Saturday, November 29, 2014

Lesson - Introduction To The New Testament

As Bible teachers, we should want to learn helpful, even creative, ideas to aid our students and ourselves in learning all we can about God's Word. Perhaps, it would help to break down the New Testament into grouped areas of study for an easier understanding and memorization of this testament. Take a look at the books below to see if the information will help you become more familiar with the New Testament.

As we have mentioned before, there are 27 books in the New Testament which were written by eight inspired men--Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, Jude and James. The New Testament was originally written in Greek.

  • The Gospels:  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These four books of biography were written by and named after four inspired men who lived with Jesus for the three-and-a-half years that Jesus spent preaching to and teaching the people. These books are four independent, inspired accounts of the life of Jesus. 
    • At times, four men described the same event; 
    • Many times, Matthew, Mark, and Luke told about the same happening; 
    • Occasionally, two of the men recounted the same incident, 
    • Frequently, one man gave an account of something of which only he would write. 
In these books, we find the birth of Jesus, His life, His teachings, His parables and miracles, His suffering and death on the cross, and His resurrection. To understand the entire Gospel story, we must read all four books of the Gospel. This type of study is called a "harmony of the Gospels," seeing how each book harmonizes, compliments, and completes the other books. In these four books, God has given us everything we need to know about Christ to become a believer in Him (John 20:30, 31).
  • History:  Acts. This is the only book of the New Testament that records how the church began. It shows us by example what people did to become Christians and members of Christ's church, how the church grew, how the church was persecuted, and the teaching of Christ's apostles. In this book we find out what the early disciples did to worship God and how often they worshiped, about the apostles' miracles which confirmed that the message they preached was God-given, and about how Christ is coming back again.
  • Letters Of Instruction: Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude. It has been said that the Bible is a "how-to" book and that is correct. The history book, Acts, tells us "how to" become Christians. Now we will notice that these letters of instruction will tell us "how to" live the Christian life. These are actual letters that were inspired by God and written to different congregations of the Lord's church or to certain people. Christians are able to learn how to live their lives in a way that pleases God by reading these letters. Christians were encouraged to continue the many good things they were doing for the Lord and also were rebuked them for not obeying God in the way that He commanded. These books contain instructions to Christians on how to live in a godly way. In these letters, we can read about the differences in the Old and New Testaments, how no one can control the tongue, but should certainly try, how all Christians should be growing in their knowledge of the Word, what Christians should be adding to their faith, about love, and warnings about worldliness.
  • Prophecy:  Revelation. This is the only book in the New Testament that contains the promise of a blessing simply by reading it. It contains much figurative language, yet can, with diligent study, be understood. It tells us about the lake of fire and how beautiful heaven is. It also cautions those who add to or take from the words of the Bible.
Do we want to know how to get to heaven? Do we want to know how to live in a godly way? Do we want to know what will happen when we die? The New Testament tells us all of the answers to these questions. We will be studying these twenty-seven books for a good while! Let us open our hearts and minds as we open the Book of Books--the Bible!

ACTIVITY:  The New Testament Books
Materials:  9" x 18" blue construction paper, 6" x 17" brown construction paper, four colors of scrap paper, glue, markers, pencil.
  1. Hand out blue paper. This is the background.
  2. Hand out brown paper. This is the bookshelf.
  3. Leaving only an inch at the bottom of the blue paper, glue brown paper on top of blue paper.
  4. Write "The New Testament Books" and "27 Books -- 8 Writers" at the top of the blue paper.
  5. Hand out red scrap paper.
  6. Cut four 1" x 5" strips.
  7. Before gluing, place all strips on brown paper to assure all books will fit on the bookshelf.
  8. Next, cut one 1.5" x 5" out of blue scrap.
  9. Place this blue strip next to the red strips for spacing.
  10. Cut one 1" x 5" green strip.
  11. Place green strip at the end of the right side of the bookshelf.
  12. Then, cut twenty-one 1.25" x 5" yellow strips. All yellow strips do not need to be the same width. It will be fine.
  13. Place yellow strips in between blue and green strips.
  14. Alter if they do not fit.
  15. Glue the strips down.
  16. Turn the blue paper, so that the paper is landscape.
  17. Write all 27 books in order on the strips down the bookshelf.
  18. Write "The Gospels" below the red strips.
  19. Write "History" below the blue strip.
  20. Write "Letters of Instruction" below the yellow strips.
  21. Write "Prophecy" below the green strip.
  22. Review books to make certain books are in the proper order before leaving class.
  23. It would be nice to sing The Books Of The New Testament (see March - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3; click on orange circle for tune) at the end of class, if time permits.