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What is the New Testament?

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Romans 1:16-17
What is the New Testament? Book Cover

Who is Jesus? What was it like to follow in his footsteps? What was his message? To whom was it given? Who believed? What is the connection between the narrative and prophecy of the Old Testament and the gospel (good news) of the New Testament?

The New Testament, twenty-seven books written in Greek between AD 50 and 100, reveals the fulfillment of the Old Testament’s promise of a savior—Jesus. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John use eye-witness accounts of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament’s promise of the one who would save us from sin and death. And the rest of the New Testament chronicles the spread of Christianity in the first-century world. Together, the Gospels and letters of the New Testament offer wisdom and hope for Christ-followers living in a broken world. And that hope will be fully realized when Jesus returns, as promised in the final book of Revelation.

The ministry of Jesus isn’t just something to be observed. There is a call to action found throughout the New Testament. Jesus called his followers to go into the all the world, making disciples (Matthew 28:19–20). The book of Acts records those first missionary journeys and church plants. Led by Paul and Peter, the earliest believers in Jesus as Messiah set out to share the good news of salvation and to equip local groups of Christians with truth for living transformed by Jesus.

And so, the church was born.

As we know well, throwing off the sin that so easily entangles us and running with Jesus is hard. We get tripped up by tradition. Beset by bad habits. Discouraged by doubts. Caught up in comparison. Worn down by worldliness. And the early church did too; we see it played out all through the New Testament.

Paul and the first evangelists didn’t just covert Christians and move on. They continued to equip and encourage. The letters that follow the Gospels were written to specific groups of Christ-followers within the first hundred years after Jesus’s life and resurrection. In them, we see that the Christian life is only successfully lived when it is empowered by the Holy Spirit and lived within the context of community. In these letters, we find the answers to questions we should never stop asking. What is church life supposed to look like? How are we supposed to engage with unbelievers? How do we admonish the wayward brother or sister in Christ? In what do we place our hope? What awaits us in eternity?

The fulfillment of this last question is breathtakingly displayed in the Bible’s final book, Revelation. In it, God promises that one day there will be no more sin and sorrow, only light and life—Revelation gives us the hope we need to press on.

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Daily Question

What steps can you take so that your engagement with God’s Word leads to ever-increasing spiritual maturity?

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Comments (10)

I need to work diligently to set aside time in my day in order allow God’s word to imprint on my heart and my mind. I set a timer on my phone to work on setting aside time with my daughter to read God’s Word together. I also put a reminder on my calendar to make sure I work through this devotional day by day. The only way God is going work through me is if I’m willing to let him in and give him the control. Hopefully these steps will develop a new habit and then I’ll work on slowing down and evaluating it in more depth.

I need to return to a more consistent time of study and reflection. As I get older, I am aware of how being intentional in my faith walk and not just taking it for granted adds a huge joy and benefit – in daily feeding and growing. And just as my sourdough starter is most active and impactful when continuously loved and cared for…my faith matures in much the same way.

I need to reach out to other godly people more often and have conversations. Having a tribe that I can pray with and for needs to be something I am more intentional about.

I can daily read God’s word, pray, journal & meditate on what things mean. I can research when I don’t understand or ask a fellow believer to help me. I can lead others to a better understanding of God and His word.

Staying in constant communication with Gods word. Acting on his commands. Surrendering our own agenda. Practicing Gods gifts.

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