This 16-chapter letter is comprised mainly of troubleshooting, confronting, exhorting, and correcting. No other New Testament letter gives the pastor of a church in conflict a broader base of preaching material as he leads his flock out of carnal dangers and into new territory of purity and unity.
As we explore the deep, rich mine of God’s truth in Romans, we do so with great gratitude to Him who led Paul to write these words. Like no other book of the Bible, Romans forms the doctrinal cornerstone of Christianity. Because it touches on every major belief of Christianity, it is foundational to our faith.
The Church is like a mighty army marching through time deliberately, confidently, victoriously…spurred on by the promise of its Founder that the gates of Hades will not overpower it. No other book in the Bible underscores the richness and courage of our heritage better than the book of Acts. And no other book affirms more clearly our God-given power to persevere. We may be small in number, but no remnant was ever surer of its destiny.
The fourth Gospel is considered a primer on the essential basics of Christianity. In the book of John, Christ is clearly and pre-eminently exalted as deity. In simple (yet profound) terms, Jesus is set forth so that all may believe He is indeed the Son of God. Hopefully, this lesson, which provides a bird’s-eye view of the 21 chapters in John, will help all of us realize eternal life begins with Christ.
Dr. Luke, Paul’s travelling companion, was probably the only Gentile writer of any part of the New Testament. His Gospel focuses on providing a complete account of the life of Jesus. Certainly, none of the other three evangelists gave us a more detailed or descriptive analysis of the Saviour’s birth, childhood, and manhood.
Although the shortest of the four Gospels, the book of Mark wastes no words portraying the Saviour as a servant to others. The tone is practical, which appealed to the Roman mindset. We want to observe the Servant at work in this account of His life, noticing especially how clearly the key verse of the book (Mark 10:45) outlines the two major phases of His earthly existence and ministry.
Matthew, a tax collector by trade, wrote his book to emphasize Christ, the King. The book includes numerous facts and expressions, which would have appealed to the Jewish reader. The fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and the presentation of Jesus as Messiah are clearly emphasized. When we understand the book of Matthew we bow before King Jesus, the promised Messiah of Israel.
We now begin the second phase of our safari through Scripture. Having concluded our study of the Old Testament, we need to complete the picture by getting a grip on the New Testament…God’s final word to humanity. Our desire is to see all 27 books as a whole—to see how they fit together, how they relate to us, and the value of each section to the person who reads and believes the Bible. Of special interest is the “flow” of thought carried through these books and letters of the New Testament.
All of us need heroes to inspire and challenge us to live authentic lives of integrity. Centuries ago, one such hero of integrity kept himself afloat in the swamps of ethical compromise. His name was Daniel, and he serves as an example of authenticity for us to become heroes in our own generation. A life well lived not only inspires others but also results in great rewards both in this world and in the world to come.
A silent battle rages in every one of us: the conflict between the sin of pride and the virtue of humility—the desire for significance versus the goal to be Christ-like. We should not be surprised that when God led the prophet Micah to tell us what He expects of us, He included “Walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). Contrary to popular opinion, humility—not self-promotion—marks the path of a life well lived.