Summary of New Testament Bible Books
What follows is a summary of the New Testament books and their genres.
The Book of Matthew is of the gospel genre. Matthew begins with the genealogy of Jesus. Matthew retells the story of Jesus’ birth and quotes Isaiah 7:14 regarding the prophecy of the virgin birth. The Magi asks King Herod of the newborn king. King Herod orders all babies two and under in Bethlehem and vicinity to be killed. This fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah 31:15. Jesus escaped to Egypt. Later after returning to Nazareth, Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist. Jesus called on his disciples and began preaching about the kingdom of heaven. Jesus came to fulfill the Law, not abolish it. He reiterates the Law. In His preaching, Jesus heals many. Jesus uses parables to teach the Gospel. During His teachings, He is questioned by authority. Matthew tells of Jesus’ crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection. Jesus gives His Great Commission by telling his disciples to “go and make disciples of all the nations” (28:19).
The Book of Mark is of the gospel genre. Mark begins with two quotes from the Old Testament regarding the coming of Jesus: Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 4:3. Mark tells the story of Jesus being baptized by John. After the baptism, Jesus is sent to the desert for 40 days and was tempted at that time by Satan. Then Jesus proclaimed the gospel. He started calling on his disciples; first he called Simon and Andrew, and then He called on James and John to follow and learn from Him. Jesus healed many people. As Jesus teaches the gospel, crowds follow Him. He appoints the twelve disciples. Jesus uses many parables to teach the gospel. Jesus predicts He will be killed, and then rise three days later. In chapter nine, Mark tells of the transfiguration of Jesus. Mark describes the Last Supper and Jesus predicting Peter’s denial of Him. Jesus prays at Gethsemane. Jesus is arrested and taken before the Sanhedrin. There Peter denies Jesus, just as predicted. Jesus is taken before Pilate. Jesus is made to carry His cross to the site of his crucifixion after He has been beaten. Jesus dies, is buried, and then resurrected.
The Book of Luke is of the gospel genre. After a small introduction, Luke tells the story of how Zechariah was told of the birth of John the Baptist by the angel, Gabriel. Gabriel was sent to Mary of Nazareth and told her of Jesus’ birth. Luke tells of the birth of Jesus and that He was presented in the Temple on the eighth day after His birth. John the Baptist is already preparing the way of the gospel. When Jesus was about thirty years old, He was baptized by John. Luke then lists Jesus’ genealogy. Luke tells of Jesus’ temptation while He was in the desert for forty days. The people of Nazareth drove Jesus out of town. Jesus heals many and calls for His first disciples. Jesus teaches many people the gospel. In His teachings He uses parables and healings. Jesus feeds five thousand people with only five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus warns His disciples, especially Peter, not to tell the people that He is the Christ. Peter, John, and James went with Jesus up onto a mountain. Jesus’ transfiguration occurred there. Jesus teaches the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus gives many warnings and encouragements. During the Last Supper, Jesus tells Peter that he will deny knowing Him three times. Jesus prays on the Mount of Olives and then is arrested. Peter does indeed deny Jesus three times. Jesus is taken before Pilate and Herod. Jesus is crucified, dies, is buried, and is then resurrected. Jesus appears to His disciples and then ascends to heaven.
The Book of John is of the gospel genre. John opens with a description of the Word becoming flesh. John the Baptist denies being the Christ. John the Baptist declares it is Jesus who is the Lamb of God. Jesus calls on His first disciples. John describes Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding. Jesus teaches the kingdom of God to Nicodemus. John the Baptist gives testimony about Jesus. Jesus has a conversation with a Samaritan woman. John tells the story of Jesus healing many people and feeding the five thousand. John tells of when Jesus walks on water. Jesus went to the Feast of Tabernacles and taught there. There was discussion about Jesus as the Christ. The Jewish leaders did not believe that He was the Christ. Jesus tried to validate His testimony to the Pharisees. Lazarus dies and then is brought back to life by Jesus. Jesus predicts His Death. The Jews continue in their disbelief. Jesus predicts Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial. Jesus tells Thomas that He is the way to the Father. Jesus prays for Himself, His disciples, and for all believers. Jesus is arrested and taken to Annas. Peter’s denies Jesus three times. Jesus is taken to before Pilate. Pilate sentenced Jesus to be crucified. Jesus is crucified, dies and then is buried. John tells of the empty tomb. Jesus first appears to Mary Magdalene and then to His disciples. Jesus has breakfast of fish and bread with His disciples. Peter is then told to take care and feed Jesus’ sheep.
The Book of Acts is of both the narrative and gospel genres. The book begins with a recount of Jesus’ life right before and right after His crucifixion. Through prayer, Matthias was chosen to replace Judas as a disciple. The day of the Pentecost, the Holy Spirit filled the apostles. Peter addresses the crowd, and they devoted themselves to the teachings of the apostles. Peter heals a crippled beggar and then speaks to the onlookers regarding the God of Abraham. While speaking, Peter and John were arrested for their disturbance. The next day, Peter and John went before the Sanhedrin. They were warned not to keep teaching, but then they are released. They go back to their own people who then pray and share their possessions, so no one is in need. The apostles heal many people, but are persecuted by others. The apostles chose seven men to help mediate among the Jews. One of the seven, Stephen, was seized and brought before the Sanhedrin. Stephen spoke out against them and was stoned to death; all the while Stephen prayed. Beginning that day, the church was persecuted, causing the church to scatter. Peter started teaching to the Gentiles after the Jews refused to listen to him. King Herod arrested Peter, but Peter was able to escape. There are many chapters on the different locations the apostles traveled to and preached. The book ends with Paul preaching in Rome while being held by guards.
The Book of Romans is of the epistle genre. In Paul’s introduction, he tells the people of Rome that he is not ashamed of the gospel and wants to visit Rome. Paul explains God’s wrath and judgment. Paul continues his letter advising the Romans about God’s righteousness, and the righteousness of all who have faith in Jesus Christ. Paul states that Abraham was blessed because of his faith in God. Paul explains death came because of Adam, and eternal life comes through Jesus Christ. Paul asserts in his letter that he is speaking “the truth in Christ” (9:1). Paul explains that righteousness does not come by works, but by faith. Paul assures the Romans that through Jesus Christ, they are given endurance and encouragement. Paul then ministers to the Gentiles. Paul ends the letter by sending his personal greetings to many.
The Book of 1 Corinthians is of the epistle genre. Paul writes this letter to the church of Corinth. He begins by telling the church he thanks God for His grace. He appeals to the church in hopes that they may stop quarrelling. Paul discusses the causes and solutions to the quarrels. Paul writes in depth about dealing with immorality, lawsuits among each other, and sexual immorality. Paul tells the church what God wants out of a marriage. Paul then states his own opinion on marriage. Paul talks about food sacrificed to idols. Paul gives warnings about Israel’s past. Paul writes about Jesus’ resurrection and what that means to believers. He tells the people of Corinth that he will be visiting them after his visit in Macedonia. He asks for a favor: take of Timothy if is able to visit. Paul ends the letter with his personal greetings.
The Book of 2 Corinthians is of the epistle genre. This letter is written a few months after the first letter. Paul affirms that when troubled, God will comfort. Paul advises the people of Corinth that his plans have changed. Paul stresses the need for forgiveness. Paul talks about the new covenant with the living God. Paul discusses our heavenly dwelling after death, and Christ came to reconcile man’s sins to Him. Paul writes about his hardships and his joy in Corinth’s repentance. Paul encourages the people of Corinth to sincerely give to the people of Macedonia. Paul lets them know that Titus will be visiting Corinth. Paul defends his ministry. He ends his letter with some final warnings about believing him, followed by his final greetings.
The Book of Galatians is of the epistle genre. Paul writes this letter to the churches of Galatia. Paul reprimands the churches for deserting Christ. Paul asserts he has been called by God to preach the gospel. Paul retells how the Apostles accepted him. Paul retells how he opposed Peter in forcing the Gentiles in following the Jewish customs. Paul uses Abraham to prove his point that faith is more important than the observance of the Law. When you have faith in Jesus Christ, “you are all sons of God” (3:26). Paul writes about his concerns for the Galatians. He tells them that in Christ they have freedom. When the Spirit is in living inside of you, you must try to treat others with good intentions. Paul advises the Galatians that it does not matter if you are circumcised or not; what matters is that Jesus Christ.
The Book of Ephesians is of the epistle genre. Paul opens this letter to the Ephesians with blessings from Christ. Paul lets the Ephesians know he has kept them in his prayers. Paul reminds them that from sin they were dead, but they are made alive through Jesus. He also reminds them that the Gentiles and the Jews are members of God’s household. Paul preaches to the Gentiles. Paul advises the Ephesians what his prayer is for them. He advises them that through Christ they are of one body and one spirit. Through Christ, they are made new in their attitudes of their minds and they need to resist any bitterness, anger, and malice. Paul advises them to live like God, with love. Paul gives the Ephesians advice on different relationships: husband and wife, children and parents, as well as slaves and masters. He tells them to be strong in God. The letter ends with his final greetings.
The Book of Philippians is of the epistle genre. Paul tells the people of Philippi that he is thankful that they believe in Jesus. Paul tells them that they are in his prayers. Paul tells the Philippians that because of his imprisonment, the gospel has spread. He states that he is “in chains for Christ” (1:13). Paul advises the people of Philippi to have the same attitudes of Jesus: humility, love, and compassion. Paul talks about Timothy visiting Philippi. He then talks about Epaphroditus, the messenger. Paul states that Epaphroditus was ill and almost died, but upon recovery will return to Philippi. Paul gives the Philippians a warning of men who do evil. He urges them to press on towards the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul ends his letter with a thanks for the Philippians’ gifts and then his final greetings.
The Book of Colossians is of the epistle genre. Paul opens his letter to the people of Colosse with a thanksgiving and prayer. Paul emphasizes the gospel of Christ. Paul relates his labors and struggles for the gospel. Paul advises the Colossians that through a life with Christ, they are filled with strength and thankfulness. Paul warns of deceptive human traditions, false humility, and worship of angels. Paul advises the people of Colosse to not set their minds on earthly things. He also advises against sexual immorality, greed, and idolatry. Paul gives some commands for husbands, wives, children, fathers, slaves, and masters. Paul then advises the Colossians to pray, to be thankful and watchful. Paul ends his letter with some final greetings.
The Book of 1 Thessalonians is of the epistle genre. Paul opens his letter to the people of Thessalonica by letting them know he thanks God for their faith Jesus. He lets them know they are in his prayers. Paul writes about his visit to Thessalonica. Even though he had to leave them, he wants to visit again. Paul gives an account of Timothy’s report after visiting Thessalonica. The report is good news about their faith and love. Even though they are demonstrating faith and love in Jesus, Paul urges them to do so more and more. Paul reminds the Thessalonians that God will come down from heaven and those who believe in Christ will go with Him to live with Him forever. Paul instructs the people to live in peace with each other, to be joyful, pray, and avoid evil.
The Book of 2 Thessalonians is of the epistle genre. Paul opens his letter to the people of Thessalonica with thanksgiving and prayer. Paul warns the people to not be deceived of the time when God will return. He will not return until the “man of lawlessness is revealed” (2:3), and when man proclaims that he is God. Paul clarifies that lawlessness is the work of Satan who will display false miracles and signs. Paul advises the Thessalonians to stand firm and to remember the teachings of the gospel. Paul asks the people to pray for the spread of the gospel, and for deliverance from wickedness and evil. Paul warns against idleness. Paul ends the letter with his final greeting.
The Book of 1 Timothy is of the epistle genre. Paul opens his letter to Timothy with a warning against teachers of false doctrines. God’s work is by faith. Paul tells Timothy that he is thankful the strength from Jesus. Paul advises Timothy that prayers, intercession, requests, and thanksgiving be made for everyone. God wants everyone to be saved. Paul expresses his wishes for women to dress modestly and to be submissive to her husband. Paul advises what qualities an overseer must possess. Paul addresses what the Deacon’s attributes should be like. Paul advises Timothy on deceiving spirits. Paul reminds Timothy that everything God created is good. Paul instructs Timothy on being a good minister means having nothing to do with godless myths. Hold onto the promises for the present and future. Paul then gives advice about widows, elders, and slaves. Paul warns of love for money that leads to temptation. Paul tells Timothy to fight for faith, command people to be rich in good deeds, and turn away from opposing ideas.
The Book of 2 Timothy is of the epistle genre. Paul writes to Timothy to give him encouragement on being faithful. Paul encourages Timothy on his teachings and to avoid godless chatter. Paul writes about the last days being terrible. People will be out of control, conceited, disobedient, and filled with evil desires. These people will have rejected Jesus and not get far. People believing in Jesus will persecuted, but must stand strong in their faith. Paul instructs Timothy to preach the Word with patience. Paul tells Timothy it is time for him to depart this life. Paul tells Timothy that even though everyone deserted him, the Lord stood by his side. Paul asks Timothy to try to visit him before winter and ends the letter with his blessing.
The Book of Titus is of the epistle genre. Paul begins his letter to Titus with a synopsis of the mission in Crete. Titus was to appoint elders, and Paul gives the attributes the elders must possess. Paul instructs Titus on what should be taught to different groups of people. Paul instructs Titus to teach the people to be obedient and peaceful to authorities. Paul reminds Titus through Jesus, the people of faith have His grace and hope of eternal life. Paul warns Titus of foolish controversies and arguments about the law. Paul asks that Titus visit him soon.
The Book of Philemon is of the epistle genre. As a prisoner, Paul writes to Philemon. Paul begins the letter with prayer and thanksgiving. Paul asks Philemon to welcome Onesimus back as a brother in Christ. Paul hopes to visit Philemon soon. Paul ends the letter with greetings from fellow believers.
The Book of Hebrews is of the epistle genre. The letter opens with a reminder of Jesus came for the purification of sins. The author gives warning to pay attention to not drift away from the gospel. Jesus brought about salvation through His suffering. Jesus’ honor is greater than Moses. Jesus is the high priest. The author writes of warnings and then reiterates Gods’ promise to Abraham. The author recounts the story of Melchizedek, the priest. The author then compares Jesus to Melchizedek. Jesus is the high priest of the new covenant. Christ was sacrificed to take away the sins of people. Christ’s sacrifice was for all sin. The author recounts what God has done for the people of Israel because of faith. Warning is given about refusing God. The book concludes with instructions to love others, honor marriage, and keep lives free from the love of money. More instructions follow on obeying leaders and praising Jesus.
The Book of James is of the epistle genre. James begins his letter by explaining that facing trials develops perseverance. Don’t be deceived; God does not tempt anyone. James advises that everyone should be quick to listen, but slow to speak. James addresses his fellow brothers in Christ that favoritism is forbidden. James advises faith and good deeds go hand in hand. James instructs how important it is to watch the tongue. James tells that to submit to God, He will come nearer to you. James warns about boasting and rich people. He encourages his brothers to be patient and to pray.
The Book of 1 Peter is of the epistle genre. Peter’s letter starts with praise to God. Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is a new birth of living hope. Peter tells the people to be self-controlled and set their hopes on the grace given by Christ. Because the people come to Jesus, they are the chosen people who now receive mercy. Peter advises the people to submit to authorities and rulers; wives to submit to their husbands. He advises all to live in harmony with each other. If the people suffer for what is right, they will be blessed. Peter instructs the people to love each other and offer hospitality. Peter also acknowledges that there will be painful sufferings for being a Christian, but do not be ashamed and praise God. Peter then addresses the elders and the young men.
The Book of 2 Peter is of the epistle genre. Peter instructs the people to make every effort to add to their faith, perseverance, and self-control. Peter reminds the recipients of his letter the prophecy of scripture. Peter then warns them of false prophets. Peter insists that the day of the Lord will come and His promise of a new heaven and a new earth will be kept. Peter advises the people to be on their guard, and to grow in their grace and knowledge of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Book of 1 John is of the epistle genre. John encourages believers with a reminder of the Word of life. The Word is the message from God how to walk in the light. John states that Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. John advises against loving anything in or of the world. John warns against antichrists. John declares that all people who believe in Jesus are children of God, therefore to love one another. John advises that the spirits need to be tested to see if they are from God. John reminds the recipients of the letter that everyone who believes in Jesus is born of God, and being born of God means that you can overcome the world. John concludes by stating that anyone born of God will be safe from evil.
The Book of 2 John is of the epistle genre. John warns of deceivers who do not acknowledge Jesus in the flesh. John advises not to let the deceivers into your home. John kept the letter short, as he was hopeful to visit soon.
The Book of 3 John is of the epistle genre. John writes a letter to Gaius to thank him for his faithfulness in truth. John criticizes Diotrephes for his gossip. John reminds Gaius that anyone does what is evil has not seen God, so do not imitate evil. John then states his letter is short because he plans on visiting soon.
The Book of Jude is of the epistle genre. Jude warns his readers of immoral men slipping secretly among the people of faith. Jude reminds the people the power of God. Jude tells the people to remember what Enoch prophesied about God judging the ungodly acts of sinners. Jude instructs the readers to persevere by prayer and faith. Jude also advises to show mercy to those who doubt.
The Book of Revelation is of the apocalyptic genre. John introduces himself and explains his vision. John addresses seven churches. John then describes the throne in heaven. John gives a description of the sealed scroll that only the Lamb could break. John watched the Lamb open the seals. After opening the sixth seal, four angels described the 144,000 that were sealed as servants of God. The Lamb opened the seventh seal and starts the seven trumpets. Each trumpet represents a catastrophe. With the seventh trumpet, John sees 144,000 sealed with the Father’s name written on their forehead. He also saw three angels proclaim judgment and then reap the harvest. Seven angels have seven bowls filled with seven plagues which is God’s wrath. Babylon is destroyed. The great multitude in heaven began celebrating because the salvation and glory belong to God. After a thousand years, Satan will make war, but is defeated. The dead are judged. New heaven, new earth, and new Jerusalem will exist. John concludes with a warning that anyone who adds to or takes away from the prophecy will be dealt with.
Link to Summaries of the Old Testament Books
- Summary of Old Testament Bible Books
A brief summary of each of the books of the Old Testament Bible and their genre.