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It always amazes me how many Christians I meet who don’t know what the Bible teaches. The Bible is the manual for the Christian life and is the revelation of God Himself, who we must love more than anything in order to be saved in the end. Matthew 10:37 Do we read the instructions for a new electronic device, which will wear out in three years or less and need replaced? How much more crucial it is to read and understand the information that will determine our eternal salvation or damnation and that of those we love.

It is dangerous to simply believe everything you hear from another person, even a preacher. We are all imperfect humans and make mistakes. God tells us to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling”. Philippians 2:12 We alone are accountable to God for what we believe and how we live. We need to know what He has told us, so we can obey Him and will know when we are hearing lies.

Many people think the Bible is difficult to understand, so they don't try. Actually, it was written on a 6th grade level. Sure there are topics that are open to differing opinions, but the majority is easily understood, especially when you ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten you as you study. The Rabbis of old said that scripture has 70 layers of meanings, so after we learn the obvious meaning of a passage, there is still a wealth of knowledge to be gained from further study, with His help.

I am going to "demystify" how to study the Bible in a few short, easy lessons in the hopes of encouraging you to explore the riches it holds for you. Look in the label cloud under "Christianity 101" for lessons you have missed and God bless your efforts! I'm always available to you in e-mail and I pray for everyone who visits here.

CHRISTIANITY 101 - Using Your Bible Lesson 3

New Testament Book Categories, Dates & Synopsis of Gospels

Since I recommended you begin reading at the New Testament, we’ll talk a little about the layout of the New Testament. It is a collection of 27 books written in Koine Greek by several authors over a period of about 50 years. It contains the teachings and history of Christianity.

The New Testament books fall into four categories:

1-The first four books, (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are called the “Gospels”. Gospel means “good news”. They all recount the life, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Each book is geared to a different audience and with a different emphasis. (See below.)

2-Acts is the book that recounts the birth of the Christian church and tells us how to be saved. This book is full of accounts of conversions and a chronological account of the first century church.

3-The next 21 books, (Romans through Jude) are called “The Epistles”, which means “letters”. There is some ambiguity as to the authors of some books, but the first 14 books are generally thought to have been written by the apostle Paul. The following 7 books identify their authors as apostles, biological brothers of Jesus and John the Evangelist. These letters were written to the first century churches.

4-The last category is the book of Revelation which is the revelation to John of the second coming of Christ in the end times.

When you are reading in the New Testament and you see passages in all capital letters, that means it is a quote from the Old Testament.

Comparison of the Four Gospels:

Matthew addresses his Gospel primarily to the Jews to convince them that Jesus of Nazareth is their Messiah, the King of the Jews. With the genealogy of Jesus, Matthew also uses ten fulfillment quotations by which he seeks to show that this Jesus, though rejected and crucified, is the long-awaited Messiah of the Old Testament (Matt. 1:23; 2:15; 2:18; 2:23; 4:15; 8:15; 12:18-21; 13:35; 21:5; 27:9-10). But though rejected by the nation as a whole and crucified, the King left an empty tomb.

Mark seems to be addressed to the Romans, a people of action but of few words, and presents Jesus as the Servant of the Lord who came “to give His life a ransom for many.” In keeping with this, Mark, the shortest of the Gospels, is vivid, active or lively, and presents a very clear eyewitness account, especially of the last week of Jesus’ life on earth. “A full 37 percent of this Gospel is devoted to the events of His last and most important week.”

Luke, the doctor historian, presents Jesus as the perfect Son of Man who came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Luke strongly stresses the true humanity of Christ while also declaring His deity. Some believe that Luke particularly had the Greeks in mind because of their keen interest in human philosophy.

John immediately (1:1-2) focuses the reader on the deity of Christ by presenting Jesus as the eternal Son of God who gives eternal and abundant life to all who would receive Him by believing in Him (John 1:12; 3:16-18, 36; 10:10). Though written to all mankind, John’s Gospel is especially written to the church. Five chapters record the farewell discourses of Jesus to His disciples to comfort them just a few hours before His death. In addition, seven miraculous signs of Jesus are set forth to demonstrate that Jesus is the Savior and to encourage people everywhere to believe in Him that they might have life (John 20:30-31).

(This lesson contains material from www.bible.org)

Isn't this gorgeous? I'm so excited about this and so pleased with how it turned out. This is easily one of my most favorite creations and I hope you think so too! I don't think I'll be able to leave this freebie up long because it had to be a psd to preserve the transparency and the beveling details on the crystals which means it's huge. Since I'm running out of space in my 4shared account, I will probably have to expire the link for this before long - so get it while you can! I've put my layers in a group and linked them, so if you leave them alone and just drag your image to the bottom layer, you will get the results shown above. Kewl?!?!

If you download, leave me some love at the bottom of the post and God bless your use of it!
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