Lesson 276: "New Testament History Part Two"
Timothy was a young friend of Paul who became a Christian on Paul’s first missionary journey. He went with Paul on his second missionary journey and from then on he helped Paul in his work. At the time Paul wrote 1st Timothy, Timothy was working as the teacher and leader of the church at Ephesus. He was young to have the important job of leading a church and Paul wrote to give him help and advice for his work. This letter teaches how people in the church should act and what kind of leaders a church should have. When Paul wrote 2nd Timothy to the young man he was a prisoner in Rome again. He knew that there was no chance of getting out and that he would be killed soon. He wanted to encourage Timothy because Timothy would have to continue Paul’s missionary work after Paul’s death. Paul gave Timothy more instructions on how to lead a church. He told him to resist false teachings and to be faithful to true Christian teachings. Titus was another friend and helper of Paul and traveled with Paul on some of his missionary journeys. Now he was working as the leader of the church on Crete. This letter is much like the two letters to Timothy. Paul wanted to teach Titus how to be a good leader of the church. He told him how God’s people should behave and what his own responsibilities were. Philemon was a leader of the church at Colosse and a friend of Paul. Philemon’s slave, Onesimus, had stolen money from Philemon and had run away to Rome. While he was there he met Paul and became a Christian. Paul sent Onesimus back to Philemon with this letter. He begged Philemon to forgive Onesimus and to treat him as a brother in Christ instead of a runaway slave.
Hebrews was written when Christians were being hurt and killed because they believed in Jesus. Some of the Jewish Christians were thinking about giving up their Christianity and going back to the Jewish faith. The book of Hebrews was written to teach Jewish Christians that the Christian faith is better in every way than the Jewish faith. It shows how Jesus completed the Jewish faith by making the final sacrifice for sin. After His death, none of the Old Testament sacrifices were needed. Chapter 11 is the famous chapter on men of faith in Old Testament times; gives Christians examples to follow of faith and trust in God. James is one of the seven books of the New Testament from James through Jude called the General Letters. This first one was written by James, the brother of Jesus. He was one of the leaders of the church in Jerusalem and wrote this letter to teach Christians the practice of Christianity. He insisted that if we have real faith we will show it by acting like Christians. He gave practical advice on things like anger and quarreling, showing favoritism, taming the tongue, boasting, patience and prayer. 1 Peter was written by Peter, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, to the Christians who lived in the northern provinces of Asia Minor. These Christians were being persecuted for their faith so Peter wrote to encourage them. Peter told these Christians to remember how much Jesus had suffered for them and to follow His example by being brave and trusting God. He said that because God chose them to be His people and because Jesus suffered and died for them they should live in the way God wanted them to.
2 Peter was written to the same group of Christians who were now in danger of being led astray by false teachers. Peter reminded them that the best way to resist false teachers was to grow in the knowledge and practice of the Christian faith. He warned them that God would destroy the false teachers. Peter also reminded these Christians to live holy and godly lives because Jesus would certainly keep His promise to come again. 1 John was written by the beloved disciple who wrote the fourth Gospel and also wrote these next three letters. The first letter was written to warn Christians about dangerous false teachers who were trying to mislead them. They were teaching that the man Jesus was not the Christ, the Son of God. They said that god did not become a man. John wrote about how important it is to know and believe that Jesus Christ is both God and man. He said Christians can know they are God’s children if they love one another and if they obey God’s commands. 2 John was written to the chosen lady and her children. He might have meant either a Christian woman and her family or a church and its members. In this letter John wrote how important it is for Christians to love one another and said that to love means to obey God’s commandments. God’s commandments tell us to live lives of love. 3 John was written to Gaius, a friend of John and a leader in the church. There was a man named Diotrephes in Gaius’ church who was refusing to welcome messengers sent by John. He would not recognize John’s leadership so John wrote this letter to praise and thank Gaius for his help and to scold Diotrephes for not cooperating. John promised to come to this church soon to deal with this matter personally.
Jude, like James, was a brother of Jesus. He wrote to warn Christians about the same false teachers Peter wrote about in his second letter. These false teachers were not only teaching that Jesus was not the Son of God; they were also leading the people to live sinfully. Jude warned that god would punish and destroy these false teachers just as He had punished sinners in the Old Testament. Revelation is the only book of its kind in the New Testament. It is a book about the end of this present world and the beginning of a new heaven and a new earth. The book of Revelation was written by the apostle John during his exile on the island of Patmos. While John was there, Jesus gave him a vision of what would happen in the future. John wrote this book so Christians who were being persecuted would trust that God controls whatever happens here on earth. John’s vision shows that Jesus is the ruler over everyone and everything; even powerful human governments; and He will judge and punish whatever is evil. It also gives Christians a picture of heaven, where we will be with Jesus.
The end of the Bible History studies:
Information from the Holy Bible King James Version; used by permission: