What the New Testament Is and What It Means

What is the New TestamentThe New Testament (NT) is the second part of the Christian Bible, a collection of 27 books that tells the story of Jesus and includes letters from the apostles and other early Christians.

The New Testament was written after Jesus’ death by his followers 2,000 years ago. It includes four accounts of His life — called the Gospels — as well as letters from early Christians describing their beliefs about Jesus’ life on Earth and how they should follow Him after His death.

New Testament definition

The New Testament is a collection of 27 books that were written by the apostles after Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. These books tell us what happened during Jesus’ life and how Christianity spread across the world.

We divide the New Testament into the Gospels and the Epistles:

The Gospels are the first four books of the New Testament, and they tell the story of Jesus. They explain why He came to save us from our sins and how He did it. The Gospels also tell us that Jesus promised to send another Person—the Holy Spirit—who would teach us all things (John 14:26).

The Epistles are the letters that were written by Paul and other apostles after Jesus’ death. These letters help us understand what Christianity really means for our lives today.

The last book is called Revelation, also known as The Apocalypse. This book describes visions received by John while he was exiled on an island in exile for his faith in Christ.

What is the difference between the Old and New Testaments?

The Old Testament and the New Testament are two parts of the Bible that tell the story of God’s love for humanity.

God’s people wrote about their experiences with Him, as well as their understanding of His teachings and miracles, to help others understand how God works in our lives today. But what is the difference?

  • The Old Testament was written during a time when God had chosen Israel as His people. He also sent them prophets to teach them about Himself, so they could know Him better. He also gave them laws through Moses, so they would follow Him instead of other gods.
  • The New Testament was written after Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension. It is the record of the life of Jesus and His teachings, as well as the continuing ministry of the apostles after His departure from earth.

Who wrote the New Testament?

Men who were inspired by God wrote the New Testament, but they were not infallible. They had their own opinions, biases, and personalities, just like we do today. We don’t expect them to be perfect, but we do expect them to be honest and accurate.

So, the writers of the New Testament were eyewitnesses who were ordained by Jesus Himself as apostles. The writers were His disciples and companions (Luke 1:1-4).

The identity of these people is further confirmed by the Dead Sea Scrolls and ancient historical accounts. The New Testament writers were not anonymous; they put their names to their words. Many of them died for their faith or suffered from their tormentors. We have no reason to doubt who wrote them.

Most scholars agree the Gospels were all written by eyewitnesses or those who had spoken with eyewitnesses to Jesus’ ministry. The four Gospels are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John:

  • Matthew was a tax collector as a Jew from Galilee who had heard Jesus preach many times before he became one of His disciples (Matthew 9:9).
  • Mark was another disciple of Jesus who lived in Rome with Peter during Paul’s second missionary journey (Acts 12:12).
  • Luke was likely a Gentile convert who traveled with Paul during his preaching tours throughout Europe and Asia Minor (Colossians 4:14).
  • John, son of Zebedee, was the youngest of Jesus’ twelve apostles.

The letters of the New Testament were written by the following people:

  • The Apostle Paul, also called Paul (13 letters), is the son of a pharisee who persecuted Christians before converting to Christianity. He was born in Tarsus, in Anatolia, a Roman province, and was likely educated as a Roman citizen at the time.
  • The Apostle Peter (2 letters) – Simon Peter, one of Jesus’ apostles and leaders of the early Christian church after Jesus’ death. He is known for his role as an apostle and for founding the Catholic Church through his preaching and writing.
  • Apostle James (2 letters) – James was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples. He led the church in Jerusalem after Jesus’ death and was considered one of the pillars of Christianity.
  • The Apostle John (3 letters) – John, son of Zebedee, was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples. He was also known as “John the Apostle” or “John the Evangelist”.
  • The Letter of Jude can also be found in the New Testament, and it is the only letter in the New Testament attributed to a servant of Jesus and brother of James.
  • Who wrote Revelation? According to Christians, Saint John the Apostle wrote Revelation, but this is not the only theory. However, many Christians do not accept this view because there is no biblical evidence for it.

New Testament definition

In what language is the New Testament written?

The New Testament is written in Koine Greek. This was the language of the first-century Mediterranean world.

It was called Koine because it was the common language spoken by all people throughout the Hellenic (Greek) world, from Greece itself to Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. The word “Koine” literally means “common” and reflects the fact that Koine Greek was a dialect of ancient Greek that had become widespread throughout the Mediterranean world.

The New Testament was also written in Aramaic, which was a common language of the day. Aramaic is closely related to Hebrew, so there are many similarities between the two languages.

The New Testament records several instances where Jesus spoke Aramaic, the language of Palestine (Matthew 27:46). Some Hebrew was also spoken by some Jews in Judea and Galilee during this period.

Besides Greek and Hebrew, Latin was also used by early Christians. Many early Christian writers wrote in Latin because it was more widely understood than Greek or Hebrew. Early church theologians, such as Augustine of Hippo (354–430 CE) wrote extensively on theology in Latin.

What is the primary message of the New Testament?

The word “testament” means “covenant or agreement.”

  • The Old Testament contained a covenant agreement made between God and His people—the Jews—who lived in Israel.
  • But the New Testament contains an agreement that God has made with all people through Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. This new covenant promises salvation (deliverance) from sin and eternal life in heaven for all who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

The message of the New Testament is that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior and that we can be forgiven of our sins through faith in Him. It shows us how to put our faith into action so that we can live a life that pleases God.

The principal message of the New Testament is this:

  1. God loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into this world as our Savior from sin (1 John 4:9).
  2. Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins, allowing us to be forgiven if we repent of our sins and trust in Him as our Savior (John 1:12).
  3. He rose again three days later in victory over sin and death so that we would have eternal life with Him if we believe in Him (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

The NT’s four major sections

The Gospels are books that tell the story of Jesus’ life and ministry. They are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

The Acts of the Apostles tell us about the former church after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Luke, who was also a companion of Paul, wrote it.

The letters of Paul and other Apostles were written to different churches and individuals in the mid-first century AD. They include Romans, I Corinthians, II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, etc.

Revelation is the ultimate book of the New Testament, and the only apocalyptic (i.e., “revealing”) book in the Bible. It is a book of prophecy that describes future events leading up to and following the return of Jesus Christ.

What is a good order to read the New Testament?

In the end, every Christian will have their own opinion on this matter. Many Christians will read the Gospels followed by the Epistles, while others will read the Epistles first and then the Gospels. As long as you’re reading, it doesn’t matter so much what order you follow.

There are many ways to read through the New Testament, or any other book for that matter. It’s a matter of preference and what will work best for you given your time constraints and goals. As a general rule, I think it is good to start with Mark.

But if you are looking for a specific order that offers more profound insight, then I would suggest putting Paul’s epistles first, followed by those of Peter and James. This way, you can see how Jesus affected Paul and his teachings before moving on to the teachings of the apostles who personally knew Jesus.

  • If your purpose is to learn about Jesus, then there’s no reason you shouldn’t start with John’s Gospel and work your way through Acts.
  • Or if your main interest is God’s plan of salvation revealed in Christ, then you’ll probably want to start with Romans and work your way through Revelation.

The Bible is not a novel, it’s a collection of books written by different authors over many years. As such, there’s no one “right order” to read them in.

Conclusion

The New Testament is the second of two great divisions in the Bible. It contains a history of the Christian church from the ascension of Christ to 130 A.D. and a collection of sacred writings consisting of twenty-seven books.

The first four books are narratives, telling stories about the life and teachings of Christ and the Christian church during this period. These are followed by wisdom, apocalyptic, and epistolary books.

I believe we are living in the last days, when Jesus said that the gospel would be preached to all nations before the end.

I think Jesus had to mean the New Testament because we know that the gospel was not preached to all nations at that time. The apostle Paul said in Romans 15:21,

“They shall see who have never been told of Him, and they shall understand who have never heard of Him.”

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