The Gospel of Luke sheds more light into the life of and ministry of Jesus. Question: Who is Luke? Luke was a Gentile Greek and physician (Colossians 4:11, 14) and holds the distinction of being the only Gentile to pen Scripture. Not only did he write this Gospel, but he also wrote the book of Acts. Luke was a frequent companion of the Apostle Paul and much of his sources came from Paul. It is believed Luke penned both books with Paul during his first Roman imprisonment (60-62 AD). With Greeks being the target audience, Luke presents Jesus from the perspective of being the “Son of Man” which would have a more world-wide scope.
We now come to the transition of Moses who delivered God’s people for forty years to Joshua. Joshua means “Yahweh/Jehovah saves” and corresponds to the NT name “Jesus.” Traditionally, biblical scholars have assumed it was Joshua himself who was the author. Joshua was Moses’ general who first came on the scene of defeating the Amalekites in their desert travels (Exodus 17:8-13). Joshua would serve several roles for God’s people: military leader, political leader and spiritual leader. Though the book is named after Joshua, the focus really is upon the Lord. It was God who helped deliver and fight for Israel as they went to conquer and settle the land. By faith, the believer must understand God was just in dealing with the evil nations. Their sinful ways (Deut 9:4-5, 18:9-14; 20:16-18) brought consequences. In the end, the book of Joshua illustrates the victory that can be won over the enemy.
It’s important to note that each Gospel has a particular audience in mind. The Gospel of Mark was written primarily to Gentile believers in Rome. The lack of genealogies and OT references further corroborate Mark’s emphasis on a Gentile audience. Question: Who was Mark? Mark was a cousin of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10) and accompanied Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary journey (Acts 12:25). Mark was also very close to the Apostle Peter and it is believed that Mark ascertained his information directly from Peter about the life of Christ. The Gospel of Mark pictures Jesus as a “servant” which the Gentile audience would have been able to relate to. We see the humanity of Christ more vividly in Mark’s Gospel. The writing of the Gospel was probably around in the 50’s AD.
The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Pentateuch. In Hebrew it is translated as “these are the words”, in Greek Septuagint “copy of this law” and in Latin it was known as the Deuteronomium. In essence, it is a Moses’ commentary and explanation to the law. Moses complied these writings/speeches before Israel was to enter the Promised Land. Bear in mind that it was the second generation of Israelites that came out of the wilderness. They were young when they left and now they are in their forties to sixties in age, not to mention their children too. Deuteronomy focuses on law, but this time with the target audience being the main population rather than the priests (Leviticus). Deuteronomy is quoted over forty times in the New Testament because of the focus on God’s attributes. Moses teaches Israel that Yahweh should be their only God and they will be blessed if they obey.
Matthew (Levi), the tax collector from Capernaum is the author of our first Gospel in the New Testament (Luke 5:27-28). He was one of the 12 apostles. It is believed by most scholars that Matthew’s Gospel is the first gospel written sometime around 50-60 AD. Each of the Gospel’s has a certain audience they are pinpointing and for Matthew; He writes to the Jewish Christians. Matthew presents Jesus as the true Messiah (King of the Jews), yet rejected by the nation Israel. Matthew quotes the OT more than 60 times to show Jesus as the fulfillment of the promised Messiah. He wrote to encourage and convince the early Jewish Christians as well as the unbelievers of the validity of Jesus’ testimony.
This is our fourth book in the Bible and is part of the Pentateuch (Torah, Law), the first five books. Moses is widely believed to be the author. Numbers comes from the focus on the census (chapter 1-4, 26). The book really is about a time of transition for God’s people. It records their life in the wilderness of the desert. We see two generations in this book; sadly the first generation except for Joshua and Caleb don’t ever make it to the Promised Land. While see will see the consequences of the Lord which will explain why it took so long to get there, we also are reminded ultimately of His faithfulness to His promises.
The Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation in exile on the Isle of Patmos. It is believed that John wrote this around 95 AD. The Roman empire was in a period of instability as Domitian was the third after Nero suicide in 68 AD. Christians were under oppression by Domitian and it is believed John was banished due to his refusal to worship other God’s including Domitian himself. John writes to encourage the young churches in Asian Minor (Modern day Turkey) in the face of persecution. While Revelation can be a hotly debated book regarding the interpretation, it gives all Christians a wonderful hope for our future.
Like James, Jude was one of the half-brothers of Jesus (vs. 1) and the last of name mentioned of Jesus’ brothers of five. Also like James, Jude probably didn’t believe Jesus was the Savior until after His resurrection. Much of Jude’s exhortation is similar to that of Peter, so it is believed he wrote this letter after Peter wrote his own letters. Peter warned of coming false teachers, while Jude warns of the false teachers who have already infiltrated the church. It is believed that Jude probably wrote his letter around 80 AD. Jude writes to the church how the believers should not follow the errors of these wayward posers.
Like II John, III John was written as a personal letter. It is very personal letter to a friend named Gaius. Like II John, the Apostle John addresses the issue of hospitality. Only this time, the people are refusing to show Christian hospitality to the Godly teachers/pastors. Diotrephes was the apparent leader who selfishly refused to reach out to those who needed hospitality.
Of course, this is John’s second letter. The audience is not specifically stated, though it is believed John was writing to a particular small group of people (elect lady and her children). John addresses similar issues that were brought up in his first letter. There was false teaching (Gnosticism) that were taking advantage of naïve Christians. We must be wise with our Christian hospitality; sadly not everyone who professes that name of Jesus has good intentions.