May 01

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Who is Christ? This is a good question to start this twelfth article in this series. But, we have gotten ahead of ourselves! Go back to our library and what do we see? We first see the word “Testament” and under this word we notice two words: 1) Old and 2) New. Having studied the Old Testament, though barely, we have moved on to the New Testament. Here on the right side of our “library,” we see twenty-seven books.
The first four books: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John. These are the four accounts of the one gospel. Within these books we have a division; there is what we call the “synoptic” accounts of the one gospel,” as they cover the same material; while John, takes another course. Just to show one difference, when you have read through John chapter thirteen, where John wrote: “And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him” (John 13:2), while this same event is recorded in Matthew chapter twenty-sixth.. What is the point here? It is that the gospel of John has just reached about halfway through the book, when he had reached the Lord’s Supper.” Therefore, the Gospel account of John, gives greater detail to the life of Jesus after he introduced the “Lords Supper” than did the other three. Therefore, in the first part of the shelves under the word, “New:” we have this division of four books but then, we have moved one of them, John to the right just a little. So on the first shelf, we have four books, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; but “John” is yet separated from the other three but is on the same shelf just to note the difference.
On the second shelf, we have one book, standing “all by itself! This is the history book of the New Testament and is, “The Acts of the Apostles.” First, let us notice that the first chapter of Acts covers the resurrection and the acension of Jesus. Therefore, the ending of Matthew, Mark, and Luke covers the same events in the life of Jesus but John covers starting in chapter twelve, the last three chapters of Matthew. Therefore, “The Acts of the Apostles,” starting with Jesus’ last days on this earth, then, it largely became a story of the apostle Paul from chapter nine unto the end of the book. This book gives us the answer to the most important question that can fall from the tongue of mankind,” What must I do in order to be saved?” It is critical that the reader understand that those who asked this question, or something near it, got different answers because they were standing, “spiritually speaking,” in different places. If a person already “believes. he does not need to be told to “believe the gospel.” As this is what they, the apostles, were told to preach: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). To help our understanding, let us turn to Acts chapter two, and verse thirty-seven: “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Were they told to “believe?” The answer is “no!” Why not? Because the text implies that ,they already “believed,” as in past tense! Hear Peter: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:28). So, if we believe, in “faith only salvation,” then, Peter need not utter another word, but he did. He said unto those that “believed,” “Repent, and be baptized!” Because this was their spiritual state, it was one of “belief.” But no salvation; from a state of being lost, but they go from the state of “believing,” to the state of needing to “repent and be baptized,” then salvation! From the second chapter through the end of “Acts of the Apostles, chapter twenty-eight, we read of case after case of salvation of those who were “standing” in different “spiritual” states. But, it was always the case: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:43). All the way, to the end of “The Acts of the Apostles,” it is preaching, rejoicing with the saved, eating the common meal: “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,” (Acts. 2:46)
Upon the next shelf, the third one, we find “The Letters to the Churches;” which covers Romans through second Thessalonians. There are nine of these books. On the next shelf, which is the fourth one, here we locate the three letters to preachers. It is, to me a least, hard to understand when looking for the work of a preacher, we never look at the “three letters written to preachers:” 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus. Why does it seem so unusual to look at the three books written to preachers, to learn the work of a preacher? On the next shelf, the fifth one, we locate what I call “the general letters;” there are nine such books, that start with Philemon and run through last of these books, Jude. Finally, we have reached the last shelf, with one book upon it, “The Revelation of Christ Jesus”. The Book of Revelation, of course, is generally believed to be the most difficult to understand of all the New Testament books! It is highly figurative, and one must understand the way the Old Testament uses these symbols, before trying to understand this great book! It was written to be understood!
This means under the word “New,” as in “New Testament,” we have five shelves where we have divided the twenty-seven books of the New Testament. Dividing the twenty-seven books in this manner will help in memorizing all twelve-seven books of the New Testament in order. To use a modern term, “What’s in your library?”

Frank R. Williams

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