ImmerseMessiah NLT - Flipbook - Page 12
The story of Jesus is told from four different perspectives in the
Bible books known as “Gospels” (“gospel” means “good news”). All
four authors desired to portray the vastly rich and meaningful story of
Jesus from a perspective that would resonate with their original audiences. Luke and Mark are written primarily to Gentiles (non-Jews), who
are less familiar with the history and traditions of Israel. (Luke is actually
the first part of a two-part work along with the book of Acts, which tells
the story of Jesus’ earliest followers.) The Gospels of Matthew and John
are likely written to Jews who are familiar with Israel’s previous story.
The other books of the New Testament, mostly letters, are also written to these different groups. In this edition, books of the New Testament that aren’t Gospels are grouped with the Gospel that shares a
similar audience. Paul’s letters were sent to Greek-speaking followers
of Jesus who were mostly Gentiles, and thus are fittingly grouped with
Luke–Acts. Luke often traveled with Paul to share the Good News. We
present Paul’s letters here in the likely order that they were written.
Based largely on the apostle Peter’s memoirs, Mark’s Gospel is grouped
with the letters that Peter sent from Rome and a similar letter from
Jude. Like the Gospel of Matthew, the books of Hebrews and James
address Jewish believers, so these three books are grouped together.
Finally, the writings of John (the Gospel and three letters) are grouped
together as they were originally addressed to the same communities.
The book of Revelation is unique among the New Testament books
in its historical setting and literary genre. Nevertheless, like all the other
books of the New Testament, it’s a “revelation from Jesus Christ,” and
its content centers on him. It is placed last in this edition because it
provides a fitting conclusion not only to the New Testament but also
to the entire Story of the Bible. As the book of Revelation draws to a
close, God brings his purposes for humanity and creation to their final
culmination in “a new heaven and a new earth.” We are left with the
grand promise that all will be made new in Christ.
This fresh arrangement of the books highlights the depth of the New
Testament’s fourfold witness to Jesus the Messiah. The Son of God,
who fulfills all the longings and promises of the collected Scriptures,
can be viewed here through the rich variety of lenses provided by the
books of the new covenant.