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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 (5)

Don’t quit reading or praying. God’s Word is alive and active, so what sticks out to once won’t necessarily be the same things that sticks out the next time you read it. Also, as we mature we are ready to handle the deeper things in Scripture. Ask for His guidance and wisdom and just keep reading.

Making space to truly stop, think, listen and reflect. Acknowledging that it may not be the same amount of time in each season. It may be just a verse or it can be a chapter or more depending on where I may be in my life and what is needed, but I should always seek His Word for direction. Keeping His Word as the center of my life and remembering that it truly is a light and guide for my path will help me to do this.

One step I can take is to SLOW DOWN. Take time to pray in preparation to receive His word. Take time to meditate on it after I finish reading. Be still and wait for Him to give me wisdom or revelation concerning what I have read. If only I would remember to do this!

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