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Bible Books Summary

Session 11: Section 2

Overview of the books of the Bible (Part 5)

We want to conclude the overview by looking at New Testament times.

The New Testament revolves around the Lord Jesus Christ. The four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) tell his life story and message. There is a summary of all four Gospels in the "Summary of the Books of the Bible". The map shows the land of Israel in New Testament times along with the more common places mentioned in the four Gospels.

Roman soldier - click to enlarge
A Roman Legionary.

Rome was the superpower at the time the New Testament was written.

The Roman Empire had swallowed up the Greek Empire which went before it. So the world of the New Testament would have been a very mixed culture. There would have been many different ideas and influences that could affect people in their way of life and thought.`

The great Temple of Apollo at Corinth.

The fact that meat which had been offered to idols was on sale in the markets was a real problem of conscience for the early believers at Corinth.

As a result of this there was a lot said in the New Testament to try and prevent the early believers being led astray by the influences around them. It was made clear that these influences would directly affect the early believers:

Open Bible

Read Acts 20 v 28 to 31
and 1 John 4 v 1

The letters (Romans through to 3 John) were sent to the early churches to help them try and resist some of these influences.

The Acts of the Apostles covers the development of the early church after Jesus had ascended to heaven. It records the spread of the preaching from Jerusalem, which was mainly to Jews, through to preaching throughout the known world to both Jews and non-Jews.

Acts 1

The Ascension of Christ.

Acts 2 to 5

The preaching of Peter, mainly in Jerusalem, and the resulting opposition from the Jewish authorities.

Acts 6 & 7

The preaching of Stephen and the opposition that brought his death.

Acts 8

The preaching of Philip.

Acts 9

The conversion of Saul (later called Paul). Paul was to become the main force in spreading the gospel round the world.

Acts 10 & 11

The first non-Jewish convert - Cornelius.

Acts 12


Acts 13 to 28

The growth and problems of the early church and the journeys of Paul, who eventually reached Rome.

A model of a Roman corn ship. Paul could have travelled to Rome on a ship like this.

The map shows the Roman Empire in New Testament times along with the more common places mentioned in the New Testament. Click on the map to enlarge it.

It is interesting to see what was happening in the Acts of the Apostles. Paul moved out from Jerusalem and Israel and finally ended up in prison in Rome. You may think that this was not a very good position for a preacher to be in. Yet if you think a little, it was the best possible place for him to be.

Paul was in prison in the capital city of the then known world. He was in fact only under "house arrest" for his own safety, as no charges had been laid against him. So he was free to receive anyone interested in hearing his message. This then, in effect, helped to spread the gospel all round the known world. Those travelling to and from Rome would hear the news of the gospel and take it back home.

Another critical force in spreading the gospel was persecution. This had the effect of scattering the believers throughout the Roman Empire. They would take the message with them, and their beliefs would take root in the areas where they settled.

You can look at the summary of the contents of the New Testament in the "Summary of the Books of the Bible".

Optional Assignment 16

Overview of the books of the Bible

Continue from assignments 6, 8 and 11, making your own summary of the Bible story. Using the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts, you can now complete the story with the New Testament.

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