The Library of Congress has more books about Jesus of Nazareth than any other historical character. In fact, more books have been written about Jesus than any other subject period. Of all these books, which would you recommend? There are four that we can recommend without reservation. They were the originals, and they have never been improved upon. Their Author is the Holy Spirit, and they are named, simply, “Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.” These four accounts of the life of Jesus the Christ comprise the first of the four sections of the New Testament.
BIOGRAPHIES OF CHRIST (4)
Matthew—Christ is the King of the Jews(28 chapters/ 1071 verses; reading time: 145 minutes). This book was written to Jewish readers and proved that Jesus was their long-awaited King (“king” used 20 times; cf. 2:2; 21:5; 25:34,40; 27:11,29,37,42).
Mark— Christ is the Servant of God(16 chapters/678 verses; reading time: 90 minutes). This book was written to Roman readers and emphasized Jesus as a Servant (“servant” used five times; cf. 9:35; 10:44; 12:2,4; 14:47).
Luke— Christ is the Son of Man(24 chapters /1151 verses; reading time: 155 minutes). This book was written to Gentiles and shows Jesus’ human side. He is referred to as the “Son of man” 25 times (e.g., 5:24; 6:5; 7:34; 9:22,26; 44,56, 58; 11:30; 12:8,10,40; 17:22,24,26,30; 18:8,31; 19:10; 21:27).
John— Christ is the Son of God(21 chapters/879 verses; reading time: 121 minutes). This book was written later than the others and serves as a supplement to the others. It repeats little of what is recorded in the previous three. Jesus is shown decisively to be the “Son of God” (“Son of God” is found ten times; cf. 1:34,49; 3:18; 5:25; 9:35; 10:36; 11:4,27; 19:7; 20:31).
Why have four accounts of the same life? These books are portraits that present four different poses as one unique personality. Jesus is presented as Lord and Savior, rather than describing all He did in the precise order in which He did it. They center in the Messiah’s threefold ministry of Prophet, Priest, and King (cf. Heb. 1:1-3). As Prophet, fulfilling Moses’ great prediction (Deut. 18:15-19), He was the Prophet who spoke not merely for God as the prophets before Him, but God spoke through Him as His Son (Heb. 1:1,2). As a Priest, Christ became both the Sacrifice and the Sacrificer as He died on the cross to save sinners (Heb. 9:14), and through His resurrection lives eternally to make intercession for them (Heb. 7:25). As King, He ascended back to heaven to reign over His kingdom until He comes to deliver it to His Father (1 Cor. 15:24-26).
Would you like to learn more about Jesus? Read these four books in your Bible (17 days @ 30 minutes/day)!
The New Testament is divided into four sections, 260 chapters, and 7,959 verses. The four sections are: Biography, History, Letters, and Prophecy. There are four biography books about Jesus’ life (Matthew-John), one book on church history (Acts), twenty-one letters to churches and Christians (Romans – Jude), and one book of prophecy (Revelation). (The sequence is easy to remember: 4-1-21-1.) Christ is the central theme of every section, and every book, of the New Testament (cf. Heb. 10:7).
ACTS OF APOSTLES—HISTORY OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST (28 chapters / 1007 verses)
The Book of Acts proposes to show the continuation “of all that Jesus began both to do and teach” (1:1). It contains the acts Jesus carried out after His ascension, through the Holy Spirit and His apostles, in establishing the church and saving lost souls. The Book provides a condensed history of the early church, an eyewitness account of the miraculous spread of the Gospel from Jerusalem to Rome. In the Book, one can follow the church’s growth from its birth to maturity. It grew from a small group in one city, to thousands in all the major cities of the Roman empire. The most important lesson to be learned in this book is how to become a part of the same church today. If we do what they did, we will become what they became (Christians, nothing more, nothing less). In Acts, they heard the preaching of the Word (Acts 2:36,37), believed in the Christ as God’s Son (Acts 8:37), repented of past sins (Acts 2:38), confessed Christ (Acts 8:37), and were immersed for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16). In Acts, becoming a part of the church was equal to being saved from sin since God placed the saved in the church (2:47).
The author the Spirit used for the book is Luke. Called “the beloved physician” by Paul (see Col. 4:14), Luke was a doctor Paul met in Troas (16:8–11). He cared for Paul during the illnesses he suffered on his missionary endeavors. Paul’s references to Luke in 2 Timothy 4:11 and Philemon 24 portray Luke as Paul’s faithful traveling companion. The key verse in the book is 1:8, showing the threefold geographic description of the spread of the Gospel from Jerusalem to Rome. Acts is called the “Acts of the Apostles,” yet Luke traces only the work of Peter (chs. 1–12) and Paul (chs. 13–28).
Keys to Opening the Book of Acts:
- Author: Luke
- Key Verses:1:8; 2:1-4,38,41,47
- Key Chapter: 2
- Date: About a.d.62
- Themes: The Early History of Christianity, the Growth of the Church, How to be Saved from Sin.
- Key Words: Jesus, Spirit, Resurrection, Apostle, Church, Baptism