Introduction – Ezekiel

In 597 B.C., Ezekiel was one of the exiles who were deported to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar.  To give you perspective, at this same time, Jeremiah stayed back in Judah while Ezekiel would minister to those in Babylon.  Ezekiel would give us a different side of the story and also prophecy what would happen to those who turned away from the Lord and to know who the Lord is.  After the complete destruction of the temple years later, Ezekiel would prophecy about a future hope of a new Jerusalem

Introduction – Mark

The Gospel of Mark gives us a vivid account of the life of Jesus.  Mark presents the person, works, and teachings of our Lord Jesus.  The target audience are the Roman Christians, who were very ready to hear of this Jesus Christ!  Mark’s goal is to dispel any rumors and prove without a doubt that Jesus is the Son of God!  The Author is Mark (John Mark), He was not one of the 12 apostles.  He was the cousin of Barnabas and accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey.  Though Mark & Paul had a falling out of sorts, Paul would later speak very highly of Mark and his ministry.  It is believed Peter brought him to Christ and much of the influence of this book is from Peter.

Introduction – Lamentations

Lamentations records five chapters of sorrow for God’s chosen city of Jerusalem.  Most biblical scholars point to none other than the prophet Jeremiah who would be an eye-witness of this event.  The fall of Jerusalem happened in 586 BC.  The very word (lament: passionate expression of grief and sorrow) pretty much explains what we are going to be reminded of.  Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet and he would weep over God’s people and city.  When we turn our hearts away from the Lord, tough times will inevitably come.  But in the midst of the sorrow, there is a hope for repentance!

Introduction – Matthew

Some scholars believe that Genesis & Matthew are the two key foundational books of the whole Bible!  The Jews waited for a King who had been promised centuries before by prophets. They believed that this King would rescue them from their Roman oppressors and establish a new kingdom. As their king, he would rule the world with justice. However, many Jews overlooked prophecies that also spoke of this king as a suffering servant who would be rejected and killed.  Author: Matthew (Levi) was one of Jesus’ 12 disciples. Once he was a despised tax collector, but his life was changed. Matthew wrote this Gospel to his fellow Jews to prove that Jesus is the Messiah!   As you read this Gospel, listen to Matthew’s clear message: Jesus is the Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords!!!  Audience: The Nation Israel…to the Jews.  But also to all people!

Introduction – Jeremiah

The prophet Jeremiah (The Lord Exalts) would serve under Judah’s last five kings; Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, & Zedekiah.  Jeremiah is known as the prophet of the broken heart.  Jeremiah was born a priest, was chosen to be a prophet by God even before he was born, was called to be a prophet even at a very young age, was forbidden to marry because of the terrible circumstances of the day!  During that time the destruction of Jerusalem & the Babylonian captivity would transpire.  Jeremiah’s life was filled with tragedy, rejection, hatred, beatings, & imprisonment.  He was a man in tears most of the time…God would choose a soft-hearted man to give a harsh message of judgment.  His time of being a prophet was filled with agony and the outside world would look at his ministry as a failure.  But in God’s eyes, Jeremiah’s ministry was filled with success.  Success, as measured by God, involves obedience and faithfulness. Regardless of opposition and personal cost, Jeremiah courageously and faithfully proclaimed the word of God. He was obedient to his calling.

Introduction – Revelation

Although Jesus gave this revelation of himself to John nearly 2,000 years ago, it still speaks to us today!  Christ will return to rescue his people and settle accounts with all who defy him.  From the revelation from God, to the messages to the seven churches, to the series of visions portraying the rise of evil & the Antichrist, and finally following the triumph of Jesus…journey with us to see God’s awesome plan for us!  Be full of hope, knowing that God is in control, Christ’s victory is assured, and all who trust him will be saved!.  Revelations is really a book of hope

Introduction – Jude

Tucked in the back of the New Testament, we find the book of Jude.  Although it’s more of a brief letter…Jude is believed to be another half-brother of Jesus and brother of James.  Jude’s intention was to defend the faith against false teachings in the churches.  Jude urged believers to fight for the faith that had carefully been handed down to them.  Christians are to defend & stand up for what is true!  We are to hold on to our faith!

Introduction – III John 1

The wise elderly John wrote this brief letter towards the end of the first century.  John sent this letter to a man named Gaius.  Gaius often showed hospitality to traveling teachers & missionaries.  While John praised his genourosity, he also warned him against a man who was refusing to listen to spiritual leaders in authority.  This is a very personal letter and still carries the same theme of truth from the second letter.  Truth & love must be tempered with wisdom.

 

Introduction – II John

“Who is Jesus?”…The proverbial question of our time. This question still brings controversy & opinions to this day. False teachers of today come in many forms…whether false pastors, teachers…authors like Dan Brown (Da Vinci Code & Angles & Demons)…they all attempt to describe a false Jesus. Yet their preposterous claims are believed by the gullible, naive & ignorant Christians out there. The apostle John encouraged all believers to cling to the Truth of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Introduction – I John

This letter was composed sometime around 85-90 A.D. with the intent to remove doubts and resssure young Christians about who Jesus was.  John is the same author who wrote the Gospel of John…and he was older now and perhaps the only surviving apostle at this time.  This is the same John that would walk & talk with Jesus, watch Jesus die, met Jesus after He rose from the dead and saw Jesus go up to Heaven.  It’s safe to say that John knew who the Lord was…and that love would convey itself in this letter.  John also wrote this letter to counter false teachers.