How to Study the Bible 07
1. Lesson 7 is the first of 2 based on "How to Study the New Testament."
2. The first 5 books of the New Testament are primarily historical; however, they may be subdivided as:
a. the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John)
3. Before we briefly examine these books, let us consider several matters pertaining to . . .
I. THE INTER-TESTAMENTAL PERIOD
A. Approximately 400 years passed between the conclusion of the Old Testament and the beginning
of the New Testament.
B. To fully understand the New Testament, we must be familiar with several religious and political
developments during this period.
a. a number of sects arose among the Jews, including:
1) the Pharisees (Acts 23:8)
2) the Sadducees (Acts 23:8)
3) the Essenes
4) the Zealots (Luke 6:15)
5) the Herodians (Matthew 22:15-16)
b. the synagogue developed.
2. Politically, the Romans controlled Palestine, although they gave the Jews many freedoms in
C. The geographical boundaries of Palestine changed with the passing of time.
II. THE GOSPELS
A. The Gospels present the biography of Christ.
B. Their primary purpose is stated in John 20:30-31.
C. The Gospels were recorded by 4 writers and for different audiences.
a. Matthew was a tax collector and an apostle (Matthew 9:9; 10:2-4).
b. He wrote primarily for Jewish people, emphasizing the fulfillment of Old Testament
prophecies by Jesus (Matthew 1:22-23; 4:12-16).
a. Mark was a cousin of Barnabas and accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their missionary
journey (Acts 12:25; 13:4-5).
b. He seems to have been very close to Peter (1 Peter 5:13).
c. He wrote primarily for the Romans, emphasizing Jesus' great power (Mark 1:34).
a. Luke was a Gentile physician who traveled with Paul (Colossians 4:14).
b. He wrote primarily for the Greeks, emphasizing the complete development of Jesus
4. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are sometimes called "the Synoptic Gospels" because they are so similar
[a "Harmony of the Gospels" is very helpful when studying these books].
a. John was a fisherman and an apostle (Matthew 4:21-22; 10:2-4).
b. John wrote after the other Gospel writers, including a great amount of additional information
to counteract false doctrines about Jesus' divinity.
A. Acts records the establishment of the church, its growth, and its early history.
B. It contains many examples of "conversions" and stresses the missionary work of Paul.