Understanding The Bible
Brief New Testament Survey

Dr. Clarence B. Mason
Philadelphia College of The Bible Class Notes (c. 1970-1974)

Quick Links to specific locations in the text below:

(40) Gospel of Matthew (41) Gospel of Mark (42) Gospel of Luke (43) Gospel of John
(44) Acts (45) Romans (46) 1 Corinthians
(47) 2 Corinthians
(48) Galatians
(49) Ephesians (50) Philippians (51) Colossians (52) 1 Thessalonians
(53) 2 Thessalonians
(54) 1 Timothy
(55) 2 Timothy
(56) Titus (57) Philemon (58) Hebrews
(59) James (60) 1 Peter
(61) 2 Peter
(62) 1 John
(63) 2 John
(64) 3 John
(65) Jude
(66) The Revelation of Jesus Christ


MATTHEW – Jesus Christ the King (the King and His kingdom) TO JEWS

His Person, preaching and passion are presented by Matthew, the tax-gatherer for the Roman government. Matthew's familiarity with government shows through. We find him sensitively selecting details about the government of the Messiah.

MARK - Jesus Christ the Servant (the Servant and His service) TO ROMANS
His sanctification, His service and His sacrifice are presented by John Mark, the close associate of Peter.

LUKE - Jesus Christ the Man (the Man and His mission) TO GREEKS
His being, birth, baptism; His temptation, teaching, transfiguration; and His cross, His commission, and His coming again are presented by Luke, the Greek medical doctor, Luke, the careful researcher and historian, gives us a good picture of the human personality of the Messiah,

JOHN - Jesus Christ the Word of GOD (the Son and His salvation) TO ALL MEN
John selects seven miracles^ and the teachings of Jesus to load men to faith in Him. Jesus is the eternal, incarnate, saving Son of God. John presents the Messiah's claims in Jesus’ own words: "I AM Messiah." "I AM JEHOVAH." "I Am the Bread of Life." "I AM the Light at the world." "I AM the Door." "I AM the Good Shepherd." "I AM the Resurrection and the Life." "I AM the Way, the truth, and the Life." "I AM the vine," "I AM a King." In figurative language, Jesus claims to be all that men need in every situation of life.

THE ACTS - History of the early church after the ascension of its founder. Continuation of St. Luke's account in Luke, Basically it is in two parts; the Gospel to the Jews first; church at, Jerusalem; Peter, James and John - apostles - and, the Gospel also to the Greeks; church at Antioch, Syria; Paul and Barnabas, Peter - Acts 1-14; Paul - Acts 15-28. The Gospel is preached in Jerusalem, all Judea, Samaria, and to, the uttermost part of the earth,

ROMANS – St. Paul’s letter to the church at Rome is a logical presentation of doctrine coverings (1) Man's sinful condition; (2) GOD'S merciful provision; (3) Paul's desire for the Jews; (4) the Christian's faith-walk with GOD.

I and II CORINTHIANS - St. Paul's letter to the believers in Corinth is his longest. Because of their pagan surroundings, the Christians had to fight immorality, idolatry and worldliness. They had many questions about the Christian life; St. Paul patiently answers these questions. Topics covered includes his calling; their sinful divisive spirit; their unity in CHRIST; the proper use of a Christian's body; marriage; spiritual gifts; love; the resurrection and the second coming. In II Corinthians, he deals with the Christian's ministry to a lost world; fellowship; giving; God's grace; and his final encouragement.

GALATIANS - Legalizers and Judaizers crept into the church shortly after Paul set it up. They taught that in order to become a Christian, a person first had to become a Jew. They said Christians had to be circumcised, had to obey the Law, and had to observe the Sabbath. Paul's letter shows that the Law was meant only to bring men to freedom in CHRIST. He cogently sets forth his case in 3:24-29.

EPHESIANS - This letter, probably meant for the churches of Laodicea and Ephesus, very clearly shows the Christian's position in CHRIST. Paul shows how this doctrine (chapters 1-3) affects our behavior (chapters 4-6). CHRIST is presented as the head of His Church,

PHILIPPIANS - Paul's letter, written from prison in Rome, is a song of joy. His main plea is "Let this mind be in you which was also in CHRIST." It shows the single mind, the submissive mind, the satisfied mind, and the serving mind.

COLOSSIANS - Paul directs this letter against mystics (Gnostics) and ascetics. He seeks (8) to correct errors which have been brought into the Church by false prophets. He shows the exalted position of CHRIST as Creator and Savior, and shows that our response to Him should be "Whatever you do, do it heartily as unto the LORD."

I and II THESSALONIANS - (This letter, or the Galatian letter, is believed to be Paul's first writing. He explains the second coming of Jesus and what happens to the believers dead and alive when Jesus comes. In chapters 4 and 5 Paul stresses the importance of holiness in light of CHRIST’S return, II Thessalonians deals with the apostasy or falling away in the end times. Paul’s closing plea is for the Thessalonians to imitate his faith.

I and II TIMOTHY - Paul's letter to a young pastor (elder) on how to administer the church at Ephesus; the importance of correct doctrine and reliance only on the Word of GOD. Warning is given about the last days.

TITUS - Paul's letter to another young pastor-teacher on how to administer the church in Crete.

PHILEMON - Paul's letter on behalf of a runaway slave who has accepted CHRIST as his Savior, and who is returning from Rome to his master, Philemon. Paul plays on the name, Philemon (GR.=loving).

HEBREWS - A letter to Jewish Christians showing the New Covenant superior to the Old Covenant (the Law). Jesus is shown as bettor than angels (because He's the Son); better than Moses and the O.T. prophets (because He is the Son) and better as the sacrifice for sins than the O.T. sacrifices (because He's the Son in flesh). The obedience, submission and faithfulness of Jesus as a man is seen very clearly. Since He, Himself, entered flesh, He is the understanding High Priest, who once for all offered Himself for our sins, and having thoroughly purged us from our sins, He has sat down on the right hand of His Father in majesty.

JAMES - James, the brother of Jesus, shows that faith in CHRIST produces good works. This manual on Christian living is believed to be the first N.T. book written.

I and II PETER - Peter wrote about patience in suffering, the Christian's blessings in CHRIST, the cost of salvation, the authority of GOD'S word, the doom of false teachers, and the LORD'S coming in judgment.

I, II, and III JOHN - Written to combat first-Century Gnosticism. John's letters deal with knowing GOD through His incarnate Son (not by mystical Gnosis); understanding love, and enjoying Christian fellowship. Gnostics taught that the body was sinful, the spirit was good; therefore, Jesus could not have had a body of flesh. Knowledge of GOD came through the mind or spirit, not through eye-witness contact,

JUDE - Jude's very short letter is a warning to early Christians to contend for the true faith, the faith taught by the apostles. He warns of certain doom to false teachers (using good O.T. examples). He exhorts Christians to "build yourselves up in the most holy faith."

THE REVELATION - The unveiling of Jesus as the Omega. Only in human history does Jesus become the Alpha and the Omega; A-in Genesis and O-in Revelation. John writes what GOD showed him of the consummation of human history. GOD controls human history. He is the beginner of it, the sustainer of it, and the end of it. Jesus CHRIST 1:1-1:8; Church l:9-3:22; Tribulation 4;l-19:21; Chapters about the Jews; 7:1-17; 10:l-ll:l4; 14:1-13} 16:13-16; 20;1-22:21.

Seven messages to Churches represented by the seven-fold lampstand
Seven dooms
Seven “new” things


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