Friday, September 25, 2015

BIBLE STUDY: SHARING WEEK # 7

Books of the New Testaments:

The Gospels:

Matthew:

Matthew's Gospel (good news) is in the Bible's New Testament. Matthew knew well the Bible's Old Testament. In the past, God appointed people (called prophets') to write about the future. Many prophets described Jesus' life and work. The things that the prophets wrote actually happened during Jesus' life on earth. Matthew explained this to prove that Jesus is the Christ. (The 'Christ' means God's king. The prophets said that the Christ would save us from the punishment for our evil deeds.) Matthew's Gospel is a book about Jesus' life. Matthew wrote about the things that Jesus taught. His book includes a speech by Jesus, in Matthew chapters 5-7. This speech is called 'The Sermon on the Mount'. Matthew's Gospel also explains that Jesus cured many ill people. Jesus caused blind people to see again (Matthew 20:29-34). He caused deaf people to hear again (Matthew 11:5). He freed people who had evil spirits (Matthew 8:28). But some important people hated Jesus. They killed Jesus on the cross. But Jesus knew that this would happen (Matthew 16:21). The prophets had written that the Christ would die (Isaiah 53; Matthew 12:40). When Jesus died, he suffered the punishment for our evil deeds (Matthew 20:28, Matthew 26:28). But Jesus did not remain dead. God caused Jesus to live again (Matthew 28). And Jesus is alive today, in heaven.

 

Mark

The Gospel of Mark is the second book in the New Testament part of the Bible. Mark was the first person to write a Gospel. A Gospel is a book that describes the life and death of Jesus. The Gospels also explain how Jesus came back to life again. People think that Mark got his information from Peter. Peter was a friend of Jesus. Mark's Gospel is the shortest life story of Jesus. It is an exciting book. Jesus did many wonderful things. He cured ill people. He spoke wise words about God. And he warned about future events. The people were excited about Jesus. They followed Jesus. They listened to him. But they did not realize why God sent Jesus. They thought that Jesus would become their king. But Jesus knew the real reason why God sent him.

The rulers hated Jesus. They thought that Jesus would destroy their country. They did not care whether God had sent Jesus. They decided to kill Jesus. Jesus knew about this. But Jesus allowed these things to happen, because this was God's plan. When Jesus was dying, the people were very afraid. Even Jesus' friend, Peter, denied that he knew Jesus. Even the priests insulted Jesus. Jesus' death was a terrible death (Mark chapters 14-15). But some important people believed Jesus, even when he died. An important soldier said, 'This man (Jesus) was God's son.' And Joseph from Arimathea was bold, and he buried Jesus' body in his own grave. But, two days later, an angel (servant of God from heaven) announced that Jesus was alive again. Later, Jesus himself met his friends. They saw that he was alive. And he told them to take God's message to people from all nations. Mark wrote his gospel for everyone. He did not only write it for his own people. People from all nations can become Christians.

 

Luke

Luke's Gospel (good news) is a record, in order, of the main events in Jesus' life. Its author was Luke, who was a doctor. Luke was a friend of Paul. Luke probably did not belong to the Jewish people. His book shows that Jesus cared about everyone. Jesus cured many ill people. Jesus cared about women (for example, Luke 7:11-17). Jesus allowed children to come to him (Luke 18:15-17). And Jesus cared about poor people (Luke 21:1-4). Jesus taught many lessons to the people. Often, he told parables (stories with a meaning) to teach the people about God. Jesus wanted everybody to confess their evil deeds and to trust in God. Some evil leaders opposed Jesus. They plotted that Jesus would die. Jesus knew about their plans (Luke 18:31-34). But Jesus also knew that God wanted him to die (Luke 22:20-22, Luke 22:42). And, after Jesus' death, God would cause Jesus to live again. Luke describes these events. The Bible taught that these things would happen (Luke 24:25-27, Luke 24:44-49). Luke explained these events further in his other book, called Acts (Acts chapters 2-3). When Jesus died, he suffered the punishment for our evil deeds. So, we must confess our evil deeds to God. And we must invite God into our lives.

 

John

John was a close friend of Jesus. For three years, John lived with Jesus. John saw how Jesus behaved. And John believed that Jesus is God (John 1:1-18). John wrote his Gospel (good news) so that other people would believe this too (John 20:31). John saw that Jesus did many wonderful things (John 21:25). Jesus cured ill people (John 4:43-54). Jesus walked on water (John 6:14-24). He provided food for 5000 men (John 6:1-15). Jesus was alive again after his own death (John 20). John describes these events in the same way as the other Gospels. But the main part of John's Gospel is not about these wonderful deeds. Instead, many chapters contain Jesus' words. For example, John 13-17 contains Jesus' words on the night before he died. John thought that Jesus' words were wonderful (John 3:34). And we must accept Jesus' words. If we believe Jesus' words, then we will live with God in heaven always. But if we do not obey Jesus, God will punish us (John 3:36). Jesus died so that we can live with God in heaven (John 3:16). This is why we must confess our evil deeds to God. And this is why we must invite Jesus into our lives. Then, we will become the children of God (John 1:12).

 

History:

Acts (of the church or the Holy Spirit)

The Book of Acts (in the New Testament of the Bible) is also called 'Acts of the Apostles'. The author of Acts was Luke, who also wrote the Gospel of Luke. Acts tells the story of the first Christians. After Jesus went up to heaven, they waited in Jerusalem. Then, God sent his Holy Spirit (Acts 2). The Holy Spirit gave power to the first Christians. So, they told the people about Jesus. The Christians explained that the people must confess their evil deeds to God. Then, they must invite God into their lives. The first Christians did wonderful things by God's power. Peter cured a man who could not walk by God's power (Acts 3:1-10). God even cured ill people when Peter's shadow went over them (Acts 5:15-16). Many people opposed the first Christians. A Christian called Stephen did many wonderful things (Acts 6:8). But the rulers opposed him. They did not want him to speak about Jesus. So, the rulers killed Stephen. But Stephen was not afraid. He knew that he was going to heaven. Like Jesus, Stephen prayed for the people who were killing him (Acts 7:60). But the number of Christians continued to increase. And new churches began in many areas, for example Samaria and Antioch. Soon, God taught Peter and the other Christians that God's good news is for everyone, from every nation (Acts 10). So, they began to speak to people who were not from Israel. Saul was a religious leader who opposed the first Christians. Saul even helped to kill Stephen (Acts 8:1). But God spoke to Saul on the road to Damascus. And Saul became a Christian (Acts 9). He travelled to many places, to tell everyone about Jesus (Acts chapters 13-28). Later, Saul changed his name to Paul. Paul wrote many books in the New Testament of the Bible. The first Christians had many dangers and many troubles. But they trusted God. And they told people about Jesus in each place where they went. God was with them. God did wonderful things wherever they went. And boldly, they taught the message of the Bible.

 

Paul's Epistles: (letters)

Romans

The Book of Romans is a letter from Paul to the Christians in Rome. Rome was probably the largest city in the world. Paul wrote the letter about the year 57. He probably wrote it while he was living in Corinth. The Book of Romans shows us how God can save us from the punishment for our evil deeds. And the Book of Romans also teaches how we should live. Some of the important things we can learn from this book are: Everyone has done wrong things against God.

God is angry about our evil deeds. God saves people who trust him.. We cannot save ourselves by our own good works. When Jesus died, he died for us. God's Spirit helps us to do what is right. God always loves us. God shows us how to live. The Book of Romans is in the New Testament part of the Bible.

 

1 Corinthians

Paul wrote this long letter to the Christians who lived in the city of Corinth. He had set up the church in Corinth when he himself lived there for 18 months (Acts 18). After he left the city, evil things happened in the church. So Paul wrote this letter to the Christians in Corinth, to help them. Corinth was a city in the country of Greece. The people in Greece were proud of their clever minds. But Paul explained that God considers human wisdom to be foolish. So, Christians must recognize that Jesus Christ is their Lord. He has God's wisdom; and Christians must obey him always (1 Corinthians chapters 1-2). Then they will be able to live holy lives. They will not quarrel with each other. They will be loyal to their husbands or wives. They will not try to understand the Bible by their own clever ideas. Instead, they will be true servants of Christ (1 Corinthians chapters 5-6). Paul wanted to teach the Christians in Corinth how to praise God together. He taught them that they should share bread and wine to remember Jesus' death (1 Corinthians 11). God's Holy Spirit would help them to work together (1 Corinthians chapters 12 and 14). And God's greatest gift is love (1 Corinthians 13). Paul also taught about life after death. After Jesus died, God caused Jesus to live again. Many people saw that Jesus was alive again (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). In the same way, God will cause us to live again after our deaths. God is even greater than death (1 Corinthians 15).

 

2 Corinthians

This letter is in the Bible's New Testament. Paul wrote this letter to Christians in Corinth because there were false teachers in the church. They spoke badly about Paul. They said he kept changing his mind. This was because he did not visit Corinth. They also said he was not a genuine apostle*. Unlike the false teachers, Paul was not a great speaker. Also unlike them, Paul did not ask the church for money. Paul explained why he had not visited them. He also explained why he had been so severe towards the Christians in Corinth. But he was happy that they had confessed their evil deeds to God. And now, they accepted Paul as a friend again. He was not a powerful person like the false teachers. But because he was weak, people saw God's power through him. He had not come to talk about himself. He had come to tell them about Jesus. By the death of Jesus, God had changed them from enemies into friends. Then he asked them for a generous gift for the poor Christians in Judea. Finally he gave reasons why he was a genuine apostle*. God chose him to be an apostle*. And he had suffered many troubles because he taught God's message. But Paul was glad to work for God. This was his answer to those who spoke badly about him. Apostle: a person whom God sent to teach the Christian message to the world.

 

Galatians

Galatians is a book in the New Testament part of the Bible.

The Book of Galatians is a letter. Paul wrote it. It might be the first letter that Paul wrote to a Christian church. At that time, many people who were not Jews were becoming Christians. Some people said that the new Christians also needed to become Jews. These people said that the new Christians must obey all the laws and traditions of the Jews. Paul said that a person became a Christian by believing in Jesus Christ. Jesus died to take the punishment for their evil deeds. They did not need to obey the laws and traditions of the Jews. Many people today do not obey the traditions of the Jews. But these people have their own traditions and ideas. But traditions cannot be more important than God. So, these people must trust Jesus. Paul also wrote about how Christians should live. They should show love and joy. They should be calm. Christians should be patient, kind and good. And Christians should be loyal, gentle and show discipline. (Galatians 5:22-23.) Christians do good deeds to please God. But they are Christians because they trust in Jesus. So, their good deeds do not make them Christians.

 

Ephesians

The Book of Ephesians is in the Bible's New Testament. Paul wrote this letter to the church at Ephesus, which he had led for over two years (Acts 19:10). When Paul wrote the Book of Ephesians, Paul was in prison. But the letter is not a sad letter. Paul was excited about God's good gifts (Ephesians 1:3). Paul was pleased that the Christians in Ephesus continued to serve God. Paul wanted to encourage them. And he told them about his prayers for them (Ephesians 1:15-22, Ephesians 3:14-21). Paul reminded the Christians in Ephesus that previously they were enemies of God. But God sent Jesus to die for them. Because of Jesus' death, they became friends of God (Ephesians 2:11-22). So, they should live lives that please God (Ephesians 4:17-32, Ephesians 5). And, they should trust God more. God had appointed teachers to help the Christians. And the Christians would learn to be more like Jesus. Troubles would come, so they needed God's protection (Ephesians 6:10-18).

 

Philippians

The Book of Philippians is in the Bible's New Testament. Paul wrote this letter to the church at Philippi, which he had established (Acts 16:11-40). Paul was a prisoner when he wrote the book of Philippians. But he used his time in prison well. He even told his guards about Jesus (Philippians 1:13). And he was glad that people were speaking about Jesus (Philippians 1:12-30). Paul encouraged the Christians in Philippi to work together (Philippians 1:27). They should love each other (Philippians 2:1-4). So, they should be humble. Paul reminded them that Jesus was very humble. (Philippians 2:5-11). But now, God gives great honor to Jesus. Paul warned the Christians about some people who did not know Jesus (Philippians 3:1-4, Philippians 3:17-19). He wanted the Christians to trust God more. Even Paul himself wanted to know God better (Philippians 3:10-11). Paul did not pretend that he was already perfect (Philippians 3:12). But he knew that God will change us totally (Philippians 3:21). So, we should be glad (Philippians 4:4). We should do the right things (Philippians 4:8-9). And we should trust God to provide whatever we need (Philippians 4:10-19).

 

Colossians

The Book of Colossians is Paul's letter to the Christians at Colosse. Paul had not visited Colosse. But he often prayed for the Christians there (Colossians 1:3-14).Paul reminded the Christians about the importance of Jesus. Jesus is God, and he created everything. Then, Jesus became a man, so that he could die for us. Because Jesus died, God will forgive us. If we invite Jesus into our lives, we will become friends of God (Colossians 1:15-23). Then, Paul warned the Christians about some people (Colossians 2). These people wanted the Christians to obey the ancient rules of the Hebrew nation. And these people said that real Christians must obey all such rules. Paul did not agree. He wrote that these rules were human traditions (Colossians 2:8). Christians ought to obey Christ, instead of tradition. Traditions might seem wise, but they cannot help us to live good lives (Colossians 2:23). Paul reminded the Christians how they should live. They should think about the things in heaven (Colossians 3:2), because they belong with Christ (Colossians 3:3-4). They should not do evil deeds (Colossians 3:5-11). Instead, they should love other people (Colossians 3:12-14). And they should serve God (Colossians 3:15-17).

 

1 Thessalonians

This is a letter in the Bible's New Testament. Paul wrote this letter to Christians in Thessalonica. He thanked God for their faith, love and hope. They had turned from idols (false gods) to serve God. They were waiting for the return of Jesus. They trusted God in spite of great difficulties. Paul told them to please God by the way that they lived. They should be holy. They should work hard. And they should love each other. Then he answered their questions about the return of Jesus. He told them not to worry about those who had died. They would not miss Jesus' return. They would meet him before those who were still alive. The return of Jesus will be sudden. Therefore the Christians in Thessalonica must be ready for this. They must continue to work quietly.

2 Thessalonians

This is a letter in the Bible's New Testament. Paul wrote it to Christians in Thessalonica not long after his first letter to them. People were behaving in a cruel way towards the Christians there. Paul told them have confidence in God. When Jesus returned God would punish those wicked people. He would also punish everybody who did not accept the good news about Jesus. Some Christians in Thessalonica thought that Jesus had already returned. Paul said that the Wicked One would come first. He would oppose Jesus. So, Christians should trust God, even when they suffer. Other Christians in Thessalonica thought that Jesus was coming back very soon. So, they refused to work. Paul reminded them that he himself worked hard in Thessalonica. And they all must work too.

1 Timothy

This letter is in the Bible's New Testament. Paul wrote it to Timothy. He was a young follower of Paul who was looking after the church in Ephesus. Paul warned him about false teachers. In 1 Timothy 1, he wrote about false teachers of the law. These men gave long speeches about God's law. But they did not know the purpose of the law. And they did not know that they must love other people. In 1 Timothy 4, Paul writes about some more evil teachers. He warns Timothy not to listen to them. Instead, Timothy should teach people to trust God (1 Timothy 4:9-11).He then told Timothy about meetings in church. He described how they should pray. He told him how women should behave. He described the qualities that church leaders must have. Paul then told him how to care for different groups in the church. These included slaves, widows, and church leaders. He told Timothy to be content. And, Timothy should not love money. But he should learn to improve his character while he serves God.

 

2 Timothy

This is the second letter that Paul wrote to Timothy in the Bible's New Testament. Paul wrote this letter from prison. Timothy was one of Paul's followers. He was looking after a church. Paul wanted Timothy to visit him. Timothy was rather nervous. Paul told Timothy to suffer difficulties like a soldier, a runner or a farmer. He warned Timothy not to allow foolish arguments to upset him. Timothy must refuse to do evil deeds. And he must be a good and patient teacher. Paul warned him also that things would get worse and worse. False teachers would lead weak people away from the truth. Timothy must teach the truths that he learned from the Bible. Paul knew he would die soon. Paul reminded Timothy about Paul's own faith and great difficulties. But Paul knew that God would reward him in heaven.

Titus

Paul wrote the Book of Titus to his friend, called Titus. Titus was working on an island called Crete. There were many churches on Crete, but these churches did not have leaders. So, Paul told Titus to appoint a leader for the church in each town. But Titus must choose the leaders carefully. Each leader must be a good man, who is kind, holy and honest. And the leaders must teach God's message accurately (Titus 1:5-9). This was an important task. Some people were trying to convince the Christians to obey their traditions. These people pretended to know God. But their actions proved that they denied God (Titus 1:10-16). Paul advised Titus not to argue with people who taught the wrong things. He told Titus to warn them on two occasions only. Then, Titus should leave that person (Titus 3:9-11).

 

Philemon

The book of Philemon is a short, personal letter. It is in the New Testament part of the Bible. Paul wrote some encouraging words to Philemon. Then, Paul appealed to Philemon on behalf of Philemon's slave. The slave was called Onesimus. Onesimus had escaped from Philemon. Later, Onesimus became a Christian. He helped Paul. But Philemon still owned Onesimus, because Onesimus was a slave. Paul decided to return Onesimus to Philemon. Paul asked Philemon to accept Onesimus as his Christian brother, instead of a slave.

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