luke

    Authored by Luke, a physician and ​companion of the apostle Paul, the Gospel of Luke ⁣offers‍ a comprehensive and orderly account of Jesus’ life. It includes detailed ⁤narratives of ‌Jesus’ birth, childhood, and public ministry. This Gospel emphasizes Jesus’ compassion for the poor, marginalized, ⁢and outcasts‌ of⁤ society, and ​it ‍concludes‍ with his death, resurrection, and ascension.

    4.‍ John

    In the Gospel of John, written ‌by ⁤the apostle John, Jesus is portrayed as ⁣the divine Word⁢ who became flesh to bring salvation to all mankind. This Gospel‌ presents profound theological teachings and focuses on Jesus’ ​miracles,⁢ unique discourses, and ‍his sacrificial‌ death on⁢ the cross, revealing his identity as the‍ Son​ of God and the source of eternal life.

    Acts of⁣ the Apostles

    5. Acts

    The book of Acts, written by Luke, serves as an important historical account of the early Christian church. It⁢ chronicles⁤ the spread of Christianity from ‍Jerusalem throughout the Roman Empire,⁤ highlighting⁣ the apostles’ teachings, missionary journeys, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Acts concludes with the apostle Paul’s imprisonment in Rome.

    Epistles⁢ (21 ​Books)

    6. Romans

    Written by the ⁣apostle Paul, ‍the book of Romans is considered a‌ theological masterpiece.⁢ It ‍explores the key doctrines of salvation, justification by ‌faith, ‌and the ⁤role of both⁤ Jews ⁣and Gentiles in ⁣God’s ⁢redemptive plan. Romans⁤ is a‍ deep theological letter‌ that informs ⁤the beliefs⁢ and practices of Christians.

    7. 1 Corinthians

    The first ​epistle⁤ to the Corinthians, written ⁢by Paul, ⁢addresses various issues that arose in​ the church at ⁤Corinth,​ such as divisions, immoral behavior, and abuses⁣ during​ worship.⁤ Paul offers practical guidance and teachings⁢ on love, spiritual ​gifts, and the resurrection of Jesus.

    8. 2 Corinthians

    This‌ second⁣ letter to ‍the Corinthians, also penned ​by Paul, presents ⁢a more personal⁣ and emotional tone. It addresses Paul’s authority as an apostle, confronts false teachings, encourages⁢ reconciliation,⁣ and stresses the importance of living as faithful followers of​ Christ.

    9. Galatians

    Written‍ by Paul, the book ​of Galatians confronts‌ the ‍issue of⁢ legalism and emphasizes ​the freedom found in Christ. Paul teaches that salvation comes through faith and not by following‌ the‌ Jewish law. He emphasizes the ‌fruit of the Spirit⁣ and encourages believers to‍ live by the ​leading⁣ of the Holy ‍Spirit.

    10. Ephesians

    In ​the letter to the Ephesians, Paul focuses​ on the unity ⁤of believers in Christ. ⁤He teaches about spiritual blessings, God’s grace, and the‍ calling ⁣to⁢ live a holy life. Paul elaborates on the roles within the church, emphasizing the‌ importance of love and​ spiritual warfare.

    11. Philippians

    The epistle to the Philippians, written by⁤ Paul, expresses his love and gratitude towards the ⁤church in Philippi. Joy is⁢ a central‍ theme in this ​letter, emphasizing‍ the importance ‍of ⁣humility, unity, and ⁢unwavering faith ​in ‌the midst of ⁢persecution. Paul encourages believers to imitate Christ’s selfless sacrifice.

    12. Colossians

    This letter to ‍the Colossians, authored by​ Paul, ​combats false teachings and ⁣emphasizes ​the preeminence and sufficiency of Christ. Paul addresses the ‌nature and completeness of salvation, teaching believers the importance of living a Christ-centered life while pursuing ‍holiness and ‌spiritual growth.

    13. Thessalonians

    The two letters to the Thessalonians, written⁣ by Paul, ​encourage believers in their faith, address misconceptions about the return of Christ, and provide⁤ instruction on holy living. Paul assures the Thessalonians of God’s faithful character and ⁢encourages them to‌ be imitators of Christ’s love.

    14. Timothy

    Comprising two letters, 1 Timothy​ and ‌2 ⁤Timothy, this Pauline epistle⁤ series provides practical guidance to ⁢Timothy, a young⁣ leader in the church. The letters address issues of church leadership, the​ qualifications for pastors, sound doctrine, and ‍the importance of perseverance in the face of challenges.

    15.‌ Titus

    Written by Paul, the epistle to Titus instructs ​him on structuring leadership within the​ church and promoting sound doctrine. ‍Paul emphasizes the‌ significance of teaching, ​personal integrity, and good works, urging⁢ believers to live godly lives that reflect their faith.

    16. Philemon

    Philemon is a⁣ personal letter ​written by Paul⁢ to Philemon, appealing for the forgiveness ⁣and acceptance of Onesimus, Philemon’s runaway ⁤slave.⁢ Paul encourages Philemon to demonstrate the spirit of love and reconciliation, demonstrating how the ‍Christian faith transforms⁣ relationships.

    17. Hebrews

    The authorship of​ the ⁣book of Hebrews‌ remains a subject of debate. Addressing⁣ Jewish Christians, this letter emphasizes the ‌supremacy of Christ over‌ the Old Covenant. Hebrews⁤ reveals the⁤ fulfillment of Jewish‍ prophecies and the ​superiority of Christ’s sacrifice as the ultimate High Priest, ⁢urging believers to persevere in their faith.

    18. James

    Authored by James, the half-brother ⁣of Jesus, the book of James⁤ emphasizes the practical application ‌of faith. ‌It ​encourages believers to put their faith ⁢into action, living ‍lives marked by ‍good deeds, wisdom, and taming ​the​ tongue. James‌ emphasizes‌ the importance of genuine faith ⁤that yields transformed ‍lives.

    19. Peter

    Comprising two letters, 1 Peter​ and 2 Peter, this apostolic writing provides encouragement and instruction to believers facing ‍persecution and false ⁣teachings. Peter highlights the security of believers in Christ, the‍ call‍ to holy living, the importance of suffering for righteousness, and the impending⁤ return of the Lord Jesus⁣ Christ.

    20. John’s Letters

    Comprising three letters, 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John,‍ these writings authored by the apostle John emphasize the importance of love, ⁢truth, and ‌obedience in the‍ Christian faith. John encourages believers​ to walk in the ⁢light, resist false teaching, and exhibit hospitality, thus reflecting ⁤Christ’s love to others.

    21. Jude

    Written by the half-brother of Jesus, this short letter addresses the presence of​ false teachers⁢ within the church. Jude warns⁤ believers about ‍corrupt teachings and‍ encourages them to contend for the​ faith and stand firm in the truth.

    Apocalyptic Literature (1 Book)

    22. Revelation

    The final book of the New⁢ Testament, Revelation, was written by ⁢the ⁢apostle John.‌ It presents apocalyptic visions that​ reveal the ultimate victory of Christ ⁤and the culmination of ‍God’s redemptive plan. This book offers a glimpse into the ⁢future and provides hope, comfort, ⁢and guidance to believers as they await ‍Christ’s return.

    Conclusion

    The 27 books of ‍the New Testament offer ⁣readers a remarkable ⁢collection of narratives, teachings, epistles, ‌and prophecies. ⁤Spanning from the birth of Jesus to the ultimate hope found in Revelation,⁣ each book has its unique purpose ‌and relevance. Whether it is⁤ the life and ​teachings of Jesus in the Gospels, ⁣the early church ⁢history in Acts, the practical instruction in the epistles, or the prophetic visions in Revelation, the New ⁣Testament‍ holds rich spiritual insights that continue to⁤ impact and‍ transform the‌ lives of believers today.

    27 Books of New Testament In Order

    List of books of the new testament

    • The Gospel According to Matthew
    • The Gospel According to Mark
    • The Gospel According to Luke
    • The Gospel According to John
    • The Acts of the Apostles
    • Romans
    • 1 Corinthians
    • 2 Corinthians
    • Galatians

    Matthew

    Matthew, also known as Levi, was a Jewish tax collector from Capernaum. He is the author of the first gospel in the New Testament. The work is traditionally dated to between 60 and 70 AD. As a gospel story, it describes Jesus’ life and ministry, including his parables and miracles; however, it differs significantly from other gospels in that it focuses on Jesus’ fulfillment of specific prophecies described by Hebrew scripture. This emphasis on prophecy fulfillment led early church fathers to posit that Matthew was written with an audience of Jewish Christians in mind. The text employs many Old Testament parallels and quotations directly from Hebrew scripture.The book of Matthew has 28 chapters, 1,071 verses and contains 23,681 words. It is written in Greek.

    Mark

    The gospel of Mark is the second of the four canonical gospels and it’s said that it was written by John Mark, a companion of St. Peter, who wrote in Rome between 60 and 70 A.D. It is believed to be the first gospel written and is often used as a source for Matthew and Luke because all three books are similar in content. The book was written in Greek, which means it was likely intended for the Roman Christians.

    It’s generally agreed that the gospel of Mark establishes many of Jesus’ teachings through events rather than long discourses or monologues so that readers can keep up with what happened while still understanding Jesus’ message.

    Luke

    The Book of Luke, written by the physician Luke, is one of the four gospels in the New Testament. The gospel is often called the “Gospel according to St. Luke” because it traditionally was thought to have been written by Luke (who also wrote the Acts of the Apostles). However, this has never been confirmed.

    It was believed that it was written by an eyewitness and companion of Paul named LUKE around 60-65 AD. It is addressed to a person named Theophilus and tells us about Jesus’ life and ministry on earth. It contains 24 chapters.

    John

    John

    This book is the fourth of the New Testament, and according to tradition, it was written by John the Apostle. It’s a gospel that contains narrative, discourses, and sayings. The main focus of this book is on the person and nature of Jesus Christ. It begins with the word “In the beginning”. This book is divided into four parts:

    • Chapter 1-12 covers Jesus’ ministry up until his departure from Jerusalem for Galilee at which point he begins gathering his disciples.
    • Chapters 13-21 covers Jesus’ last supper with his disciples in Jerusalem shortly before his death.
    • Chapters 22-25 covers Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection in Jerusalem, as well as post-resurrection appearances in Galilee or Judea before returning to heaven

    Acts of Apostles

    Acts of Apostles contains the following:

    • An account of the founding and growth of the Christian church from Jesus’ ascension to Paul’s sojourn in Rome. It tells how Christianity spread from its Jewish roots.
    • The conversion and early preaching of Paul, formerly known as Saul of Tarsus, who begins to persecute Christians after his conversion until he is convinced by God that he should preach to Gentiles instead. When Peter (then Simon) sees a vision that teaches him not to call any man unclean or common, he accepts Cornelius, a Roman centurion, as his disciple. The book tells the story of how Peter comes to lead a gentile church in Caesarea.

    Romans

    Romans is the sixth book of the New Testament. It was written by Paul, also known as Saul of Tarsus, and intended for believers in Rome. To put it simply, Romans is a letter from Paul to the Roman community of believers, but it is also very complex. Romans gives us insight about how Paul viewed himself and his faith in God. It also serves as a record of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    It is important to note that this letter was written from Corinth around 57 A.D., some years before Paul’s death around 64 A.D.. If you are interested in reading Romans, make sure you read Acts 19:21-20:1 where there are more details regarding when this letter was written by Paul (or Saul). “[Acts 19:21] After all this had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem … [Acts 20:1] When he had gone over those parts and encouraged them with many words …”

    Corinthians

    The second letter Paul wrote to the church in Corinth is one of his most important and personal works. Here, he defends himself against false teachers who were trying to undermine his authority among the Corinthians, and also emphasizes the importance of their spiritual gifts and how they should use them as believers.

    Paul makes it clear that he is a true apostle because Christ has chosen him for this role, but he also writes with confidence in his own faith and knowledge: “I think that I am not in any way inferior to these super-apostles.” (2 Corinthians 11) This indicates Paul’s humility while at the same time validating his status as an apostle by saying, “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord” (2 Corinthians 4).

    Galatians

    • The apostle Paul wrote this letter, possibly in the mid-50s.
    • Paul’s audience was the churches of Galatia, an area in central Asia Minor (modern Turkey).
    • Paul wanted to encourage the Galatians to stand firm in their freedom from the law.
    • Paul wrote about both the gospel and life under the law.

    Ephesians

    The Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians, also called the Letter to the Ephesians and often shortened to Ephesians, is the tenth book of the New Testament. Its authorship has traditionally been attributed to Paul the Apostle but starting in 1792, this has been challenged as Deutero-Pauline, that is, written in Paul’s name by a later author strongly influenced by Paul’s thought, probably “by a loyal disciple to sum up Paul’s teaching and to apply it to a new situation fifteen to twenty-five years after the Apostle’s death.”

    Philippians

    The letter to the Philippians was written by Paul during his imprisonment. It’s an upbeat, encouraging letter for believers who are facing difficulties and struggles.

    In this letter, Paul thanks the believers in Philippi for their gift that they sent him while he was in prison. He also encourages them in their faith and gives them instructions on how to live as Christians. The main point is that we are made right with God through our faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law of Moses. Paul also tells them that he’ll be coming to visit very soon.

    Colossians

    Timothy and Tychicus were two of Paul’s close friends and companions. Tychicus was the one who delivered this letter to the church at Colossae. He also carried a letter to the church at Ephesus, which is included in The Bible as the book of Ephesians. This book is less than 1% of The Bible as a whole, but it contains some very important teachings about living for Christ that we can all learn from today.

    The book itself is a letter written by Paul. It was probably written around 60-62 A.D., while he was imprisoned in Rome, although some scholars believe it might have been written while he was imprisoned in Caesarea (Acts 23-26). It was sent to the people of Colossae, but it could have been sent to other churches that needed encouragement too because many of his letters were sent out like this.

    Thessalonians

    Thessalonians is a book of the new testament. The word “thessalonians” comes from a Greek word meaning “greeting.” The original epistle, by James, was written to people who were followers of Paul in Greece. Through this letter, Paul attempts to encourage his disciples, but there are also some references to problems among the church and advice that he’d like them to follow.

    The order of the books of the new testament can be hard for us non-bible scholars (that’s what she said). We often have discussions about why it should be Matthew first so we can go on with the gospel story and end with Revelation, or whether it should be John last because he’s preaching on things that didn’t happen yet and so has more room for interpretation. But no matter how you read them, these books tell stories about Jesus’s life and death, even if they don’t have much to say about him before he was born. They’re just snapshots of Jesus’s ministry as told by men who heard it directly from him (or so they say).

    Timothy

    Timothy was Paul’s most important disciple, of whom he had the highest hopes. He is mentioned in every letter of Paul except Galatians, and in several letters, he is described as being like a son to him. Timothy was from Lystra, and his mother was a Jewess but his father Greek. He worked with Paul to establish the church in Corinth. Later he accompanied Paul on many of his missionary journeys: preached in Lystra and Derbe;

    Paul left him in Ephesus to oversee work there; went with Silas on an evangelization trip through Macedonia; set off on a journey by himself; joined Paul at Corinth toward end of his stay there.

    Titus

    Titus is a book of the New Testament written by Paul. It is one of the three Pastoral Epistles, along with First Timothy and Second Timothy. The letter was addressed to Titus, who was a Gentile convert to Christianity, and according to tradition Titus was the first Bishop of Crete.

    Aspects of Christian living are mentioned in this letter, for example Paul writes about the standards for church leaders and Christian families in chapters 1-2 and chapter 3 talks about Christian living.

    The main theme of this book is “Christian living”. This involves such topics as salvation, righteous living and good works; faith, grace and justification; spiritual growth, suffering and temptation; sanctification; Christian service including evangelism, leadership roles (elders) and family life (older men/women) ; church organization including finances/giving as well as relationships with outsiders (pagan society).

    Philemon

    Philemon is an important letter in the New Testament because it constitutes an extended tutorial on how to maintain relationships and what it means to be a Christian. As you can see, it has a lot of information that doesn’t necessarily relate directly to its subject matter, but could easily apply to many other situations. If you’re looking for things to look up while reading this lengthy letter, here are some places where I think most readers will find themselves:

    • The Author

    As you read, think about the author’s situation, who he was and why he wrote this letter.

    • The Audience

    Think about the audience for this letter and what kind of relationship he wanted his readership to have with him and with Christ.

    • The Location

    According to Paul himself, Philemon was written in Rome during his missionary travels in Europe (around AD 50). So as a reader, imagine yourself being one of these people traveling with Paul who got a chance encounter with someone like Philemon. Ask yourself if this person would be willing to accept or forgive Paul’s sincere apologies and forgiveness if they had been asking him for them all along. Think about how their relationship could be redefined from that point on.

    • The Date & Time Period

    The date is clear from the book itself; it was written before AD 65 when Paul was arrested in Jerusalem and executed by Nero three years later.*{I have yet to come across any scholar who tries at all seriously to place Philemon between AD 63-65.} Therefore try imagining yourself listening as Paul told Philemon about his time in prison (2:10-13), then going into more detail about his encounters with Christians among which Timothy was mentioned as someone who might have helped him (3:1) and finally hearing how much he thanked those Christians for their hospitality (“for even though I am free from all accusation that they made against me” 4:9). At these points think about how such interactions would’ve taken

    Hebrews

    Hebrews

    Author: Unknown (possibly Paul)

    Themes: faith, perseverance, the priesthood of Jesus Christ.

    Considered one of the most difficult books to understand.

    knowing the books of new testament is essential and this post instructs you to memorize it

    Finally, knowing the books of new testament is essential and this post instructs you to memorize it. Knowing the books of new testament is essential and this post instructs you to memorize it. Knowing the books of new testament is essential and this post instructs you to memorize it. While reading through a book, take notes in a notebook or on your phone’s notes app. The notes don’t have to be long, but if there’s something you want to reference later or use for a project, write that down! Note-taking shows that you’re actively engaged in what you’re reading (which will ultimately help with comprehension). It also gives you a resource for studying should there be an exam about the material later on. If note-taking doesn’t work for you (for example, if your ideal study style involves making flashcards), find another way that works for your needs—just make sure to do something instead of passively reading along without thinking about what’s happening or what any larger themes might be.

    The New Testament Books: What You Need to Know

    The New Testament books contain the most life-changing truths in the world.

    However, it can often be difficult for a 21st century reader to understand how to read the new testament, which was written in the 1st century, without first understanding the context, central themes, and key texts of each book. We’re not going deep on four horsemen of the apocalypse, but I guarantee you’ll walk away from this post with some great insights.

    As a result, you will be able to read, understand, apply, and preach from each book with a better grasp of its true meaning. Use this breakdown of New Testament books as a way to more fluently and thoroughly understand each text you encounter.

    New Testament Books

    First, if you’re wondering how many books in the new testament there are, there are 27. It may also be helpful to understand that the Bible breaks down the new testament into 5 main sections:

    • 4 Canonical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John)
    • the Acts of the Apostles
    • 14 Epistles of Paul
    • 7 General Epistles, and
    • the Book of Revelation.

    Understanding the main sections of the new testament gives you immediate context into what you’re reading. Now on to summary of each New Testament Book in the Bible.

    1. Matthew

    The book of Matthew was written between 70 and 80 AD by the Apostle Matthew.

    Matthew drew on the Gospel of Mark as source material for his own work, as did Luke. Scholars refer to these three gospels as “The Synoptic Gospels.” This term comes from the word “synopsis,” meaning “summary,” because all of these authors drew on many of the same summary source materials—even one another—when writing the Gospels.

    The reason that there are four gospels is that the early church needed different ways to explain the life and work of Jesus from multiple angles to understand the entire history in a cohesive way.

    Luke’s expansive historical prose would have made the Gospel of Mark unsightly, disorganized, asymmetrical in its content structure, and confusing in its style, voice, and purpose. Matthew ideally establishes the relationship between the Old and New testaments because he emphasizes the Jewishness of Jesus as a central feature of the nature and purpose of his work, beginning with a genealogical prequel in Chapter 1, followed by a retelling of the life of Jesus in a way that mirrors the story of the Old Testament itself in order to highlight by way of genre the manner in which Jesus fulfilled the major prophecies and themes of the Old Testament.

    Key verse: “And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.’” (Matt 22:37-40)

    Key theme: Jesus is the promised messiah; the kingdom of God.

    2. Mark

    Mark is considered by scholars to be the first gospel. Its brevity (only 16 short chapters) should not be confused with sparsity or lack of substance. Mark intended this work to be a terse, potent, and forceful assertion of both the historical credibility of the stories about Jesus and the radically transformative irruption which his life and work catalyzed in human history.

    Mark ends on a somber note: “Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid” (Mark 16:8). Some later manuscripts add 11 verses which summarize what occurred afterward—namely, the fallout of the resurrection of Christ and the institution of the church.

    Mark is centrally about the new shape that the kingdom of God has taken through Christ and how it clashes violently with the evil, corruptive, and oppressive forces of the world. After centuries of waiting, Mark’s Gospel is a “tell it like it is” story of the central elements of Jesus’s life and work.

    Key verse: “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

    Key theme: Jesus is the great servant preacher who announces the good news of God’s saving reign.

    3. Luke

    Luke wrote both the Gospel of Luke and Acts as a two-part work, commissioned by the wealthy benefactor Theophilus. Luke was a medical doctor who, by his training, was gifted with the intellectual capacity to engage in ancient journalism to produce the Gospel account with the highest degree of investigative rigor.

    Luke’s account is considered by scholars to contain the largest amount of information with the least amount of artistic flare by the writer.

    The purpose of Luke was to give an account of the life and work of Jesus that dovetailed thematically and historically into an account of the early church. In that regard, Acts is not so much a sequel to Luke as much as Luke is a prequel to Acts. There are other Gospel accounts, but there is only one Acts. Luke had the foresight to understand that it would be critical for the political integrity of Christianity as a new religion to have a researched, first-hand account of the founding and rationale of their organization, which had its first official general council meeting in Jerusalem (Acts 15).

    In other words, Luke was written to give a comprehensive account of the life of Christ in a way that was intelligible and preachable as Scripture in the early church. We might put it crudely in this way: Matthew, Mark, and John are meant to be understood as communicating many important features of the life of Christ, but Luke was intended to serve as a public document that drew on theological themes insofar as it served to illuminate to the Roman republic and Greek-speaking world the historic rationale for the founding of the church itself.

    Key verse: “Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’” (Luke 24:44)

    Key theme: God has decisively revealed himself in Jesus Christ and it has changed the world.

    4. John

    The Gospel of John is a rich work that does recount the historical events of the life of Christ, but the Apostle John saturates this historical narrative with theological themes such as the love of God, divine illumination, the importance of fellowship among believers, and the deeper resonances of Christ’s relationship to the world, with an emphasis on his divine lordship and eternal nature.

    Key verse: “But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31)

    Key theme: Jesus is the Christ, the eternal Son of God who gives eternal life to all who believe.

    5. Acts

    Acts is Luke’s second work, which is meant to show how the ministry of the Spirit in the life of Christ is transformed through his crucifixion and resurrection into the ministry of the church. What Christ accomplished in his life by the power of the Spirit would be dispensed at scale to the entire church in Acts 2. The rest of the book of Acts is about what the Spirit does to fulfill Christ’s charge to reach Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

    Key verse: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

    Key theme: God has given the church the Spirit to continue the mission of Jesus on earth.

    6. Romans

    Romans was written by the Apostle Paul in 57 A.D. in order to help the Roman church navigate the difficult relationship between the Jewish and Roman communities. The context is that the Roman church was primarily Jewish, initially, until the Jews were exiled from Rome. However, they were later allowed to return, yet when they returned, the church had become primarily Gentile, meaning that the Roman church came to practice Christianity in a way that was not distinctively Jewish.

    This sparked deep debate about the continuing relevance of the Old Testament for Christian practice and threatened to divide the church in Rome. Paul wrote the book of Romans to settle this theological controversy as well as to promote unity among the church, encouraging them to love one another and to place unity in Christ above minor theological questions about the Old Testament, important as they are (Paul devotes the first 11 chapters of Romans to resolving this issue for the church in Rome).

    Key verse: “For all have sinned and fall short of the flory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.” (Romans 3:23-25)

    Key theme: The Gospel; The righteousness of God

    7. 1 Corinthians

    1 Corinthians was written by the Apostle Paul to rebuke the church in Corinth for integrating too much pagan culture into the church, which sparked abuse, licentiousness, heinous sexual sin, arrogance, and the oppression of believers based on what spiritual gifts they had. Paul wrote to tell the Corinthians that their church had merely taken on Christian language, but made the church into an essentially pagan institution by their practices.

    This is where the famous passage on love in 1 Corinthians 13 becomes relevant. Love in Christ, properly conceived, would resolve the tensions the Corinthians were experiencing—the social factions, the social hierarchies, the lawsuits against one another, and even the moral self-righteousness of those who were condemning Christians who ate meat sacrificed to idols.

    Paul wears two hats in this letter—one as a referee, and the other as a spiritual parent. He is concerned both with reunifying the church and helping them to keep their eyes set on Christ in order to grow in maturity and love for one another without losing the theological insights that changed their community. He is careful not to take the side of any political faction in the church, yet makes the necessary rebukes, for example, toward a man who was sleeping with his step mother (1 Corinthians 5).

    Key verse: “According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no on can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which if Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:10-11)

    Key theme: Undo political factions in the church through love from Christ.

    8. 2 Corinthians

    2 Corinthians was Paul’s later letter to the Corinthian church. While they had matured since Paul’s first letter, there were other leaders who claimed to be apostles that questioned Paul’s spiritual authority. He defends his credibility with the Corinthian church (2 Cor 6) by recalling all that he suffered for their sake and the fact that he never took any money from them.

    Key verse: “According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no on can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which if Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:10-11)

    Key theme: Paul is a true Apostle from Jesus; Faith teaches us how to suffer, but doesn’t save us from suffering

    9. Galatians

    The Apostle Paul wrote the book of Galatians in order to dispel a particular heresy in the church in Galatia. There was a group called “Judaizers” who were teaching that, in order to receive Christ properly, individuals must first become Jews and then Christians. For example, they taught that Christians must be circumcised first in order to receive the forgiveness of Christ.

    Paul was so frustrated by the spiritual disruption of this heresy that he wrote to the Galatians: “As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!” (Galatians 5:12).

    Paul took the relationship between faith and works very seriously, because it represented a critical transition in history between a time when the people of God were made right with God by obedience to the law and a new era inaugurated by Christ in which people were made right with God by receiving his love through spirit-wrought faith in Christ.

    He framed Christian behavior, not in terms of “acting good” or “acting bad,” but living “according to the Spirit” and “according to the flesh” (Galatians 5). While the Judaizers were incorrect, Paul didn’t want to over-communicate his point and mislead the Galatians to become licentious like the Corinthians.

    Key verse: “Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.” (Galatians 3:23-25)

    Key theme: Justification with God by grace through faith, not by works

    10. Ephesians

    The Apostle Paul wrote the book of Ephesians in order to communicate the lordship of Christ over creation, the exact benefits of the gospel, how the message of Christ relates to works in the Christian life, and what Christian household and civil life should look like in this new era of Christ’s resurrected reign.

    Key verse: “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” (Ephesians 1:4-7)

    Key theme: The unity of the church under the headship of Christ.

    11. Philippians

    The Apostle Paul wrote the book of Philippians in order to express his deep gratitude to the Philippian church for a gift they had sent him. This town, with a large veteran population, was committed and loyal to Paul, and supported his ministry.

    This kingly gift of an Apostolic letter was Paul’s way of giving this church an expression of gratitude, along with very helpful theological instruction on the nature of Christ and how his life promotes generosity in the church.

    Key verse: “That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:10-11)

    Key theme: Gratitude to God for partnership; faithful endurance by the power of Christ

    12. Colossians

    Paul wrote the book of Colossians in order to dispel a heresy in the early church that downplayed the divinity of Jesus (properly conceived) and taught odd things about how to connect with Christ via quasi-mystical spiritual practices. Paul wanted to impress upon the Colossians the reality of Christ’s lordship over creation and how such a reality changed Christian behavior.

    Key verse: “If then you have been raised with Christ seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Col 3:1-4)

    Key theme: Christians are a new creation, no longer under demonic powers

    13. 1 Thessalonians

    The Apostle Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians to help the church in Thessalonica to properly understand the future return of Christ to earth. Some in this church were persuaded that Christ would either not return for a long time, or would never return in a literal fashion.

    Paul impressed upon them the open possibility of Christ’s imminent return and the definitive fact of that impending return in order to supply the church with encouragement and hope.

    Key verse: “Aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)

    Key theme: Be encouraged; Christ will return soon.

    14. 2 Thessalonians

    The Apostle Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians because his earlier letter was misconstrued by some to mean that Christ was definitely going to return in the next few days.

    Paul rounded out his theology of the future with a commendation to continue working, and to express the open possibility that Christ may in fact not return immediately, though its possibility should prompt us to be expectant, prepared, and waiting in such a way that does not diminish our daily activity on the earth.

    Key verse: “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” (2 Thesalonnians 3:5)

    Key theme: Be encouraged; Christ may not return today.

    15. 1 Timothy

    The Apostle Paul wrote 1 Timothy in order to shepherd a young pastor through the trials of church planting amidst theological controversy in the early church.

    Because Christianity was such a young movement at the time, Timothy was operating with very little precedent, and therefore needed apostolic oversight from Paul to deal with more complicated issues in church governance and leadership.

    Key verse: “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:15-16)

    Key theme: Encouragement and advice to a young pastor facing heavy responsibility.

    16. 2 Timothy

    2 Timothy is Paul’s last letter. He writes it to Timothy in order to hand off the baton of his legacy-building initiative to Timothy, vesting him with the task of planting and overseeing churches in his respective region.

    While Timothy was not granted apostolic authority as Paul had, Timothy was an officer in the church who was operating on behalf of the Jerusalem council and carried out the mission of Jesus through the Apostle Paul’s careful oversight.

    Key verse: “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 2:24-25)

    Key theme: Continue to be faithful, even when it’s hard.

    17. Titus

    Titus was a key asset for the Apostle Paul, and Paul’s epistle to Titus, similar to his epistles to Timothy, was meant to guide him in his work. Titus journeyed with Paul through Jerusalem with Barnabas, and was later dispatched to Corinth, where he helped Paul to reconcile the divided community there.

    Because Titus had experience with conflict management, Paul used Titus in a very different way than he did Timothy. Paul write this letter to help Titus to manage theological controversy in the church in order to guard it from division, while at the same time being ruthless with false teachers in the church promoting a gospel of salvation on the basis of works.

    Key verse: “And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.” (Titus 3:14)

    Key theme: Qualifications for church leadership

    18. Philemon

    The Apostle Paul wrote the book of Philemon to a wealthy Christian whom Paul had brought to Christ. Later, Paul met a runaway slave named Onesimus, who also became a Christian. Paul learned that Onesimus was a slave who ran away from Philemon. Paul wrote to Philemon in order to request that Philemon take back Onesimus without punishment, in respect for and recognition of the work God had done in his heart.

    Key verse: “I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.” (Philemon 1:6)

    Key theme: Models prudence, courtesy, and compassionate care for the forgiveness of one who faces serious consequences.

    19. Hebrews

    The book of Hebrews is mysterious. There is no consensus about the authorship of Hebrews. It bears the style of many other New Testament biblical writers, including both Paul and Luke. Most scholars recognize that Hebrews is a distinctively Pauline work, though its style is sufficiently different from Paul’s style that it is likely not his direct product.

    The purpose of the book of Hebrews is to encourage Jewish Christians who are tempted to deconvert back to Judaism to remain in Christ. The author warns that not only will they put themselves back under the yoke of slavery to the law, but that deconversion bears serious spiritual consequences.

    The author of Hebrews seeks to accomplish not primarily by way of warning (though HEbrews is famous for its warning passages in chapters 6, 9, and 10), but by highlighting the majesty and glorious benefits Christians have in Christ.

    Key verse: “The former priests were many in number because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:23-25)

    Key theme: Remain in the faith even when your community pressures you to leave.

    20. James

    The book of James is written by James, the brother of Jesus, to Christians who believe that forgiveness for sin through Christ means that Christians are no longer obligated to do good in the world. James makes the definitive point: Faith without works is dead.

    By this, James means that all genuine faith manifests itself in good works, because the same Spirit that unites us to Christ for the sake of salvation is the Spirit that works through us to love others.

    The Epistle of James bears many thematic similarities to the sermon on the mount, and feels very much more like the writings of Matthew and Mark than it does the writings of Paul and Peter.

    Key verse: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27)

    Key theme: Faith should always manifest itself through works.

    21. 1 Peter

    The Apostle Peter wrote his first letter in order to encourage persecuted Christians who had been dispersed throughout the world. Unlike the Apostle Paul’s epistles, which were written to a specific local audience with the intent of being circulated for the sake of proper Christian instruction, Peter’s intended audience is simply: Christians everywhere.

    As long as there are Christians, those Christians will be persecuted and they will be tempted to leave the faith (John 15:18-25). Peter understands and experiences this on a personal level, and he leverages his apostolic authority in 1 Peter to encourage the saints who are exhausted from the suffering that came with believing in Jesus in the first century.

    Key verse: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

    Key theme: Remind Christians of their present identity and future inheritance in Christ in light of persecution.

    22. 2 Peter

    The style and message of 2 Peter is very different from 1 Peter. Peter himself says that he is writing the epistle before his imminent death (2 Peter 1:14). The epistle is saturated with Old Testament references and imagery, and shares significant stylistic similarities with the book of Jude, because both epistles are dealing with odd views among Christians about fallen angels.

    Some scholars have used the differences between 1 and 2 Peter to indicate that Peter did not write the epistle, although there is sufficient time between the writing of these two letters to indicate that Peter’s circumstances and resources inhibited him from writing better Greek prose (good, not great) in his second Epistle.

    Key verse: “You, therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.” (2 Peter 3:17-18)

    Key theme: Warning against false teachers who seek to divide the church for selfish gain.

    23. 1 John

    The Apostle John was concerned in his gospel to articulate, beautify, highlight, and defend the pre-existent divinity of Jesus as the eternal Son of God. 1 John was written to dispel myths circulated by some Jewish Christian circles that Jesus was not the pre-existent Son of God.

    John makes the case because Christ is the Son of God, his sacrifice is a maximal example of love that we should emulate, tying tightly together the Christian doctrines of Christ’s divinity with the doctrine of neighborly love.

    Key verse: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” (1 John 3:1)

    Key theme: Fellowship in Christ, encouragement in maturity, the nature of eternal life

    24. 2 John

    The Apostle John composed his second epistle in order to dispel the myth of a heresy called “gnosticism,” which taught that one only comes to know Jesus through mystical practices and initiations that guard and safely dispense “secret knowledge” (Greek: Gnosis) in order to receive salvation.

    He argues that by accepting gnosticism, we dilute and destroy the love of God for us in Christ.

    Key verse: “And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.” (2 John 6)

    Key theme: Jesus Christ is both God and man, and this changes how we relate to others.

    25. 3 John

    3 John is a strictly personal letter that encourages hospitality, missional work, and the need for prudence when accepting new members and teachers into the church.

    John warns that by guarding the church from false teachers, we guard the church from evil, abuse, and hatred.

    Key verse: “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.” (3 John 11)

    Key theme: Fellowship with other believers and show hospitality to those in genuine need.

    26. Jude

    Jude writes this letter under Jamesian apostolic authority to warn against false teaching in the church. Jude is concerned to guard the church from malicious parties who would take advantage of her, yet also expresses the notion that Christians should have an instinct of hospitality and love toward those who undergo seasons of doubt.

    He strives to articulate strict boundaries for church belonging, but not so strict that it cannot accommodate the realities of human life.

    Key verse: “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 24-25)

    Key theme: Vigilantly preserve the faith in love.

    27. Revelation

    The Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation while exiled for his faith on the island of Patmos. He wrote it in order to give Christians a vision of the future that helped them to live faithfully in the present.

    While it is full of imagery that many find confusing, it is important to understand that he gets much of his imagery from the Old Testament. So, while other New Testament writers will explicitly cite Scripture, John does something more subtly—he takes imagery from Daniel, Ezekiel, and many other prophets and books to paint a more vivid picture of Christ’s work in the world today and how it relates to our hope for the future which will be fulfilled by Christ himself.

    Key verse: “Behold I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 22:12-13)

    Key theme: Christ is the king of the universe and will fulfill all his promises throughout Scripture.

    Join the conversation

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *