Guided Tour of the Bible - Part II

Esther

We do not know who wrote the book of Esther. Most likely the author was a Jew who lived in a Persian city. The contents of this book focus on the origin of the Feast of Purim. This feast recalled the deliverance of the Jews during the reign of the Persian king, Ahasuerus. He chose Esther, a Jewish maiden, to be his queen, and she saved her people from destruction. Though Esther is the only book in the Bible to never mention the name of God, His power and guiding hand are assumed at every point.

Malachi

Malachi was a prophet who witnessed the falling away of his nation from God. The Jews had returned from exile in Babylon and had rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, as well as the Temple. In spite of these blessings and accomplishments, the nation turned away from God. Malachi responded to this unfaithfulness with announcements and warnings.

Job

Job is the story of a good man who suffers and seeks to understand it all. The chapters tell the story of his faithfulness and fall. Three friends discuss his situation with him and finally Job has a discussion with God Himself. Most of us approach this book seeking the answer to why bad things happen to good people.

Isaiah

Here is perhaps the greatest OT prophet who ever lived. Isaiah began his ministry in 740 BC, the year that King Uzziah died (Isaiah 6:1). He reveals the full dimensions of God’s judgment and salvation.

Luke, Mark, John, Matthew

The NT has four gospels, or accounts of the life of Jesus: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Matthew, Mark and Luke are called Synoptic Gospels (which means “seeing together”). They follow a common outline. Mark is the shortest, containing sixteen chapters. Matthew and Luke follow Mark’s basic outline and add material along the way. John tells the same story, but from a different point of view or outline.

Acts

Evidence supports the idea that this book was written by Luke. Theophilus, the recipient of this book, is the same person addressed in Luke 1:1-4. In a sense, as volume 2 of Luke’s account, the book recounts what Jesus continued to do and teach through the preaching of the apostles and the establishment of the church.

Galatians

Galatians is one of thirteen letters penned by the Apostle Paul found in the NT. Galatia was a Roman province. Paul and Barnabas traveled through this region on their first missionary journey (Acts 13-14). So Galatians was written to several churches scattered throughout this area. To sum up the message of this letter, one could say: one is not saved by works or legalism, but by faith in Jesus.

Philippians

Philippians is Paul’s letter to the church located in Philippi, Greece. This is one of his most endearing, personal letters. He met these people on his second missionary journey (Acts 15:36-18:22).

1 and 2 Thessalonians

Paul wrote these two letters to the congregation in Thessalonica, Greece, fairly close to one another, perhaps only several months.

1 and 2 Corinthians

Paul spent eighteen months in this metropolitan city. The contents of these letters reveal a church that had many problems.

Romans

Paul wrote to these believers, though he had yet to actually travel to Rome. Some have described this letter as Paul’s Manifesto, or his most important letter.


Ephesians

Paul visited this city on his third missionary journey (Acts 18:23-21:14). He spent three years here.

Colossians

While in Ephesus, one of Paul’s associates, named Epaphras, carried the gospel to Colosse. Paul wrote this letter from prison in Rome.

Philemon

Philemon was a man, not a church or city. Paul wrote to his friend, seeking to mend the relationship between Philemon and his slave, Onesimus.

Titus

Titus was a Gentile believer who assisted Paul in his work. Titus received this letter while he was working with the church located on the island of Crete.

1 and 2 Timothy

Paul’s letters to his young friend Timothy were written to encourage this young man who ministered to the members of the Ephesian church. These two letters, along with Titus, are commonly called the Pastoral Letters because they give instruction to Timothy and Titus concerning the pastoral care of churches.

Hebrews

The writer of this letter does not identify himself, but was obviously well known to his readers. The letter was addressed to Jewish Christians who were tempted to revert back to legalism.

James

Four men in the NT bear this name. The most likely James, writer of this letter, was the brother of Jesus. What was the reason for James writing to us? He sought to remind Christians that claiming to be followers of Jesus without practicing the faith was wrong. James believed that “faith without works is dead.”

1 and 2 Peter

These two letters were written by Peter, one of the twelve disciples. Peter wrote to Christians scattered across the known world to encourage them to be faithful in the midst of suffering.

Jude

This brief letter was most likely written by another of the brothers of Jesus. He wrote to warn believers concerning the false teaching that since one was saved by grace, therefore one was free to live a sinful lifestyle.

1 and 2 and 3 John

John, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, wrote these three letters to encourage believers. He desired to warn Christians concerning false teachers, as well as to give them assurance of their salvation.

Revelation

The Apostle John penned the Revelation from the island of Patmos. He wrote to encourage the faithful ones to resist evil in whatever form it took. John painted a picture of the struggle between good and evil. He points us to Jesus, who will return and bring all things to their proper end.