New Testament Survey

 Leadership Empowerment School of Ministry


Empowering Those who Empower Others with a Knowledge of God and His Ways


Part 1: The Life Of Christ

Note:: Throughout this course, there will be assignments and discussions regarding 'Passages for Study." Please remember that each of these passages are to be studied according to the three steps of studying the Bible we learned in the course Understanding the Bible:

1. Observe

2. Interpret (main points)

3. Application

Please do not skip over these sections, as they are very important. If time is short, spend less time on the teaching sections.


1. Background

A. Author: Matthew

1. Name means "gift of the Lord"

2. One of the original twelve disciples of Jesus.

3. A Jewish tax collector before becoming a disciple (Mat 9:9-13).

This would require that he would be skilled in writing and keeping records. These abilities prepared Matthew to write a gospel about the life of Christ.

B. Date: 60-75 AD

C. Purpose: to present Jesus as Messiah to a Jewish audience

His main purpose in writing was to convince the Jews of the fact that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament predictions about the Messiah. Because of the Jewish audience, Matthew is careful to use the language that would appeal to Jews. He uses words such as "Son of David" (nine times), "Kingdom of Heaven" (thirty-three times) and "Father in Heaven" (fifteen times). Matthew points out 65 times that Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled. However, he also reaches out to Gentiles through such accounts as the coming of the Magi and the Great Commission.

2. Content

A Matthew contains five important discourses (sections of teaching). The Five discourses are:

1 The Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7)

* practical teaching on living as a follower of Jesus

2. Commissioning of the Twelve (chapter 10)

3. Parables (13)

* the Kingdom of Heaven

4. The Church (18)

5. Scribes and Pharisees and Olivet discourse (chapters 23-25)

a. attack on legalism and external religion

b. teaching on the end times

B. Outline

1. Coming of the Messiah (1:1-4:25)

2. Sermon on the Mount (5:1-7:29)

3. Miracles in Galilee (8:1-9:34)

4. The mission of the Twelve (9:35-11:1)

5. Growing hostility (11:2-12:50)

6. Teaching on the Kingdom of Heaven (13:1-52)

7. In the shadow of the cross (13:53-17:23)

8. Teaching on the Church (17:24-18:35)

9. The way to Jerusalem (19:1-23:39)

10. Teaching on the end times (24:1-25:46)

11. Passion, death, and resurrection (26:1-28:20)


1. Background

A. Author: John Mark

1. Not an apostle, but mentioned in the New Testament

2. Was a relative of Barnabas and accompanied Barnabas and Paul on the first missionary journey. However, Mark left Barnabas and Paul early in the journey.

3. He continued in ministry throughout his years working with Peter in Rome and once again being useful to Paul (2 Ti 4:11).

4.. Early church historians believed that Mark wrote down Peter's memories of Jesus from their conversations and Peter's preaching.

B. Date: 58 - 65

C. Purpose: Presenting Jesus Christ to the Romans. The Gospel of Mark is concise, clear and direct. The primary purpose of this Gospel seems to be evangelistic.

2. Content

A. Mark writes the shortest and simplest Gospel. The Gospel is one of action.

B. Mark gives a brief and focused look into the life of Christ. It shows Jesus always moving towards His goal.

C. Outline

1. The Servant: Who He is and how He came (1:1-13)

2.. Ministry in and around Galilee (1:14-9:50)

3 To Jerusalem: Presented as King and rejected (10:1-13:37)

4. Giving His life a ransom for many (14:1-15:47)

5. Resurrection: His commission to His servants and working with them (16)

Discussion Groups: Passages for study

Break into small groups, and assign each group one of the following passages to study and discuss together:

1. Matthew 5:1-12 -- The 'Beatitudes'

2. Matthew 13:44-50 -- Kingdom parables

3. Matthew 24:1-14 -- Signs of the end

4. Mark 9:14-29 – deliverance of the mute boy

5. Mark 14:1-9 – anointing at Bethany


1. Background

A. Author: Luke

1. A Gentile -- probably a native of Antioch, Syria.

2. He was a was a well educated Greek -- a doctor (Col 4:14)

3. A companion of Paul on some of his missions

4. Also wrote Acts

B. Date: 60-64

C. Purpose: To present Gospel to Greeks and show Jesus as divine man on a mission

* Key verse -- Lk 19:10:

"For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost."

D. How Gospels were written (Lk 1:1-4)

There were other sources that spoke of the life of Christ. These works were gathered from the teachings of those who were eyewitnesses and servants of the Word. Luke tells us that this is his account which he has carefully investigated for himself.

2. Content

A. Especially presents Jesus' ministry to the poor and outcast

1. Announcement of His mission (Lk 4:18-19)

2. "Sermon on the plain" (Lk 6:20-26)

3. The Publican and the Pharisee (Lk. 19)

B. Emphasizes the role of women -- thirteen women are mentioned in Luke that do not appear in the other Gospels.

C. Emphasizes the role of the Holy Spirit

1. Jesus' baptism (3:21-22)

2. Temptation (4:1)

3. Defining his mission (14:14-21)

4. Driving out demons by the 'finger of God' (11:20)

5. Promise of power for the disciples (24:49)

D. Emphasizes the prayer life and teaching of Jesus

1. At His baptism (3:21)

2. After ministry (4:42-43)

3. Often (5:15-16)

4. Before choosing the Twelve (6:12-16)

5. The transfiguration (9:28)

6. Parable of the friend at midnight (11:5-13)

7. Persistent widow (18:1-8)

8. Before the cross (22:39-46)

E. Outline

1. The Birth and Childhood (1-2)

2. The Beginnings of His ministry (3-4:13)

3. The Ministry in Galilee (4:14-9:50)

4. The journey to Jerusalem (9:51-19:27)

5. In Jerusalem (19:28-21:38)

6. His rejection, suffering and death (22-23)

7. His resurrection and ascension (24)

Passage for Study: Luke 9:23-27

Teacher: present this to the class. Study on your own ahead of time. Explain it to the students, give the main point, and apply the truth to your life. The main point of this passage is:

In order to follow Jesus, I must lay down every area of my life for Him and deny myself every day.


1. Background

A. Author: John the son of Zebedee

1. A fisherman

2. One of original twelve disciples

3. Refers to himself as "the disciple that Jesus loved" or "the beloved disciple." He was part of the inner circle of Jesus' friends: Peter, James, and John.

4. Also wrote 1, 2, and 3 John and Revelation

5. John had a special relationship with Jesus. He was an active eyewitness to the events of the life of Christ. Jesus loved and trusted John so much that He entrusted his mother to him at His death on the cross.

6. According to tradition he was the only one of the twelve not martyred

B. Date: around 90

C. Purpose: John is the universal gospel. It was written so that all men may come to know Christ.

* Key verse: Jn 20:30-31:

"Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

1. Signs - the revelation of God

2. Believe – signs are given so that people will believe

3. Life - the result that belief brings

2. Content

A. The Gospel of John uses similar language as 1-3 John. Some key words in all of them are:

1. Light (1:4-9; 3:18-21)

2. Love (14:15-21; 15:9-17)

3. Truth (1:17; 16:12-13; 18:37-38)

B. The Gospel of John presents Jesus as God (1:1, 5:18) and also Jesus as man (1:14). This is an important part to salvation and Christianity and gives the reader a total picture of Jesus.

C. There is a strong emphasis (chapters 12 - 21) on Christ's final week (known as His Passion).

D. Special characters that John emphasize include:

1. Nicodemus (3:1; 7:50; 19:39)

2. Philip (1:43; 6:5; 12:21; 14:8)

3. Thomas (11:16, 14:5, 20:24, 21:2)

4. Mary & Martha (11:1, 12:1)

5. Mary the mother of Jesus (19:25, 20:1)

E. There are no parables in John. The emphasis of the Gospel is the miraculous works of Jesus.

F. The seven "signs" in John

1. Water to wine (2:1-12)

2. Healing the official's son (4:43-54)

3. Healing at the pool (on the Sabbath) (5:1-18)

4. Feeding the 5,000 (6:1-13)

5. Walking on water (6:16-21)

6. Healing the blind man (9:1-41)

7. Raising Lazarus (11:1-44)

G. Seven "I AMs" of Christ

1. the bread of life (6:35)

2. before Abraham was (8:58)

3. the light of the world (9:5)

4. the door of the sheep (10:7)

5. resurrection and life (11:25)

6. the way, the truth, and the life (14:6)

7. the vine (15:1)

H. Outline

1. The Word made flesh and manifested (1:1-2:11)

2. Public ministry in Jerusalem (2:13-3:36)

3. Samaria (4:1-42)

4. Galilee -- healing of official's son (4:43-54)

5. Jerusalem ministry again -- the healing at the pool (5)

6. Galilee -- feeding the 5,000 and the 'bread of life' (6)

7. Feasts in Jerusalem (7:1-10:42)

8. The Resurrection and Life (11)

9. Final days of public ministry (12)

10. Last words to the Twelve (13:1-17:26)

11. Trial, death, and resurrection (18:1-21:25)

AssignmentPassages for study

Choose one of the following passages to study. Follow the three steps, and write down the main point and an application to your life:

1. Luke 19:1-10 -- Zaccheus

2. John 14:1-14 -- Jesus comforts the disciples

3. John 15:1-17 -- the vine and the branches

Main Point


Part 2: The Church and Apostolic Age


1. Background

A. Author: Luke

B. Date: 61-64

C. Purpose

1. To present a history. While the Gospels provide an accurate historical picture of the life of Christ, Acts provides an accurate historical picture of the Body of Christ, the church. Acts tells of the beginnings of Christianity, including the church and its beginnings and the spread of the Gospel.

2. To give a defense. Acts demonstrates the validity of following Christ.

3. To provide a guide. Acts gives a picture of the early church, which can help us as a pattern for Church and life.

4. To present the victory of Christianity over and in the face of strong persecution.

5. Key verse: Acts 1:8

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

The book of Acts gives details of how the early Church began the work of fulfilling this last command of Jesus. It shows how they began preaching in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas of Judea. Then, because of persecution they spread into Samaria, and eventually to more distant parts as they took the Gospel to the Gentiles.

2. Content

Estimated Dates of Events in Acts



Pentecost (Acts 2:1)

AD 30

The stoning of Stephen (7:1)

33 / 34

Paul's conversion (9:1)

34 / 35

Paul's first missionary journey (13-14)


The apostolic council at Jerusalem (15)

48 / 49

Paul's second missionary journey (15:36 – 18:23)


Paul's third missionary journey (18:23 – 21:17)


Paul's arrest in Jerusalem (21:27-33)


Paul in prison in Caesarea (24-27)


Paul is taken to Rome for trial (27-28)


Paul remains for two years under house arrest (28:30)


Here the book of Acts ends. The following events and dates are based on traditions of the second and third centuries. We cannot be sure if they are accurate:

Paul's release from first Roman imprisonment AD 63

Paul's "fourth missionary journey" AD 64/67

Paul's second Roman imprisonment and death AD 67/68

A. Outline -- Acts 1:8

1. Witness To Jerusalem (1-7)

a. The coming of the Spirit

The coming of the Holy Spirit on the first disciples is the basis of all that happens in the rest of the book. It is by the power of the Spirit of God that all the great victories were won.

b. The forming of the Church

c. Preaching to Israel and Israel's rejection

Many Jews did accept the Gospel, but most of the leaders and many others decided to reject Jesus, and they persecuted the first believers.

2. Witness to Samaria and the Gentiles (8-12)

a. Philip's preaching (8)

b. Saul's conversion (9)

c. Peter's witness in Caesarea (10-11)

d. Antioch church (11)

3. Witness to the Gentiles all the way to Rome (13-28)

a Paul: The apostle to the Gentiles

b. Jerusalem conference to answer the Gentile question (15)

c. Paul's imprisonment (21-28)

B. Peter dominates the first 3 sections of Acts with Stephen and Philip, while Paul dominates the last 3 sections of Acts with Barnabas and James (the brother of Jesus).

C. Acts ends with Paul in prison in Rome. Paul had reached Rome and the Gospel had been preached in many places. Why did the book end with Paul in Rome? Why was not more written? Perhaps:

1. Luke's job was done when Paul reached his goal of taking the gospel to Rome.

2. That was all Luke knew at the time of writing (he wrote while Paul was still in prison)

3. Luke had planned on writing a third volume to Theophilus.

AssignmentPassages for study

Choose one of the following passages to study. Follow the three steps, and write down the main point and an application to your life:

1. Acts 4:1-31 – the apostles' boldness

2. Acts 9:10-19 – the calling of Paul

Main Point


Letter Writing in the 1st Century

22 of the 27 books of the New Testament are letters (epistles).


· Greeting - grace and peace; sender and recipient

· Main Body - spiritual teaching and practical teaching

· Farewell - sometimes a signature

The four people involved in the NT letters were:

1. Author

2. Secretary (Rom. 16:22; 1 Pet. 5:12)

3. Messenger - (Eph. 6:21-22)

4. Recipient


1. Background

A. Author: Paul

B. Date: 56-57 from Corinth -- near the end of his third missionary journey

C. History:

Rome was the capital city of the large Roman Empire. No one is sure how the church there was started. Acts 28:14-15 speaks of Christians in Rome.

D. Purpose

1. Paul wrote to prepare the people for his coming.

a. to give a clear statement of his doctrine

b. to request them to send him on his mission to Spain

2. Paul wanted to share the rich theology of salvation

3. Paul sets forth the relationship of Jews and Greeks and how it all fit God's plan.

E. General Information

1. This is the most theological of all of Paul's writings. This writing reads more like a theological text rather than a letter.

2. There is a strong emphasis on Christian doctrine.

There are many theological themes Paul addresses: sin, salvation, grace, faith, righteousness, justification, sanctification, redemption, death, and resurrection.

3. Paul uses many Old Testament quotations.

4. Paul shows a deep concern for Israel (see 9:1-3). He shows it's current condition and final outcome (ch 9-11).

F. Subject

1. Law and grace

2. Sovereignty of God

3. Gift of righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ


2. Content

A. Doctrinal: The Salvation of God (1-8)

1. Introduction (1:1-17)

2. The reason salvation is needed: The whole world is guilty and lost (1:18-3:20)

3. God's righteousness & man's justification (3:21- 5:11)

4. Being in Christ (5:12 -- 7:25)

a. sanctification of the believer

b. deliverance from sin and the law

c. children and heirs

B. God's Dealings with Israel (9-11)

1. Israel and God's Sovereignty (9)

a. Paul is not speaking about individual salvation and freedom of the will, but in general terms about history and groups of people.

b. He does not mention anything about Pharaoh's or Esau's eternal damnation.

c. He speaks of the Jews as a group rejecting Christ – not that each individual Jew has rejected Him.

2. Israel's Failure and Unbelief (10)

3. Israel's Future (11)

C. Exhortations and the Conclusion (12-16)

1. Living sacrifices (12-13)

2. The weak and the strong (13-15:13)

It is more important to be loving than to be right!! (14:14-15; 15:1-6)

3. The Conclusion (15:14-16)

First Corinthians

1. Background

A. Author: Paul

B. Date: 55-57 from Ephesus; during third missionary journey

C. History:

1. Corinth was the commercial capital of Achaia. It was a city of great commerce and trade. Corinth included harbors and the trade made this city very prosperous. The population of Corinth was approximately 250,000 free persons and 400,000 slaves. With its great population and wealth Corinth was a cultural center as well. For their sporting games Corinth had built a 20,000 seat auditorium.

2. Corinth was also a very religious city. There were 12 temples throughout the city. The most famous temple of Corinth was the Temple of Aphrodite (goddess of love). This temple included worship through temple prostitutes (there were 1,000 temple prostitutes in all). This is probably why Paul uses 1 Cor. 13 to describe real love to those who had a perverted concept of love.

3. Paul's travels to Corinth are recorded in Acts 18 and 20. It is here where he meets Priscilla and Aquila. 1 Cor. 16:8,19 correspond with Acts 19.

D. The Corinthian Letters

The evidence found from the two Biblical Corinthian letters reveals that there may have been at least four letters written to Corinth by Paul.

1. 1 Cor. 5:9-11 mentions a previous letter to the Corinthians which we do not have.

2. 2 Cor. 2:3-4; 7:8-12 mentions a severe letter or one that caused grief and repentance.

1 Cor. does not seem to fit the description of the severe letter as it seems to have been written in answer to specific questions and is not harsh enough to have caused the    reaction Paul speaks of in 2 Cor.

E. Purpose:

This is a pastoral letter, written in order to solve certain problems in doctrine and Christian living.

2. Content

A. The Church & the world: separation & testimony (1-10)

1. Divisions in the Church (1-4)

2. Disciplining a sinning brother (incest) (5)

3. Lawsuits (6:1-19)

4. Sexual immorality (6:12-20)

5. Marriage (7)

6. Food sacrificed to idols (8)

7. Paul's defends his apostolic authority and ministry (9)

Paul writes about his ministry as an apostle to remind the Corinthians of how he lived among them, and of the authority he has to write instructions to them

8. Warnings from Israel's history and teaching about freedom (10)

B. The Church as the Body of Christ -- Instruction on orderly public worship (11-14)

1. Head covering for women (11:1-16)

2. The Lord's Supper (11:17-34)

3. Spiritual Gifts (12-14)

                  a. a list of nine gifts (12:1-11)

 b. the body of Christ (12:12-31)

 c. Love (13)

 d. Prophecy and tongues (14:1-25)

4. Orderly worship (14:26-40)

C. Resurrection and the Hope of the Church (15-16)

1. Instruction on the Resurrection (15)

2. Collection for the poor (16:1-4)

3. Personal Matters (16)

Second Corinthians

1. Background

A. Author: Paul

B. Date: 57-58 from Macedonia

C. History

This letter was sent after Paul received a good report from Titus about the church in Corinth (2:12-13, 7:5-7). Paul had been concerned about them, but was now assured of their continued devotion to the Lord and to him.

2. Content

A Paul writes more about his personal life in 2 Cor than in any other letter (13:10).

He writes a defense of himself and his ministry, so that the people will see that they should listen to him rather than the false teachers. Paul asks them to consider his actions and life-changing ministry while among them. He also warns them that he will return to see them again. This seems to be a call to continue collecting for the hurting church in Jerusalem and to deal with the false teachers.

B. The letter falls into three sections:

1. Paul explains the reason for changing his plans (chapters 1-7)

* demonstration of true ministry as seen in Paul's life

2. To continue collecting for the Jerusalem church so that Paul can take the money with him when he comes to visit (chapters 8-9)

* discussion about the ministry of giving

3. Paul says that he is coming and that he will use his apostolic authority to take care of any problems that are still there (chapters 10-13)

AssignmentPassages for study

Choose two of the following passages to study. Do not choose two from the same book. Follow the three steps, and write down the main point and an application to your life:

1. Romans 8:1-17 -- no condemnation

2. Romans 12:1-8 – living sacrifices

3. 1 Corinthians 3:1-23 -- divisions in the church

4. 1 Corinthians 14:26-40 -- orderly worship

5. 2 Corinthians 4:1-12 -- treasure in jars of clay

6. 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 -- giving

First Passage:
Main Point


Second Passage:
Main Point



1. Background

A. Author: Paul

B. Date: 48-49

C. History:

The churches in Galatia were located in central southern Asia. Some of the cities located in this region are IconiumLystra and Derbe. Acts tells that Paul visited this region regularly. Acts 13 says Paul visited Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe on his first missionary journey. Acts 16:6 and 18:23 speaks of Paul traveling through Galatia on his second and third missionary Journeys respectively.

In this letter, Paul is determined to get his point across right from the beginning. He was being persecuted by the Judaizers. The Judaizers were Jewish Christians who believed that a number of the ceremonial practices of the Old Testament were still binding on the New Testament Church, such as circumcision. These Judaizers would follow Paul and lead his converts astray by their false teaching.

D. Judaizers: The judaizers accused Paul of three things:

1 He was not a true apostle

2 His Gospel was not the true Gospel

3 His teaching of grace led people to live sinful lives

E. Subject: Freedom in Christ - Galatians 5:13

2. Content

Paul answers the three charges made against him by the judaizers (see point D above).

A. Paul shows that he is a true apostle (1-2)

Paul speaks about how he received the Gospel by revelation, how his ministry was acknowledged by the other apostles (though he did not get his authority from them, but from the Lord), and how he even rebuked Peter when he was wrong.

B. Paul's Gospel – difference between law and grace (3-4)

Galatians is an important book for doctrine because it stresses the concept that man is justified by faith in Jesus Christ and nothing else. Man is not tied to legalistic obligations to provide salvation, but to obediently rely on the work of Jesus Christ on the cross for one's salvation.

C. The walk of the believer – under grace and not law (5-6)

Paul shows that freedom in Christ does not lead to lives of sin, but it actually leads to greater holiness. Legalism does not make people behave right, but only leads them to sin. Freedom on the Holy Spirit, on the other hand, gives people the ability to lead righteous lives.

Passage for Study: Galatians 5:1-6

Teacher: present this to the class. Study on your own ahead of time. Explain it to the students, give the main point, and apply the truth to your life. The main point of this passage is:

We are not justified by good works through the law, but by the Spirit of God..

The Prison Epistles

1. The Epistles Paul Wrote While In Prison In Rome Were:

·      Ephesians

·      Philippians

·      Colossians

·      Philemon


Pastoral epistles

2. History:

Paul had been in prison many times (2 Cor. 11:23). Acts 23-26 gives the account of Paul's two year imprisonment under Felix. Paul was afraid for his life because of the influence of the Jews in the area, so he used his Roman citizenship and appealed to Rome. Paul may have just wanted to go to Rome and evangelize the capital of the world before his death. After his difficult journey to Rome, he finds himself once again in prison under house arrest, even though he was innocent of all charges that were brought against him. Paul was in prison in Rome for two years where he was free to preach the Gospel under house arrest (Acts 28).


1. Background

A. Paul's history in Ephesus

Acts tells us that Paul traveled to Ephesus at least twice. He visited briefly on his second missionary journey (Acts 18:19-21), and then stayed for three years on the third missionary journey (Acts 19). Ephesus is located on the west coast of Turkey. Many scholars say that Ephesus was the most important city in Asia. Because of its coastal location it was center of a major trade route. Ephesus was a very religious city. It was a center for the occult and there was a radical devotion to the goddess Artemis (Diana – the goddess of fertility). When people began to follow the teaching of Paul and forsaking Artemis there was a riot in the city.

The ministry in Ephesus began with disciples of John the Baptist (Acts 19:4). Paul told them of Jesus, the person John the Baptist proclaimed as the Messiah. Paul also introduced them to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Paul had much success in Ephesus, and later sent his close companion Timothy to oversee the growing church.

B. Date: 61-63; written after the letter to the Colossians

C. Reason

Ephesians is a different letter in that it does not deal with any particular error or trouble. Instead, Paul writes about God's eternal plan for the Church. He is interested in the readers understanding their high purpose in the Church of God.

D. Circular letter:

A "circular letter" is one that was passed around to the different churches in a given area. (Col 4:16)

E. Theme: The Church.

The epistle was written to people who were spiritually strong and faithful. Paul wanted them to fully understand their purpose in the Church. As in Paul's other letters, there is a special emphasis on the unity of the Church (1:9-10; 4:3-6).

F. "In Christ" -- Paul uses the phrase "in Christ" many times in Ephesians.

This teaches that all we have from God comes from being in Christ. At the same time, our purpose, for living, the unity of the Church, and many other issues find their answer in Christ. What does the term mean? Consider the following passages: Eph 1:1-142:1-13.

2. Content

A The work of God (1-3)

1 God at work (1)

2 God's salvation (2:1-10)

3 The mystery now made known (2:11-3:21)

B. Practical instructions for living the Christian life (4-6)

1 Walking worthy of the calling (4:1-6)

2 The ministry and its purpose (4:7-16)

3 The walk in holiness and righteousness (4:17-5:21)

4 Personal relationships (5:21-6:9)

5 The Christian and spiritual conflict (6:10-20)

C. Conclusion (6:21-24)


1 Background

A Paul's history in Philippi:

Paul traveled to Philippi during his second missionary journey, after receiving the Macedonian call (Acts 16:9). A woman by the name of Lydia was the first covert in the city. There was a strong bond between Paul and the Philippians, and this church supported him in his ministry to others.

B. The City of Philippi

Philippi was a city built on a major trade route called the Ignatian Way that connected all of Macedonia. Philippi was a military town, and while there was no synagogue, there was what was called a "place of prayer" (Acts 16:13). This is where Paul ministered.

C. Date: 62-63 from Rome

D. Purpose:

1. Commend Epaphroditus to them for his good work (2:25-30)

2. Thank them for their financial support

3. Warn against judaizers (3:1-11) and people who abuse God's grace by leading people into sin (3:15-21)

4. Encourage them in unity (2:1-18; 4:2-3)

E. Theme:

1. One of Paul's themes in Philippians is the Gospel. He uses the Gospel in these ways:

a. The fellowship of the Gospel (1:5)

b. The confirmation of the Gospel (1:7)

c. The progress of the Gospel (1:12)

d. The defense of the Gospel (1:16

e. Worthy of the Gospel (1:27)

f. Striving for the Gospel (1:27)

g. Striving for the faith of the Gospel (1:27)

h. Service in the Gospel (2:22)

i. Labor in the Gospel (4:3)

j. The beginning of the Gospel (4:15)

2. Joy: While Paul's circumstances may have looked low, writing from prison, his remembrance of the Philippians was joyful. Not only did Paul possess fond memories but he also had a firm and true faith that looked beyond the disaster of this world and looked to the glorious future.

2. Content

A. Living for Christ and in Christ (1)


B. Following the example of Christ (2)


C Faith in Christ (3)


D Christ, the believer's strength in all circumstances (4)


1. Background

A. History

While there is nothing written about Colossae in Acts, it is known that it is located in Asia Minor east of Ephesus. During the Persian Empire (500 BC), Colossae was a major city. However, by the first century AD, it had slipped to become a second rate city. Apparently Paul had never been there (2:1). We know that the gospel went out to towns like Colossae while Paul was in Ephesus (Acts 19:10). This church was started by Epaphras (1:6-7).

B. A circular letter (4:16)

C. Date: 61-62 from Rome

D. Purpose

1. To give the believers a better understanding of Christ -- 1:14-22.

2. To fight against a heresy (false teaching)

There is no doubt that Paul is addressing a mysterious heresy in the churches to whom this epistle is written. We are not sure what exactly this false teaching was, but it probably included some of the following:

a. some false teaching about who Christ is

b. philosophy and "vain deceit" (2:8)

c. Jewish roots – maybe there was a group like the judaizers (2:16-23)

d. angel worship (2:18)

E. Subject -- You are complete in Christ - Col. 2:10

2. Outline and Content

A. The person of Christ, His glory and His work (1)

B. Complete in Him, in whom all God's fullness dwells (2)

C. The practical results, living as risen with Christ (3-4)

First Thessalonians

1. Background

A. Paul's history in Thessalonica

Paul traveled to Thessalonica on his second missionary journey after visiting Philippi (Acts 17). Thessalonica was the capital of Macedonia with an estimated population of 200,000. This city had a synagogue where Paul preached for three Sabbath days. Because of persecution, Paul was forced to leave the city after a short time of ministry. Even with this problem, a strong church was formed.

B. Date: 51 or 52 from Corinth (Acts 18). This is one of the earliest of Paul's epistles.

C. Theme

1. Praise for the Christians of Thessalonica standing firm against persecutions.

2. Answer questions that had come up in the Church

There is a pastoral reason for the writing of this letter. Some of the believers had died, and their loved ones were questioning whether they would also get to go to heaven when Jesus came back.

D. Subject -- encouragement & comfort (2nd coming of Jesus)

2. Outline and Content

A Persecution:

In this letter, Paul provides encouragement in the face of persecution. There is a call to holiness in the final hour.

B. The Second Coming of Christ

There is a very long section on the second coming of Christ (4:13-5:11). This seems to be the main doctrinal theme. The second coming of Jesus is sometimes referred to as the parousia.

C. Outline

1. The founding of the Thessalonian Church (1)

2. Paul's ministry in Thessalonica (2)

3. Afflictions and comfort (3)

4. Sanctification and the blessed hope (4)

5. The Day of the Lord and exhortations (5)

Second Thessalonians

1. Background

A. History

2. Thessalonians was written only months after 1 Thessalonians, either from Corinth of from Athens. The letter serves the purpose of clearing up the misunderstandings about "the day of the Lord is just at hand" (2 Thess. 2:2). There is also a possibility that some false teachers were saying that their teaching came from Paul.

B. Subject -- Clarification on the Parousia

2. Content

A. Paul provides three major events that will preface the Lord's return:

1. A sudden increase in people falling away from godliness (2:3)

2. The removal of some restraining influence (2:6-7)

3. The complete unveiling of the incarnation of evil, who will be possessed by Satan and who will oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God (2:3-4, 8-9)

B. Warning against idleness (3:6-15)

Apparently some of the brethren in Thessalonica became so sure that the Lord was going to return soon that they stopped working. Paul rebukes this kind of behavior.

C. Outline

1. The revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven (1)

2. What will come before the return of the Lord (2:1-12)

3. Thanksgiving, prayer, exhortations and conclusion (2:3-3:18)

AssignmentPassages for study

Teacher: assign two passages of the following passages to each student. Be sure to not to give anyone two passages from the same book. Students: Follow the three steps, and write down the main point and an application to your life:

1. Ephesians 3:14-21 -- Paul's prayer

2. Philippians 2:1-11 -- humility of Christ

3. Philippians 3:1-11 -- to know Christ

4. Colossians 3:18-4:1 -- relationships

5. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 -- the coming of the Lord

6. 2 Thessalonians -- 3:6-15 -- do not be idle

First Passage:
Main Point


Second Passage:
Main Point


Pastoral Epistles

1. The Pastoral Epistles are:

A. 1 Timothy

B. 2 Timothy

C. Titus

2. Purpose of pastoral epistles:

Paul knows that his time on earth is running out and he must pass the mantle on to a younger generation of leaders. These letters were written during his last missionary journey or his final imprisonment in Rome. History records that at the end of Paul's second imprisonment he was beheaded for the sake of the Gospel under the persecution of the Roman Emperor Nero. Paul provides fatherly advice for his sons in the ministry.

First Timothy

1. Background

Timothy was a close companion and disciple of Paul. He began traveling with Paul on his second missionary journey (Acts 16:1-3), and was an active part of the preaching of the Gospel with Paul. He was with Paul in Rome during the first imprisonment and was imprisoned himself (Heb. 13:23). Timothy was young (probably around age 30). He was now serving the church at Ephesus (1 Tim. 1:6-7). This epistle was to strengthen and encourage him in his great task.

2. Outline and Content

A. Sound doctrine (1)

B. Prayer (2)

C. The house of God (3)

D. The Latter-Day Apostasy (back-sliding) (4)

E. Instructions and exhortations (5-6)

Second Timothy

1. Background

A. Purpose

1. Paul was lonely (4:10). Everyone had left him except for Luke. Paul so desired the company of Timothy.

2.. Paul was concerned for the Gospel because of the persecution of Nero. He shares with Timothy:

a Guard the Gospel (1:4)

b. Persevere (3:14)

c. Keep preaching (4:2)

d. Suffer for it (1:8; 2:3)

3. Paul wanted to write to the Ephesian church through Timothy (4:2 - you is plural)

B. Themes

1. Personal feelings

2. Administrative policy for the church

2. Content

A. Three pictures of the Christian life

1. Soldier - Believers are in a war, and must not be distracted by worldly matters

2. Athlete - One cannot win if you do not know the rules

3. Farmer - The farmer must work hard but only God provides the life and growth

B. This epistle strengthens Timothy for the very big task which Paul is about to pass on.

This is Paul presenting and passing the call and responsibility of the Gospel onto a younger, worthy man. 2 Timothy 4:1-8 should be carefully studied by every candidate for ministry.

C. Outline

1. Paul's personal word to Timothy (1)

2.. Faith's conflict and the believer's path (2)

3. The last days and their troubles (3)

4 The last message of the apostle (4)


1. Background

A. Titus

Titus was a Gentile in Antioch who accompanied Paul to the Jerusalem Conference in 48 AD. They debated about uncircumcised non-Jews becoming Christians. Titus was a symbol of Paul's determination to extend the Christian faith to the Gentiles. Even though Titus is not mentioned in Acts he appears in 2 Cor. 2, 8, 12; Gal. 2; and 2 Tim. 4.

B. History

At thus time Titus was ministering on the island of Crete. From this epistle one discovers that this church was discouraged, unorganized, lazy, and careless. This was a difficult job for Titus because there was no balance of grace and holiness. There were no morals or ethics. Paul continually encourages them to do good works (six times).

C. Subject -- Doing what is good

2. Content

A. Instructions and warnings (1)

B. Sound doctrine (2)

C. The world and false teachers (3)


1. Background

A. Philemon

Philemon was a believer in the city of Colossae. He was a slave owner, which was a sign of wealth. Onesimus, a slave, had run away from Philemon. Not only had he run away but he also had stolen from his master. The punishment for this crime according to the Roman law was death.

After escaping from Philemon, Onesimus (whose name means "useful") met Paul and through his ministry became a Christian. Onesimus is confronted and must return to his master.

B Purpose

The purpose of this epistle is Paul making a personal appeal for Philemon to accept Onesimus as a Christian brother. This powerful letter of Paul provides us an example of forgiveness and restoration. Paul seems to be urging Philemon to allow Onesimus to go free, and even return to Paul (see Phil 21)

C. Subject -- Making right the wrong.

2. Content

A. Greeting (1-3)

B. Recognition of Philemon's faith and love (4-7)

C. Concerning the reception of Onesimus (8-21)

D. Conclusion (22-25)


1. Background

A. The Jews' difficulties with Christianity

1 The idea that anyone could be accepted by God freely was offensive to Jews. The Jewish way of life was exclusive -- meaning they were the chosen people, and all others were not.

2. The fall of Jerusalem (70) left Judaism in crisis. Judaism is based in:

a. A political system

b. The land (Promised Land)

c. The temple

At the fall of Jerusalem, outward expression of worship was denied. This brought a stronger reliance on law keeping and legalism.

B. Audience

While the destination of Hebrews is unknown, it was written to help heal the dilemma between the Jews and Gentiles. It was written to the Diaspora (the Jews scattered after the fall of Jerusalem). Hebrews 13:24 may mean that Hebrews was written from Rome.

C Author

1 The authorship of Hebrews is one the greatest puzzles in the New Testament. What do we know about him?

a Well educated in the classical Greek language

b Was not an original disciple of Christ (2:3)

c Well versed in the Old Testament

d He was most likely a Jew

e A friend of Timothy (13:23)

2. Many have offered their opinion who the author was. Clement of Alexandria said Paul wrote Hebrews in the Hebrew language and then Luke translated it to Greek. Tertullian attributed it to Barnabas. Martin Luther attributed it Apollos. Some attribute this epistle to Priscilla. Origen said it best when he said "God Only Knows!"

D. Date -- difficult to say (65-95)

E. Subject -- a better faith

1. Better messenger (1-2:18)

2. Better Apostle (3:1-4:13)

3. Better Priest (4:14-7:28)

4. Better Covenant (8:1-9:28)

5. Better Sacrifice (10:1-31

6.. Better way: Faith (10:32-12:29)

2. Content

A. Exhortations

1. Let us fear 4:1

2. Let us therefore give diligence to enter 4:11

3. Let us hold fast our confession 4:14

4. Let us draw near . . . . to the throne of grace 4:16

5. Let us press on unto perfection 6:1

6. Let us draw near 10:22

7. Let us hold fast the confession of our faith 10:23

8. Let us consider one another 10:24

9. Let us . . . . lay aside every weight 12:1

10. Let us run the race 12:1

11. Let us have grace 12:28

12. Let us therefore go forth unto him 13:13

13. Let us offer up sacrifice of praise 13:15

B. Outline

1. Christ, the Son of God and His glory (1:1-2:4)

2. Christ, the Son of Man, His glory and His salvation (2:5-4:13)

3. Christ as priest in the heavenly sanctuary (4:14-10)

a. Christ the better High Priest

b. sacrificial work of Christ the better High Priest

4. Practical instructions and exhortations (11-13)

Discussion Groups: Passages for study

Break into small groups, and assign each group one of the following passages to study and discuss together:

1. 1 Timothy 5:17-22 -- elders

2. 2 Timothy 1:3-12 -- encouragement to stand for the Gospel

3. Titus 2:11-15 -- say 'no' to ungodliness

4. Hebrews 5:11 – 6:12 -- do not fall away

5. Hebrews 8:1-13 – a new covenant


1. Background

A. Author -- James the half brother of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:7).

James became very prominent (even the head) of the church in Jerusalem. He did not believe in Jesus until after the Resurrection. At that time he became very important in the church:

1. He was one of the individuals Christ appeared to after His resurrection (1 Cor. 15:7)

2. Paul called him a pillar of the church (Gal. 2:9)

3. Paul, on his first visit to Jerusalem after his conversion, saw James (Gal. 1:19)

4. Paul did the same after one of his missionary journeys (Acts 21:18)

5. When Peter was rescued from Prison, he told his friends to tell James (Acts 12:17)

6. James was the leader in the important council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:13)

7. James was martyred in 62.

B. Audience -- The epistle of James was written to the "twelve tribes scattered abroad the nations" (1:1). This introduction indicates:

1. A Jewish audience

2. Probably scattered after the stoning of Stephen

3. An audience used to facing persecutions

C. Subject -- Practical Christian living

2. Outline and Content

A. Some have said that the theology of Paul and the theology of James contradict each other. This is not the case, Paul and James do not contradict each other. Each is discussing a different part of the complex Christian faith.

B. Outline

1. Trials and the practice of faith (1)

2. Faith and works (2)

3. The evils of the tongue corrected (3)

4. Further exhortations to right living (4)

5. The coming of the Lord and the life of faith (5)

First Peter

1. Background

A. History

Persecution was beginning to become more harsh at the time of the writing of Peter's epistles. Before the late 60's, Christianity was seen as a legal faith because it was considered a sect of Judaism. As long as there was no disturbance, Christians were ignored. However, soon this tolerance turned to hostile criticism. The shadow of persecution was the context in which Peter wrote.

B. Place -- Peter says he wrote this epistle from "Babylon" (5:13). Babylon probably refers to Rome

2. Content

A. Suffering of believers & exhortation to holy living (1:1-21)

B. Blessings and privileges of all believers (1:22-2:10)

C. Christ the example for his saints (2:11-3:9)

D. Comfort in the midst of trials and suffering (3:10-4)

E. Exhortations concerning service and conflict (5)

Second Peter

1. Background

A. 2 Peter was written around the same time as 1 Peter in the shadow of persecution. In this epistle however, there is not only trouble from non-believers. Now the church is facing trouble from within because of false teachers.

B. It is obvious that the audience of 2 Peter is familiar with Peter and the writings of Paul.

C. This epistle shares with its readers the importance of knowledge and the inspiration of Scripture. It also deals with the return of Christ and the final victory of His followers.

D. Subject -- Handling pressure from within

2. Content

A. The gracious provision of God (1)

B. False teachers bring evil (2)

C. The future of the earth and conclusion to the letter (3)

First John

1. Background

A. Author -- written by the apostle John as an old man

B. Purpose -- to combat a heresy. This heresy may be Gnosticism. Gnosticism includes these beliefs:

1. Spirit is good, matter is evil

2. Salvation through knowledge of truth. Escaping from realm of matter to the realm of spirit.

3. This is achieved by knowing certain knowledge

4. Questioned Jesus as God because he was a man

C. Subject -- Concern with knowledge - you can know. . . .

2. Content

A. Three important aspects

1. Assurance of salvation

2. Doctrinal soundness to combat heresy

3. Strong practical teaching focused on loving one another

B. Outline

1. Life manifested (1:1-4)

2. Light and darkness and the tests (1:5-2:17)

3. Error and truth (2:18-27)

4. Righteousness and love shown by God's children (2:28-3:18)

5. How we know we are Christ's (3:19-5:12)

6. Conclusion (5:13-21)

Second John

1. Background

A. This short letter is similar to 1 John. John addresses this letter to "chosen lady and her children" (1:1). The lady and her children may be a literal lady and her family or it may be a church and its members.

B. Subject -- Truth and love

2. Content

A. John encourages the Lady to not entertain or show hospitality to false teachers, the enemies of the faith. John stresses two points in this epistle:

1. Love

2. Be careful

B. Outline

1. Greeting (1-3)

2. Commendation (4)

3. Exhortation and warning (5-11)

4. Conclusion (12-13)

Third John

1. Background

This epistle of John is the shortest book in the Bible. In this epistle John paints a picture of church life. This letter addressed to Gaius (a popular name in the first century) says that he should show hospitality to good teachers. Hospitality to true brothers is the theme of 3 John.

2 Content

A. Greeting (1-2)

B. Commendation of Gaius (3-8)

C. Condemnation of Diotrephes (9-10)

D. Exhortation to Gaius (11)

E. Example of Demetrius (12)

F. Conclusion (13-14)


1. Background

A. Author -- Jude was a half brother of Jesus that shared a similar ministry as his brother James.

B. Subject -- Contend For The Faith - verse 3

2. Content

A Jude quotes pseudepigraphical writings (writings whose authorship was attributed to an important person who did not write the book). Pseudepigraphical writings were not allowed in the canon because they were not inspired and did not hold the same authority. Jude quotes:

1. "The Assumption of Moses" - vs. 9

2. The "Book of Enoch" - vs. 14

B. Jude writes to contend for the faith against false teachers

C. Outline

1. The Introduction (1-2)

2. The Purpose and Occasion of the Epistle (3-4)

3. Examples From The Past (5-10)

4. A Further Description of the Apostates (11-13)

5. The Testimony of Enoch (14-16)

6. The Exhortation (17-23)

7 The Conclusion (24-25)


1. Background

A. Author -- the apostle John, while in exile on the island of Patmos as an old man

B. History -- Christians were undergoing severe persecution at this time, and this book provides hope and assurance for them. It also exhorts them to stand firm to the end.

C. Apocalyptic -- Revelation is unique in that it is totally devoted to prophecy. Apocalyptic Literature is characterized by:

1. Intense despair of present circumstances and an equally intense hope for divine intervention in the future.

2. By the use of symbolic language, dreams and visions

3. Introduction of heavenly and demonic powers as messengers and agents in the progress of God's purposes.

4. Prediction of severe judgment of the wicked and supernatural deliverance for the righteous.

D. Audience -- addressed to seven churches in the province of Asia. These cities were connected by a circular road in Asia. These seven cities are:

1. Ephesus

2. Smyrna

3. Pergamum

4. Thyatira

5. Sardis

6. Philadelphia

7. Laodicea

E. Purpose -- Revelation 1:1-3 provides the purpose and context of revelation. The person of Christ is revealed as He reveals the future.

F. Subject -- Encouragement

2 Content

A. Interpreting Revelation

1. Preterists understand the book exclusively in terms of its first-century setting, claiming that most of its events have already taken place.

2.. Historicists take it as describing the long chain of events from Patmos to the end of history.

Futurists place the book primarily in the end times.

4. Idealists view it as symbolic pictures of such timeless truths as the victory of good over evil.

Fortunately, the fundamental truths of Revelation do not depend on adopting a particular point of view. They are available to anyone who will read the book for its overall message and resist the temptation to become overly concerned with the details.

B. Outline

1. The Patmos vision of the glorified Son of Man (1)

2. The things which are. The seven church messages (2-3)

3. The Things which are to come, the end of the age, and the Final Messages (4-22)

a. The heavenly scene and before the throne (4-5)

b. The opening of the seven seals (6-8:5)

c. The sounding of the seven trumpets (8:6-11:18)

d. Satan's power and Satan's masterpieces (11:19-13)

e. The power of God: Grace and judgment (14)

f. The seven angels having seven plagues and the vials of wrath (15-16)

g. The great harlot, Babylon & her judgment (17-18)

h. The King and the millennium (19-20:6)

i. After the thousand years and the vision of the New Jerusalem (20:7-22:5)

j. Final messages (22:6-21)

AssignmentPassages for study

Teacher: assign two passages of the following passages to each student. Be sure to not to give anyone two passages from the same book. Students: Follow the three steps, and write down the main point and an application to your life:

1. James 2:14-26 -- faith and works

2. James 3:1-12 -- the tongue

3. 1 Peter 5:1-1-4 -- instruction to pastors

4. 2 Peter 3:8-15 -- the Day of the Lord

5. 1 John 1:5-2:8 -- walking in the light

6. 1 John 3:7-10 -- righteous and sinners

7.. Revelation 2:1-3:22 -- messages to the churches

Revelation 21:1-27 -- the New Jerusalem

First Passage:
Main Point


Second Passage:
Main Point