A simple summary of the Bible
This post is a summary by MissionAssist of the main message of each book in the Bible. It uses EasyEnglish which is clear and simple English. It is suitable for those whose first language is not English.
There are 66 books in the Bible – the first 39 books are the Old Testament and the remainder are the New Testament. The Old Testament describes events before the birth of Christ and the New Testament describes events after the birth of Christ.
- Genesis is the first book in the Old Testament section of the Bible.
The book of Genesis explains that God created a beautiful world (Genesis 1). But the first people did not obey God (Genesis 3). Everyone suffers because of this.
Genesis is a history book. It tells the life stories of many important people. For example, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob, and Joseph and his brothers.
Jesus was born 1600 years after the events at the end of Genesis. But even in the book of Genesis, God promised that Jesus would come. See Genesis 3:15, Galatians 3:6-20, Hebrews 7 and Hebrews 11:1-22.
- Exodus is a history book and a law book.
The people called Hebrews were slaves in Egypt. God sent Moses to free them (Exodus 3). The people in Egypt did not want to free these slaves. But God caused many terrible troubles in Egypt. These troubles forced the people in Egypt to free their Hebrew slaves. So, the Hebrew people left Egypt.
God promised the land called Israel to the Hebrew people. But the journey to Israel was through a desert. God did many wonderful things to help the people through the desert. God provided water (Exodus 17) and food (Exodus 16).
Moses met God at a mountain called Sinai (Exodus 19). There, God gave the law to Moses (Exodus chapters 20-30). Moses made a special tent where the priests would serve God (Exodus chapters 35-40).
- The book of Leviticus is about the law of God. The law teaches us that God is holy. The book of Leviticus contains many rules for the Hebrew people. But we do not obey all the rules in Leviticus today, because we trust Jesus (see Galatians 3:23-25).
The book of Leviticus also describes the duties of priests during the time of the Old Testament (and the gospels). And, in Leviticus 23, there is a list of special holidays, when the Hebrew people praised God together.
God also told the people that they must kill animals. And, they gave these animals to God. The people did this so that God would forgive their evil deeds (Leviticus chapters 1-7). This teaches us why Jesus had to die. Jesus died so that today, God forgives our evil deeds. We must confess our evil deeds to God. And we must invite God into our lives.
- The book of Numbers is a law book and a history book. It is the story of the people whom Moses led through the desert. Moses counted the people in Numbers 1 and Numbers 26.
The people did not always obey God. They complained about the food in the desert (Numbers 11 and Numbers 21). They refused to enter the land that God had promised to them (Numbers 13). They even wanted to return to Egypt (Numbers 14). This is why they were in the desert for 40 years.
The book of Numbers also tells the story of Balaam. Balaam was a foreign prophet (holy man). Balaam intended to announce an evil fate for the people. But instead, Balaam saw that God was with them. Balaam spoke only the words that God wanted him to say. So, Balaam blessed the people (Numbers chapters 22-24).
- Deuteronomy is the last book about Moses.
The book of Deuteronomy contains the instructions that Moses gave to the people, just before his death. He reminded them about the things that happened in the desert. He taught them God’s law. He encouraged them to obey God. Then, God would help them; and good things would happen. But if they did not obey God, they would suffer (Deuteronomy 28).
Moses was the greatest prophet (holy man) in the Old Testament. But God did not allow Moses to lead the people into Israel. Moses appointed Joshua to lead the people after Moses’ death.
- The book of Joshua is a history book. Joshua led God’s people after Moses died. Joshua brought the people into the land that God had promised to them. And he commanded their army in many battles against evil nations. God helped Joshua to win these battles. Joshua’s first battle was the battle of Jericho (Joshua 6).
Joshua also directed the people to obey God’s law (Joshua 5, Joshua 7 and Joshua 24). The book of Joshua also contains records about the division of land (Joshua chapters 13-21).
- The book of Judges is a history book. But it does not only contain history. It also teaches us to trust God more.
The book of Judges contains the history of about 300 years when Israel had no king. Instead, God appointed special people, called ‘judges’ to lead the people. These ‘judges’ were not like judges today. They were holy men (and one woman), whom God called. They led the people in battles. And they helped the people to serve God.
When there was a judge, the people obeyed God. And God helped the people in their battles against their enemies. But, when there was no judge, the people forgot God. And God allowed their enemies to be strong. So, the people asked God to help. And then, God appointed another judge. (Judges 2:16-19).
Some of the famous judges were Deborah (Judges chapters 4-5), Gideon (Judges chapters 6-8) and Samson (Judges chapters 13-16).
- The book of Ruth is a beautiful story.
The book of Ruth is about a young widow, Ruth. Ruth was a foreigner. But she came to Israel to help Naomi. (Naomi was Ruth’s husband’s mother.) Ruth left her own gods, to serve the real God. Naomi and Ruth were very poor. But Ruth could collect any grain that remained after the harvest. This was God’s law. And one man who respected this law was called Boaz. So, Ruth came to Boaz’s field to collect grain. Boaz saw Ruth and he loved her. He agreed to pay her family’s debts, so that he could marry Ruth.
Ruth was just a poor foreigner. But her family became Israel’s royal family. Both King David and Jesus belonged to this family.
- 1 Samuel is a history book This book teaches us that we must always obey God.
1 Samuel tells the story of the first king of Israel. For many centuries, Israel had no kings. The people did whatever they wanted to do. But God appointed special judges to lead the people. The last of these special judges was Samuel (1 Samuel 7:15). Samuel was a very holy man.
When Samuel was old, the people asked Samuel to appoint a king (1 Samuel 8). God told Samuel to appoint Saul. Saul sometimes obeyed God. But sometimes, Saul was evil.
So, God chose David to be king instead of Saul (1 Samuel 16). David trusted God. We see this when David fought Goliath (1 Samuel 17). And David loved God. But David did not become king immediately. Saul was still the king. David respected Saul. David even refused to attack Saul. The book of 1 Samuel ends with the story of Saul’s death.
- 2 Samuel is a history book. We can learn many lessons for our own lives from the events in this book.
The book of 2 Samuel is about King David. The book discusses the events while David was king. David’s soldiers fought many wars. They obtained the city of Jerusalem in a successful battle (2 Samuel 5). Jerusalem became their capital city.
David loved God. David was a good king, but he made some terrible errors. He had sex with a married woman called Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11). And David ordered the death of Bathsheba’s husband. Later, David confessed his evil deed to God (Psalm 51).
Afterwards, David’s own son, Absalom, fought against David (2 Samuel 18). But God saved David from all his enemies (2 Samuel 22).
- 1 Kings is a book about the history of the people called Israelites. The books of Kings continue the story that began in the books of Samuel. In these history books, the Bible contains many examples which teach how we should live (2 Timothy 3:16).
1 Kings begins with the story of Solomon. Solomon was a wise king at first (1 Kings 3). Then he became rich (1 Kings 10:14-29). He built a temple (house of God) in Jerusalem (1 Kings 6). But then Solomon took many wives. When he was old, they encouraged him to serve evil gods (1 Kings 11).
After Solomon died, there was a revolution. The country called Israel became two countries. The south was called Judah. Rehoboam was the first king of Judah. The north was still called Israel. Here Jeroboam became king (1 Kings 12).
The writer wants to teach a lesson. When the kings obeyed God, the people were at peace. When the kings did not obey God, but served other gods, bad things happened. When the people of Israel stopped serving God, he sent a prophet (a holy man). He was Elijah. He did wonderful things. He told the people to serve God again.
- 2 Kings continues the story of the nations of Israel and Judah. It is a history book. In these history books, the Bible contains many important lessons for us today (2 Timothy 3:16).
2 Kings describes how the kings of these nations refused to obey God’s law. The kings and their people did not respect God. Instead, they served evil gods. And the behavior of the people was very wicked. However, there were a few people who truly served God. And God sent His servants (called “the prophets”) to warn the evil people.
But the nations of Israel and Judah would not obey the words of the prophets. God allowed enemy nations (Assyria and Babylon) to attack. These nations destroyed Israel and (later) Judah. And the soldiers took the inhabitants of Israel and Judah to distant countries. But God still cared about the people from Israel and Judah. God promised that, in the future, these people (or their children or grandchildren) would return home.
2 Kings begins with the end of the story of Elijah. Elijah was a great prophet of God. And God did not allow Elijah to die. Instead, Elijah went up to heaven. Elijah’s companion was a man named Elisha. Elisha saw Elijah rise to heaven, in a vehicle of fire (2 Kings 2).
Elisha himself became a great prophet. Indeed, Elisha’s work was even greater than Elijah’s work. God gave Elisha power to do many wonderful things, for example:
- Elisha caused a dead child to live (2 Kings 4:8-37).
- Elisha made poisonous food safe (2 Kings 4:38-41).
- By God’s power, Elisha cured Naaman. Naaman was the captain of a foreign army (2 Kings 5).
- Israel even won battles without a fight, because of Elisha (2 Kings 6:8-23).
The king of Israel, Joram, saw these wonderful things. But he was still an evil king. He still served false gods. And his wicked mother, Queen Jezebel, was still alive.
Then, God sent Elisha to a man named Jehu. Elisha appointed Jehu king of Israel. Jehu killed both Joram and Jezebel. God had promised that these evil rulers would die a terrible death. Jehu also killed many other evil people. Jehu even killed the priests of the false god named Baal. But Jehu still served other false gods. So, even Jehu did not truly serve the real God (2 Kings 9-10).
There were also terrible troubles in the nation of Judah. Queen Athaliah tried to kill the whole royal family. But a little boy named Joash survived. A priest named Jehoida helped Joash. Joash was 7 years old when the army captains killed Queen Athaliah. Then, Joash became king (2 Kings 11). And for many years, Joash was a good king. He repaired the temple (house of God) in Jerusalem. But after Jehoida died, Joash did some evil things. He took some holy objects from the temple. And then, he killed Jehoida’s son, who was a prophet (holy man) (2 Chronicles 24:22). Soon afterwards, Joash’s officials killed Joash (2 Kings 12).
After this, there were many evil kings. There were wars. There was even a war between Israel and Judah. And there were also some prophets (holy men). The prophet Jonah lived at this time.
The last king of Israel was called Hoshea. The king of the nation of Assyria attacked Israel. And he destroyed Israel (2 Kings 17). The king of Assyria gave the land to people from other countries. These people served God, but they also served false gods. God does not like this (syncretism). We must serve the real God only.
The nation of Judah still existed. Its next king was a good king named Hezekiah. Hezekiah trusted God, but he made some important mistakes. When Hezekiah was in trouble, he prayed to God. So God sent the prophet Isaiah to Hezekiah. And God helped Hezekiah (2 Kings chapters 18-20).
Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh, was very evil. Manasseh served terrible gods. He was a cruel man, who killed innocent people. God was angry when he saw these evil actions. So, God decided to destroy the nation of Judah, too (2 Kings 21:1-18).
But then, Josiah became king. Josiah was Manasseh’s grandson. He was just a boy when he became king. Josiah was a good king. In fact, he was Judah’s greatest ever king (2 Kings chapters 22-23). Josiah served God. Josiah loved God’s law. Josiah encouraged the people to trust God. And Josiah repaired God’s temple (the house of God). So, God was kind to the nation of Judah. And God did not punish Judah during Josiah’s life.
But, after Josiah’s death, all the kings of Judah were evil. God allowed Nebuchadnezzar (king of Babylon) to attack Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the capital city of Judah. And Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem. He destroyed the whole country called Judah. This was very sad. Jeremiah (who was another prophet) wrote about this event in the book of Lamentations.
When the kings served God, God helped them. But when the kings did evil things, God opposed them. God sent His servants, the prophets, to warn the kings. But when the kings refused to obey the prophets, God punished their nations.
We should learn from the book of 2 Kings. We must serve God only. We must not serve false gods. And, we must listen to God’s words. If we do evil deeds, God might send someone to warn us. So, we must listen to other people’s advice.
- 1 Chronicles is a history book. The books of Chronicles contain the same story as the books of Samuel and Kings. But the books of Chronicles also contain many official records and lists of people.
1 Chronicles contains the story of king David. Especially, the book describes his plans for the temple (the house of God in Jerusalem). David gave careful instructions to the priests. He wanted everyone to serve God properly.
- 2 Chronicles contains the story of the kings of Israel. It discusses the 400 years after king David.
2 Chronicles describes the great temple (house of God) that Solomon built in Jerusalem. This building was a great work for God. The temple was a very beautiful building. And the priests and people came to the temple to pray.
After Solomon died, his country divided into two countries. 2 Chronicles describes the kings of both these countries and their work. Some of these kings were good kings, who served God. But most of these kings were very evil. They did not obey God’s law. They served false gods. And these kings were cruel to the people. So, God allowed the enemies of these two countries (Assyria and Babylon) to attack. And the enemies destroyed both countries.
- God’s special people, the Jews, did not obey God. So He punished them. He allowed the king of Babylon and his army to defeat them. The king of Babylon ordered most Jews to live in Babylon. Babylon was a long way from their own country, called Judah.
Many years later, the army from Persia defeated the army from Babylon. The book of Ezra in the Bible tells us that the king of Persia allowed the Jews to return to their own land. Not all the Jews returned to Judah, but some did return.
The Jews started to rebuild a temple (house of God) in Jerusalem. But the people who lived near them did not want the Jews back in the land. They opposed the Jews so that the Jews did not continue to build the temple. Many years later, God helped the Jews and they finished the building.
Many years after that, Ezra led another group of Jews who returned to Judah. Ezra was a teacher who taught the people from God’s word. God sent Ezra to teach the people so that they would become God’s special people again. Often the people did not obey God’s word, but Ezra continued to teach them. He told them how to live in a way that would please God.
- God’s special people, the Jews, did not obey God. So He punished them. He allowed the king of Babylon and his army to defeat them. The king of Babylon ordered most Jews to live in Babylon. Babylon was a long way from their country, called Judah.
Many years later, the army from Persia defeated the army from Babylon. The king of Persia allowed the Jews to return to their own land. Only some of the Jews returned to Judah.
Many years later a man called Hanani left Judah to visit his brother, Nehemiah. Nehemiah was an important servant of the king of Persia. Nehemiah asked Hanani for news about Jerusalem, which was the chief city in Judah. Hanani told Nehemiah that the walls of Jerusalem were only heaps of stones. Fire had burned the gates of the city.
This news made Nehemiah very sad. So Nehemiah asked the king to send him to Jerusalem to build the walls of the city again. The book of Nehemiah in the Bible tells the story of how Nehemiah and the people built the walls of Jerusalem again. The people who lived near Jerusalem did not want the Jews to build the city again. They opposed the Jews and tried to stop the work. But God helped them and they finished the work in 52 days.
God wanted the Jews to become His special people again. So Nehemiah, with the help of Ezra, helped the people to obey God. But often the people did not obey God’s word. They had forgotten that God had punished the people many years earlier. He did that because they did not obey Him. God had allowed a foreign king to defeat the Jews. That was why the city of Jerusalem needed these repairs.
- Esther belonged to God’s special people, the Jews. Esther and many other Jews lived in the land called Persia. Persia was a long way from their own land.
The king of Persia was angry with the queen and he sent her away. Then he searched for another wife who would be the new queen. He chose Esther.
One of the king’s chief officials, called Haman, hated the Jews and he plotted to destroy them. But Esther’s uncle Mordecai asked Esther to speak to the king to save the Jews. Although Esther was the queen, Mordecai was asking her to do a dangerous thing. People could not go to see the king if he had not invited them. But Esther did what Mordecai asked. The king was pleased with her and listened to her. The king gave to the evil Haman the punishment that Haman had wanted to give to the Jews.
The book of Esther does not mention the name of God. This is strange for a book that is in the Bible. Sometimes God seems to be silent. We might even think that He does not care about us. The writer of the book of Esther probably wanted his readers to realise that God is always in control. Although we cannot see God, He is always doing things in the world. Nobody can stop His plans. The events in the book of Esther show us that God is in control.
- The book of Job is a long poem. The book of Job discusses why innocent people suffer. God cares about people who suffer troubles. And God will help them, although sometimes they must be patient.
Job was a good man. But Job lost all his possessions. Job’s children died. Job became so ill that he wanted to die. But Job refused to insult God.
Job’s friends supposed that Job was ill because of his evil deeds. But Job was innocent. Then, a wise man named Elihu explained the truth to Job and his friends. And God proved to them that God is great. God also showed them that He cares. Finally, God wanted Job to pray for his friends. In the end, God made Job successful again.
- The book of Psalms is a collection of 150 ancient songs. King David wrote many psalms (that is, songs).
There are many different subjects. Many Psalms are glad songs which praise God (for example, Psalms 103 and 150). Other Psalms are sad prayers (Psalm 74). Some Psalms explain that God will rescue us from our troubles (Psalms 40 and 41). And some Psalms are about the history of Israel (Psalms 74 and 78). Psalm 119 is about the Bible. In Psalm 51, David confesses an evil deed. Psalm 22 describes how Jesus would suffer. Psalm 2 tells us that God will rule the world. Psalm 1 teaches that we must love God.
The Psalms are a very special part of the Bible. We can learn many things about God from their beautiful words.
- The book of Proverbs is a collection of articles about wisdom. Its main author was King Solomon.
The book of Proverbs teaches that we must respect God. This is the most important lesson about wisdom.
The book of Proverbs begins with Solomon’s advice to his son. In Proverbs chapters 1-9, Solomon explains the choice between wise behavior and foolish behavior. Good people are wise because they respect God. But evil people are fools. God will punish evil people. So, Solomon advised his son to study wisdom.
In Proverbs chapters 10-22, there are 375 proverbs (wise words). These proverbs teach us how to be wise in many different situations. Then, there are 30 wise lessons (Proverbs chapters 22-24), many more proverbs (Proverbs chapters 25-29), two hard puzzles, and a poem (Proverbs chapters 30-31).
- We do not know who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. Many people think that the author of Ecclesiastes was King Solomon. However, in the book, the author simply calls himself ‘The Teacher’.
Solomon was very wise. But he did not know the purpose of his own life. He discovered that pleasure achieved nothing. He realized that even a wise man would die like a fool. And he did not know the purpose of work (Ecclesiastes 2). He even saw that money has no real value (Ecclesiastes 5).
Solomon did know that rulers should be fair (Ecclesiastes 8). And everybody must respect God (Ecclesiastes 5). And he believed that wisdom is good (Ecclesiastes 9:13-18).
Solomon warned that everybody will die (Ecclesiastes 12). So, we must respect God now. We should not delay.
- The Song of Songs is also called the Song of Solomon. This book is a beautiful love poem.
The Song of Solomon is the story of the king and the woman that he loves. So, he asks her to marry him. But she hesitates. And he encourages her. In the end, they marry. They are glad to be together. They love each other deeply.
The Song of Solomon teaches us that God loves His people. Elsewhere, the Bible describes Christians as ‘the bride of Christ’ (2 Corinthians 11:2).
- Isaiah was a prophet (holy man). God appointed Isaiah to warn the people in Judah. The people were evil. So, they should ask God to forgive them. Isaiah lived before Ezekiel and Jeremiah.
Isaiah described the future of many countries (Isaiah chapters 13-24). But especially, he warned his own people in Judah and Israel (Isaiah chapters 28-31).
But this book also contains many happy words. Isaiah wrote about a child who would have no human father (Isaiah 7:14). This child would become king (Isaiah 9:6). He would rule fairly (Isaiah 32). And the people would be glad (Isaiah 35). So, God will comfort His people (Isaiah 40). This child would be God’s servant (Isaiah 42). But people would not accept Him. God’s servant would die so that God will forgive us. Then, God’s servant would live again (Isaiah 53). Everyone must trust Him (Isaiah 55). God will forgive the people who confess their evil deeds to God (Isaiah 59). So, God Himself will rescue His people (Isaiah 63). We now know that Isaiah wrote these words about Jesus.
- Jeremiah was a prophet (holy man). God chose Jeremiah as a prophet when Jeremiah was a young man (Jeremiah 1). Jeremiah lived at the same time as the last kings of Judah. Jeremiah warned the people that God would punish them (Jeremiah 4). They must return to God. Otherwise, they would suffer terrible troubles (Jeremiah chapters 14-16).
God wanted the people to trust Him. But they refused (Jeremiah 18). So, God told Jeremiah that the people must serve their enemies for 70 years (Jeremiah 25). But then, people from Israel would return to their land (Jeremiah chapters 30-33).
Jeremiah also wrote about the future of other nations (Jeremiah chapters 46-51). And Jeremiah knew that God would send Jesus (Jeremiah 23:1-8, Jeremiah 31:31-37, and Jeremiah 33).
- Lamentations is a book of very sad poems.
Jeremiah wrote the book of Lamentations after soldiers from Babylon destroyed Jerusalem. Jerusalem had been a beautiful city. The temple (house of God) was in Jerusalem. But the soldiers destroyed the buildings. They killed many people (Lamentations 2:21). They led the young men away to Babylon. The soldiers even forced the young women to have sex with them (Lamentations 5:11-13).
Jeremiah saw these terrible events. And he knew why these things happened. They happened because the people in Jerusalem had not obeyed God’s law. The people prayed to evil gods. And the people were very evil. God sent His servants to warn the people. But the people did not change their behaviour. So, God punished them (2 Chronicles 36:14-17).
Jeremiah was very sad when he wrote Lamentations. But he still had hope. Between his sad words, he wrote about God’s love. Jeremiah knew that God cares (Lamentations 3:22-33).
Jeremiah wanted the people to trust God again (Lamentations 3:40-42). And Jeremiah knew that God would not always punish His people (Lamentations 4:22). Jeremiah prayed that the people could return to Jerusalem (Lamentations 5:21).
- Ezekiel was a prophet (holy man) who lived at the same time as the last kings of Judah. God showed Ezekiel events that would happen in the future. God told Ezekiel that Ezekiel must warn the people about these events (Ezekiel 33).
God would punish Judah because its people did not obey God’s law. Their enemies would surround Jerusalem, which was Judah’s capital city (Ezekiel chapters 4-5). God would leave His temple (the house of God in Jerusalem) – Ezekiel 10. This was because the leaders of Judah served false gods (Ezekiel 8). And the soldiers from Babylon would destroy Jerusalem (Ezekiel 21). God would also punish other evil nations (Ezekiel chapters 25-32).
But God still cared about His people (Ezekiel 37). God would send someone from David’s family to be their leader (Ezekiel 37:24-28). We now know that this person was Jesus.
God also showed Ezekiel a picture of a new temple in the future (Ezekiel chapters 40-48). God Himself would return to this temple (Ezekiel 43).
- God’s special people, the Jews, did not obey God. So God punished them. He allowed the king of Babylon and his army to defeat them. The king of Babylon forced most Jews to live in Babylon. Babylon was a long way from their own country.
A young man called Daniel was among the people who went to live in Babylon.
The first part of the book of Daniel in the Bible tells some stories from the life of Daniel and his friends. Many times the people of Babylon tried to make them forget the real God and to serve false gods. The people of Babylon even tried to kill Daniel and his friends because they would not serve the false gods. But Daniel and his friends were loyal to the real God. Daniel became a very important man in the government of Babylon.
The second part of the book of Daniel tells about Daniel’s dreams. These were strange dreams. Sometimes Daniel was awake when he had his dreams. These were special dreams that God sent to Daniel to tell him what would happen in the future. Some things that Daniel saw in his dreams have now happened. Other things that God told Daniel in his dreams have not happened yet. But God is in control of the future. God will do what He has promised.
- Hosea was a prophet (holy man). God told Hosea to marry a wife who was not loyal (Hosea 1). Hosea loved his wife. He tried to persuade his wife to remain with him. His wife was not loyal to him. But Hosea still loved her. And he still wanted her to be his wife (Hosea 3).
Hosea’s troubles with his wife were like God’s troubles with Israel. The people in Israel were not loyal to God. God loved them. But they were very evil. So, God would punish them for their evil deeds. But afterwards, the people from Israel would trust in God again. They would confess their evil deeds to God. God would forgive them. And He would love them again (Hosea 14).
- Joel was a prophet (holy man). The book of Joel describes some terrible events. Joel called these events ‘the Day of God’. A terrible army would attack Jerusalem. They would destroy everything. Nobody could escape from this army. So, the people must confess their evil deeds to God. Even when these terrible things happen, they must ask God to save them (Joel 2:12-17).
Then, God will be kind to His people. He will hear their prayers. He will cause this terrible army to leave. He will provide food for his people. And He will send His Spirit on all people (Joel 2:28-32).
God will also punish the nations that attack Jerusalem (Joel 3:1-16). But God will protect His own people always (Joel 3:17-21).
- Amos was not a prophet (holy man). Amos looked after sheep. But God sent Amos with a message to his nation (Amos 7:14-15).
Amos knew that many nations were evil. Because of these evil deeds, God would punish the nations (Amos chapters 1-2).
But Amos’s own nation, Israel, was also evil. They were cruel to poor people. The judges were not fair in court. And they served evil gods. Amos warned his people that they must confess their evil deeds to God. And they must learn to do the right things (Amos 5). Otherwise, God would allow Israel’s enemies to attack (Amos chapters 6-9). And these enemies would destroy the nation.
But God would not always punish the people from Israel. After these terrible punishments, God would allow some of the people to return to their own land (Amos 9:11-15).
- Obadiah was a prophet (holy man). The book of Obadiah contains a short message about the country called Edom. The people from Edom were relatives of the people from Israel. But the inhabitants of Edom refused to help when the people from Israel suffered. So, God would punish the people from Edom for this evil deed. God would destroy their country.
In the future, people who trust God will live in Edom.
- God sent Jonah to Nineveh. Nineveh was an enemy of Jonah’s country, Israel. So, Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh.
Jonah tried to escape God. He tried to travel elsewhere, by ship. But there was a terrible storm. Jonah knew that God had caused the storm. So, he asked the sailors to throw him into the sea. But Jonah did not drown, because God sent a large fish to swallow Jonah. Then, Jonah prayed to God again. He thanked God, who had rescued him (Jonah 2). And God caused the fish to return Jonah to the dry land.
So, Jonah went to Nineveh. He warned the people that they must confess their evil deeds to God. Otherwise, God would destroy their nation. The people obeyed Jonah. So, God forgave the people in Nineveh. God did not destroy Nineveh at this time.
But Jonah was sad, because Nineveh was his enemy. Jonah wanted God to destroy Nineveh. But God told Jonah that God cares about the people from every nation.
- Micah was a prophet (holy man). Micah warned the people in Israel and Judah (Micah 1). God would punish them for their evil deeds. The people had cruel schemes. They were thieves. And they listened to false prophets (false holy men) whose words were lies (Micah 2).
God did not want terrible things to happen. God wants to teach people. And He wants the nations to be at peace (chapter 4). God promised to send a leader for Israel. This leader would be from Bethlehem. We now know that this leader was Jesus (Micah 5:1-5).
So, God accused the people (Micah 6). God did not want their gifts (Micah 6:6). God wanted them to be humble and to do the right things (Micah 6:8). But they refused to obey God. They were proud, and they did many evil deeds. This is why God would punish them (Micah 6:9-16).
But afterwards, when the people served God, Israel would become a great nation again (Micah 7:7-20).
- Nahum was a prophet (holy man). He wrote about a country (Assyria) which was an enemy of Israel. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria. The people in Nineveh were very evil (Nahum 3:1).
The people from Nineveh were also cruel to the people in other countries. But God cares about the people who trust Him (Nahum 1:7). So, God would send the enemies of Nineveh to destroy Nineveh. God would end Nineveh’s cruelty.
But God would help His own people, Israel. And Israel would become a great nation again (Nahum 1:15).
- Habakkuk was a prophet (holy man). In his book, Habakkuk complained twice to God. Habakkuk asked God why good people must suffer. And, Habakkuk asks why cruel people seem to succeed.
Firstly, Habakkuk complained that the rulers of his country were wicked. God replied that soldiers from Babylon would attack these wicked rulers (Habakkuk 1:2-11).
But Habakkuk complained to God again. Habakkuk said that God allows cruel people to attack good people (Habakkuk 1:12 to Habakkuk 2:1). God replied that He would punish cruel people. But this does not always happen immediately. But God told Habakkuk to write this down, because God will definitely punish evil people. (Habakkuk 2:2-20).
So, good people must trust God (Habakkuk 2:4). The time will come when God will rule the whole world (Habakkuk 2:14).
The book of Habakkuk ends with a Psalm (song) – Habakkuk 3. This song says that God will rescue His people.
- Zephaniah was a prophet (holy man). Zephaniah explained that God would punish many countries because of their evil deeds (Zephaniah chapters 1-2). God would also punish the evil people in Jerusalem (Zephaniah 3:1-5).
So, the people should pray to God (Zephaniah 2:1-3). They must confess their evil deeds to God. And they must be humble.
When these terrible punishments happen, God will protect the people who trust Him (Zephaniah 3:9-13). God will rescue them. He loves them. And He will make them glad (Zephaniah 3:14-20).
- Haggai was a prophet (holy man). He lived at the same time as Zechariah. Then, some people from Israel had returned from Babylon. They rebuilt their own houses in Jerusalem. Haggai explained why they were poor. He said that God was not blessing them.
Haggai told them that they should also rebuild God’s temple (the house of God) – Haggai 1.
The new temple was small. But God told Haggai that it would be greater than the old temple (Haggai 2). And now, God would bless the people because they had rebuilt the temple.
- Zechariah was a prophet (holy man). Zechariah lived at the same time as Haggai. God showed Zechariah many strange pictures to encourage the people in Jerusalem. These pictures explained good things that God would do in the future.
Zechariah wrote about some things that would happen during his own life. And we now know that Zechariah wrote some things about Jesus. Jesus is both a priest and a king (Zechariah 6:12-13). Zechariah describes Jesus’ death in Zechariah 12:10.
Some things that Zechariah described have not happened yet (Zechariah 14). These things will happen in the future.
- Malachi was a prophet (holy man). The book of Malachi is the last book in the Bible’s Old Testament.
Malachi said that God accused the people. They were doing many wrong things. They did not give the best gifts to God (Malachi 1:6-14). The priests did not teach well (Malachi 2:1-9). The men divorced their wives without a proper reason (Malachi 2:13-16).
But God Himself would come to His temple (the house of God) (Malachi 3:1-5). But before this, God would send His special servant. This servant would teach the correct way to serve God. Then, the people would be ready for God’s arrival. This was good news for the people who respected God. But this was terrible news for the people who refused to obey God (Malachi 4).
Malachi’s book was written after all the other books in the Old Testament. 400 years later, Jesus came. But before Jesus began His work, a special servant of God taught near the river Jordan. This servant of God was called John the Baptist. John taught the people that they must confess their evil deeds to God. He taught that they must prepare themselves for the arrival of the Christ. (The ‘Christ’ means God’s king. Many Old Testament prophets taught that the Christ would save us from the punishment for our evil deeds.)
- Matthew’s gospel (good news) is the first book in the New Testament of the Bible. 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 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’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 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 5,000 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 contain 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).
- The book of Acts 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 Jewish 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.
*Apostle: a person whom God sent to teach the Christian message to the world.
- The book of Romans is a letter from Paul to the Christians in Rome. At that time, Rome was probably the largest city in the world. Paul wrote the letter about the year AD 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.
- Paul wrote this long letter (1 Corinthians) 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 recognise 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).
- Paul wrote this letter (2 Corinthians) 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.
- 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.
- Paul wrote this letter (Ephesians) 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).
- Paul wrote this letter (Philippians) 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 honour 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).
- 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).
- Paul wrote this letter (1 Thessalonians) 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.
- Paul wrote this letter (2 Thessalonians) 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.
- Paul wrote this letter to Timothy. Timothy 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.
- This is the second letter that Paul wrote to Timothy (2 Timothy). 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.
- 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 (elders). So, Paul told Titus to appoint leaders (elders) for the church in each town. But Titus must choose the leaders (elders) carefully. Each leader (elder) must be a good man, who is kind, holy and honest. And they 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).
- The book of Philemon is a short, personal letter.
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.
- The book of Hebrews teaches many things about Jesus. We do not know the author of Hebrews. Some people think that Paul wrote Hebrews.
The book of Hebrews is an important book that teaches many lessons about the Bible. The book of Hebrews teaches that Jesus was not an angel (a servant of God from heaven) (Hebrews 1). Jesus is God. But Jesus became a man. Jesus is our priest (Hebrews chapters 5-9). And Jesus is the perfect priest (Hebrews 7:25-28). In the Old Testament, priests killed animals so that God would forgive the people. But Jesus died Himself, to suffer the punishment for our evil deeds. God accepted Jesus’s blood (that is, His death – Hebrews 9). So, God will forgive us when we trust Jesus.
In the Bible’s Old Testament, many people trusted God (Hebrews 11). They believed that God would send Jesus. So, they were not afraid, although they had great troubles. So, we too should trust God when we have troubles (Hebrews 12:1-2).
- The book of James is a letter. People think that the writer was James the brother of Jesus. He became a leader of the church in Jerusalem (Galatians 1:19).
James tells his readers about different things:
– We may suffer because we follow Jesus. But we must be patient (James 5:7-11). This will make us better people (James 1:2-4).
– He speaks against rich people who do wrong things to poor people (James 2:1-4, James 5:1-7). God will say that they are wrong. If poor people trust God, this is better than wealth (James 2:5-7).
– God will give wisdom to those who ask for it (James 1:5). This is because true wisdom comes from God (James 1:16-18). God’s wisdom teaches us the right behaviour (James 3:13-16).
– If we trust in God, we will show it in our actions (James 2:14-26). James warns us to be careful about our words (James 3:1-12).
– He tells us that we should pray sincerely (James 5:13-16).
James is a favourite book for many people.
- 1 Peter is a letter. The author of the letter is Peter. Peter was a disciple (student) of Jesus. And Peter became a leader in the first Christian church, in Jerusalem.
Peter wrote his letter to Christians who were suffering great troubles. Peter wanted them to trust God more. Their troubles would test them. But they were joyful, even when they suffered. They were joyful, because they trusted God’s promises. And they were joyful, because Jesus died for them. So, Peter encouraged them to be holy. Their troubles would last for a short time. But God’s word lasts always. And they will always live with God in heaven. There, they will not suffer.
God chose them to be His people (1 Peter 2:10). So, they were special people. They did not belong to this world (1 Peter 2:11). They belonged in heaven.
Jesus suffered many terrible things, too. But He did not reply when people insulted Him. He did not complain. He trusted God. And when Jesus died, He suffered the punishment for our evil deeds. This was how He made us into the people of God (1 Peter 2:21-25).
We should copy Jesus, even when we suffer. We should respect our husbands and wives (1 Peter 3:1-7). We should respect our employers (1 Peter 2:18-21). And we should even respect rulers and governments (1 Peter 2:13-17). They might be evil. But we should still be good. We should tell them gently about Jesus (1 Peter 3:15).
We might suffer because we are Christians. But even if this happens, we should be glad. And we should praise God that we are Christians (1 Peter 4:12-19).
Peter advised these Christians to love each other (1 Peter 4:8). And, he had special advice for the church leaders (1 Peter 5:1-4).
- Peter wrote a second letter (2 Peter). Peter was a leader of the church. He sent this letter to all believers.
Peter told the Christians how they could grow as Christians. He explained that God Himself directed the authors of the Bible (2 Peter 1:20-21). Peter warned the Christians about evil teachers. These teachers were teaching false ideas. And their behaviour was very evil. God will punish such teachers. And He will also punish the people who follow them.
Peter also explained about Jesus’ return to this earth. Some people might suppose that Jesus will never return. But Peter explained that they are wrong. God made the earth. And God will also destroy the earth. God is not slow; but God is patient. And, because God is patient, we have the opportunity to trust God now. Then, we will enjoy the things that God promises: a new heaven, and a new earth.
- John was one of the first men to follow Jesus. He knew Jesus well. But John also understood that Jesus is God (1 John 1:1-3).
John wrote this letter (1 John) to all Christians. John wanted Christians to be certain that God loves them (1 John 3:1). Because God loves us, we too must love other Christians (1 John 3:17; 1 John 4:19-21).
This has always been the law of God (1 John 2:8). We must love other people.
John also wanted to remind Christians about some important facts:
– Christians are God’s children and they can enjoy friendship with Him. (1 John 3:1 and 2:3)
– They do not need to do wrong things. But God will forgive them if they confess their evil deed to God (1 John 2:1).
– The Holy Spirit is with them to warn them about false ideas. (1 John 2:18-27)
– They can be joyful and have true friendship with other Christians. (1 John 1:4 and 7)
- 2 John is a short letter. The author was John, who also wrote John’s gospel, Revelation, and two other letters.
The book of 2 John teaches that we should love other Christians. God orders us to love each other (2 John 5-6).
We must not accept people who teach wrong things about Jesus (2 John 7-11). Jesus is God. But He became a man so that He could die for us. When He died, He suffered the punishment for our evil deeds. This is the true Christian message.
- 3 John is a personal letter from John to Gaius.
John was glad to hear that Gaius taught the true Christian message. John was also glad that Gaius looked after other Christians. These Christians were travelling to teach God’s message elsewhere. And Gaius helped them.
There were some problems in Gaius’s church. John wanted to come so that he could help Gaius.
- The book of Jude is a short letter.
The author, Jude, was a brother of Jesus.
Jude wrote his letter to warn the church about some men. These men lived evil lives. And they denied that Jesus is God. Jude explained that God would punish these men. And Jude encouraged the people in that church to continue to trust God.
- The book of Revelation is a book about the future. It is the last book in the Bible’s New Testament. Its author was John, who was a disciple (student) of Jesus.
The book of Revelation uses picture stories to describe future events. These stories are often difficult to explain. But the book contains some clear lessons about the future:
- Good people will not always suffer. God has prepared a home in heaven for everyone who trusts Jesus. Nobody will be sad there. Heaven will be a wonderful place.
- There will not always be evil rulers. Their cruelty will end. Their power will end. God will punish them.
- Jesus will return to this earth. Then everyone will know that Jesus is God. And He will be the judge of everyone.
- The devil will not always be powerful. God will punish the devil. And the devil will lose his evil powers.
- We must invite God into our lives now. Terrible things will happen before Jesus returns. But God will protect us if we trust Him.
This post comes from MissionAssist.
Posted, January 2023