1 & 2 Thessalonians · Book Overviews

1 & 2 Thessalonians Overview

Happy Thanksgiving 🦃

Paul's Second Missionary Journey - New Testament Maps (Bible History Online)

We are reading 2 books tomorrow!  We read briefly about Paul visiting Thessalonica on his second mission trip. (look at the map; when he stayed at Jason’s house).  He left after 3 short weeks and intended on going back but did not.  Paul feels terrible that he left so quickly and did not return.

Quick History: The city was founded in 316 BC.  The king of Macedonia named it after his wife, Thessaloniki, the half-sister to Alexander the Great.  The city became a hub for government and commerce.  After the captivity, many of the Jews dispersed and relocated in the Macedonia area. The city was the 2nd largest, the first being Athens.  About 200,000 lived there.

This is a time of great persecution to the believers. The Roman Emporer Cladius in power but soon his son Nero will be 😢.  Paul was very aware of the growing practice of persecution since he was ONE OF THEM once!  He now stood on the other side of the Cross.

This letter was to encourage the believers of Thessalonica AND to assure them of Christ’s return (eschatology).  Actually, Christ’s return will be mentioned over 20 times in these books.  Paul gives us a way of living that will prepare us for the Second coming of Christ.  As persecution grows,  they need to hold on to Hope that a final judgment will occur for those persecuting them.

12. 1 and 2 Thessalonians | Jehovah Sabaoth

 

Book Overviews · Galatians

Galatians Overview for tomorrow

I hope some of these towns are familiar to you from last week as Paul went through them in the First Mission Trip.  When he left the Judaizers came through adding to his message.  Is this a big deal?

In the temple, a veil separated the Holy of Holies—the earthly dwelling place of God’s presence—from the rest of the temple where men dwelt. This signified that man was separated from God by sin. Only the high priest was permitted to pass beyond this veil once each year to enter into God’s presence for all of Israel and make atonement for their sins.

In the Gospel, when Jesus gave up His Spirit, the first thing the Lord did for us was tearing the veil that separated people from the Lord.  The tearing of the veil at the moment of Jesus’ death symbolized that His sacrifice, the shedding of His own blood, was a sufficient atonement for sins.

If we add works, we are saying His sacrifice was NOT enough.  So the answer is YES, it is a big deal.  Adding works TO BE a Christian is like sewing up the veil.


The churches in Galatia were both Jewish and Gentile converts. Paul’s purpose in writing to these churches was to confirm them in their faith alone, apart from the works of the Law of Moses.

Galatians Epistle was written because the churches of that region were facing a theological crisis. A message that by faith rather than by human works was being denied by the Judaizers. Specifically,  the Judaizers insisted on circumcision as a requirement for Gentiles who wished to be saved. In other words, convert to Judaism first, and then you are eligible to become a Christian. When Paul learned that this was being taught to the Galatian churches, he wrote a letter (epistle) to them.

Wait till you hear the tone Paul takes in this letter.  This is a serious topic- and his tone will be too!

 

Book Overviews · James

James Overview for tomorrow

First, let’s figure out which James this is.  Since we started the New Testament we have actually read about 4 of them.

  • James the father of Judas (Luke 6:16)
  • James the son of Alphaeus (Mt 10:3)
  • James, the son of Zebedee (Acts 12) the one that just died, Jesus  Apostle
  • James, the brother of Jesus (half-brother)

The author of this book is not the apostle James but the brother of Jesus.  James was not a believer until the Resurrection.  He was assumed married and a very devout Jew and coined the nickname “Camel Knees” since the man had calloused bruised knees like a camel from praying for such long periods of time.Was the Epistle to the Hebrews written by Paul? - Divisions Structure Bible Menorah

The book of James is called a “General Letter”.  The General Letters are not directed at a particular location like some other books we will read.  James was written generally to Jewish Christians or some call them Christian Jews.     A Jewish person has been brought up with the Laws of Moses but now worships the Lord.  It is about Spiritual Maturity.

If you like the Proverbs you will Love James!  It is practical advice regarding being rich and poor, pride, humility, wisdom, patience, prayer, controlling the tongue (ouch), and most importantly, faith and actions.

 

Acts · Book Overviews

Acts Overview

Acts Series — Sermons — Parkview Christian Church

The New Testament is divided just like the Old Testament was.  The NT consists of:

  • The Gospels
  • Acts
  • Letters
  • Prophecy

Why is it called Acts?  Well, some have said it is the Acts of the Apostles, others have said it is the Acts of Peter and Paul, well both are wrong.  It is the Acts of the Holy Spirit.  The Apostles have had 3 years of one-on-one Discipleship with Jesus himself, and He still says to them “Stay right where you are until you get the Holy Spirit”.  Without Him, in us, we truly are without purpose.

Acts is the book of Purpose with the Holy Spirit.  Forwarding the Gospel to the ends of the earth is not a “calling” it is the purpose of the Church.  Stop thinking of the Church as the building which we sit in, or that the Church is for believers.  The Church is the Body of Believers for the Non-Believers.   So stop pointing the finger and start looking in the mirror.

The book of Acts was most likely an extension of the book of Luke.  Acts is written by Luke giving him the most written Word in the NT (not Paul).  This book is the LINK between  The Gospel and the Letters.  In other words, Christ’s life and the Church.

Acts will be divided into two distinct categories.

  • The first 12 chapters will be Peter (yes the man who denied Jesus  3 times) witnessing to the Jewish nation.  Why?  They need to CHANGE their way of thinking of the Messiah.  THEREFORE, you will hear Peter say REPENT (change direction) directly to the Jews.
  • Chapters 13-28 will be Paul preaching to the Gentiles with a word of “Believe”.  Why not Repent?  We didn’t need a change in direction, we need THE direction.  We needed to BELIEVE to begin with.  We were not taught the Scriptures till now.

This book has the most archeological proof and confirmed findings.  However, I will not blog about any of that.  I hold to Hebrew 11:1

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  Heb 11:1

Book Overviews

Behind in the New Testament?

So maybe you recommitted and it happened again.  Somehow you got behind.  Here is what you are going to do…Pick one of the Gospels and just read that one and you can jump right in.  It’s about to get really exciting!

Here is what you would read (one of these) I don’t think you need the post to go with it.  Just the Bible part.

Then read John separate (totally different Gospel)

John 1-6  (about 30 minutes) (John posts if needed)


Here is a schedule if you need to print one.  YOU GOT THIS!!

 

Book Overviews · Mark

Mark Overview

Mark is written for the Romans.  Jesus is portrayed in this book as the “Servant”.    This is a book of “Action”.  Here are some fun facts:

  • Mark is “John Mark”.  He most likely wrote down what Peter told him.
  • Mark was the one that fled when Jesus was arrested. (I think without his robe)
  • The early Church in the book of Acts met in his Mother’s home (Acts 12)-super funny story too
  • Nearly half of this book will be devoted to the Last Week of Jesus Life.
  • He writes “now” or “and” 1,331 times  (This is the book for me!!   FAST!!)

A great verse in Mark

45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

The Romans, like many of us today, need religion to be practical and applicable. This is a book revolved around deed, not words.  With that said, Mark writes like he just drank a pot of coffee (you young ones don’t even know what that means….about 6-8 cups).  Look for his quick transition words:  ...then, immediately, and, now straight away… (he doesn’t take a breath).

The book of Mark is a book of omission (with good reason), you will NOT read about:

  • royal genealogy, no Magi visiting,
  • no boy at the temple,
  • actually no mention of Jesus as a boy at all
  • no Sermon on the Mount,
  • no quotes from Prophets, (they are there just not quoted)
  • no divine titles are given to Him,

SOOOO if it omits all that what will it include? Good question. It will completely portray Jesus as our example as a humble and perfect Servant.

Click here to print the schedule

Book Overviews · Matthew

Matthew Overview for tomorrow

The Gospel of Matthew

Gospel/Godspell/Good News.  There are 4 Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  The first three Gospels are called “synoptic” because they “see together with a common view” (the word synoptic literally means “together sight”).  It is like shooting the same movie from 3 different angles.

Matthew is written for the Jews.  Matthew’s emphasis is Jesus was the Messiah as foretold in the Old Testaments from the Prophets.  Matthew quotes from the Old Testament more than any other New Testament author.

The keyword in Matthew is “fulfilled” through the prophet…

You may have heard the book of Matthew referred to as the “Gospel of the Kingdom”, the term kingdom of heaven is used 43 times in this book.

Matthew’s name means Gift of the Lord.  Matthew was a man originally names Levi.  If you read the Old Testament you would be able to guess just from his name that he was born into a priesthood family (the Levites).  However, he chose to be a Tax Collector.  The tax collectors were extremely corrupt: they would pre-pay the taxes for people and then charge the people heavy interest and pocket it.   We can also guess that he made a lucrative living.  This was against the Law of Moses stated in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, so the tax collectors had bad reputations with the Jewish Leaders. But he gave it all up when Jesus called him to follow him.  (Ch. 9)

The book of Matthew has 3 Great Discourses

  • Sermon on the Mount
  • Kingdom Parables
  • Olivet Discourse

The book focuses on Jesus is the King of the Jews.  He writes about Jesus being the son of Abraham  (fulfilling the Covenant that He would bless all nations) and the son of David ( fulfilling the Covenant that He would establish a Kingdom that would last forever).

If you have read through the Old Testament, this might be your favorite Gospel since we will be looking at the prophecies of the Old Testament being fulfilled on every page.

Click here if you want to print a new reading schedule.

 

Book Overviews · John

John Overview

Who wrote the book of John? If you said John the Baptist you are in good company but you would be wrong. (Most people think that).  It is John the apostle (brother of James).  John is a disciple of John the Baptist.  He is also used by God to write 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation.

John is the book for ALL.  It is written to prove that Jesus was the promised Messiah to the Jews and the Son of God to the Gentiles.  The Keyword in John is believe (used 98 times). 

The theme of John’s book is Jesus Deity or Holiness. In this book, there is no genealogy because Jesus was In the Beginning with God at the Creation.

This book is not like the other 3 Gospels.  The other 3 are called Synoptic, for their similarities.  Jesus talks to the people in Judea,  The other 3 portray Jesus in action miracles, parables, and speeches to the multitudes.  John captures Jesus in mediation and communion.

As many of you may have picked up in the OT, 7 is a very important number.  A number of completeness.  In the book of John, there will be

  • Miracles,
  • 7 “I Am”
  • 7 Witnesses called to prove that He is God.

 

Book Overviews · Luke

Luke Overview

The book of Luke was written by a gentile for the gentiles.  Luke was a Dr. writing for Theophilus.  Theophilus may have been Luke’s friend, his lawyer, his financer,  but I think of it this way…Theophilus means “one who loves God” in Greek.  So when it is said Luke is writing it to Theophilus,  I think the book is written to me, (and you) “one who loves God”. He specifically was writing to the Greeks.  (This totally makes sense now that we read about the Intertestement Time “the Silent Years”.  Greeks believed in the “Perfect Man”- that is what Philopsphers preached about.  So Luke will refer to Jesus as “the Son of Man”.  He is the Perfect Man.

The emphasis of this book is: What Jesus Felt.  This book writes about Jesus’ compassion and miracles.  In fact, there are more miracles in this book than Matthew and Mark put together.

  • This book will tell 20 miracles, 7 of them can only be found in Luke
  • This book will tell 23 parables, 18 of them can only be found in Luke
  • This book is the only one that has songs like the Magnificat and the song of Elizabeth
  • This book is the only one that shares the post-resurrection account on the Road to Emmaus.

The book of Luke is the most complete narration and is relatively the most chronological.

Book Overviews · Malachi

Malachi Overview

What's Up With The Blank Page Between the Old and New Testament - San Fernando Valley (SFV) Church | Parks Chapel AME

Well, here we are.  The last Overview of the Old Testament.

We read approximately 2000 years of God’s history in just 9 months.  Amazing.  So on your mental timeline, we are at around 400 BC. (Christ will be born in year 4 B.C.)

This is the last book of the Old Testament and it falls under the category of prophecy in your Bible.   The remnant returned to Jerusalem in about 100 years ago in 3 different journeys.  We had a time of revival under Ezra and Nehemiah but we read the end of History, they went back into the cycle of apostasy (falling away from the Lord).  The priests are lax and degenerate.  The temple is neglected, sacrifices are not a priority.

The Jews are waiting for a King to show up from the Line of David to restore the glory of Jerusalem.  Malachi assures them that the Messiah will come, but it will mean judgment for them rather than glory!  This is the book that will bridge the Old Testament and the New Testament.

“Malachi” means “my messenger.” The prophet’s name was appropriate since God had commanded him to bear this “word” to the people of Israel. The prophet was not the source of the revelation that follows; he was only a messenger whose job it was to communicate a message from The Lord.

Malachi used the question and answer method extensively. This method became increasingly popular, and in the time of Christ the rabbis and scribes used it frequently, as did the Lord Jesus.

Essentially, the Israelites disputed God’s love, His name, and His will concerning: marriage and divorce, His justice, His demands regarding stewardship, and His service.

We will read 4 short chapters about:

  • First, the love for Israel 1:2-5
  • But then:
    • he priests’ illicit practices and indifferent attitudes
    • The people’s mixed marriages and divorces
    • The problem of God’s justice
    • The people’s sin of robbing
    • The arrogant and the humble 3:13—4:3

In each case, they responded by challenging his criticism. They said, “How have we done that?” Their response indicated the hardness of their heart, a resistance to deal with the internal conditions in their hearts that needed correcting. They believed that since they were serving God,  He must be pleased with them. Malachi said that their hearts were not right with God, and He was not pleased with them.

We will end this book with some of the most specific prophecies about the coming Messiah we have read yet!

I still can’t believe we are ending the OT!!!  That was awesome.  (But hard!)

And then Silence for 400 years!!