The word "gospel" means "good tidings," or "good news." It is the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mark 1:1). Each of the Gospel writers present a different picture of the Messiah. Synoptic comes from the Greek words which means "See at a glance," or "See the whole together." Matthew, Mark, and Luke are a record of the same parallel accounts emphasizing the life and works of Christ; while John stresses the words of Christ.


Matthew was a Jew. His work was that of a publican, or a Roman tax collector. Matthew's Gospel presents Jesus to the Jewish people as the Messiah-King who fulfilled the prophecies of the Hebrew Scripture. The content of Jesus' message was the coming of His Kingdom. Chapters 8 and 9 reveal His authority as their King. In chapter 10, the King sends forth His ambassadors. Chapter 13 contains the parables of the Kingdom. Chapter 18, 19, and 20 teach the principles of Kingdom citizenship. Jesus is mocked as a king in chapter 27.

- MARK -

The Book of Mark is believed to have been written to Roman Christians. Mark deals more with the words of Jesus and appeals to the Romans who were more men of action than men of thought. Mark's purpose was to describe Jesus Christ who came to serve and to suffer. John Mark was not one of the twelve disciples, but was no doubt converted by Peter and called Peter's interpreter. No genealogy is mentioned because the Romans did not look for a Messiah, neither did they have any interest in the Jewish law which is not mentioned once.

- LUKE -

Luke was a Gentile, and an educated man, and a physician. Luke presents the natural and literal line through Mary, the virgin mother. Luke emphasizes the human sympathy of Christ as manifested in His weeping over Jerusalem, healing the ear of Malchus, and having compassion of the dying thief. Luke's Gospel is one of prayer. Attention is given to the devotional life of our Lord (Prayer at His baptism, when He chose the twelve, at His transfiguration, for His murderers, and His last breath). The prayer-parables of the friend at midnight (11:5-10), and the unjust judge (18:1-8) are mentioned in this gospel.

Another important emphasis in Luke's Gospel is the Holy Spirit, which prepares the way for the account of the descent of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts...a book which was also written by Luke. Five songs of Christ are recorded in the first two chapters, which we sing yet today.

- JOHN -

John is one of the best known disciples. He was the brother of James, who was called the Lord's brother, and Jude. He was one of the followers of John the Baptist. It was John who leaned upon the Master's breast during the Passover Supper; when the other disciples fled, John followed his Lord to the Judgement (John 18:15); he was the only one who stood by the cross to receive the Lord's dying message. The Gospel of John was written to the church in general. "Believe" is the key word in the book, occurring 100 times. In the first verses of chapter 1, John introduces us to the One in whom we are to believe.

John records seven miracles or encourage belief in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. John also included seven word pictures of Jesus (Chapters 6, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15). Three proofs of His deity are found in chapter two. Three supernatural signs are found in chapters 2, 4, and 9.

- ACTS -

The Book of Acts was written by Luke, and is the constitution of the Gospel story. It describes how Christ was still at work, through the Holy Spirit, also showing that His program was carried on and completed through the agencies of His disciples.

The theme of the book is the birth and growth of the church through the operation of the Holy Spirit whom Jesus sent. Acts 1:8 states God's plan for evangelizing the world: "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witness unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." This book by no means records all the activities of the apostles. The first seven chapters describe the founding of the church at Jerusalem. The next four chapters deal with the evangelist in Judea and Samaria, then the extension of the church into Asia Minor (Chapters 13-15). The last chapters, 21-28, finds the Gospel being carried to Rome, the center of the civilized world. Antioch was the center of the Gentile ministry (Chapter 13). Here is described Paul's first missionary journey. Acts 18:23 to 28 describes the third missionary journey of Paul.

The following characteristics describe the early church:

  • The church was one of ordinary "people."
  • It was a praying "church."
  • The church was a church of "power."
  • The church was "democratic."
  • The church was one of "joy."
  • The church was a "growing church."
  • The church was "generous in giving."
  • The church was "bold and daring."

NOTE:Witnessing is not always easy. That is one reason we need to begin at home. We understand the people we live with, go to school with, work with, etc. if we have not learned to tell the story of Christ to those we understand, we will have a very difficult time making that story clear to people we have not known before.


The theme of the Book of Romans is justification by faith (1:16, 17). In the first chapter, the Gentiles, who have had the light of the creation, are accused of ungodliness and unrighteousness. In chapter two, Paul deals with the Jews who have had the light of revelation. In chapter three, Paul accuses both Jew and Gentile. Paul introduces Jesus Christ (1:3) declaring His righteousness and His justification of the sinner (3:26).

In Romans 3:21-31, we see God's righteousness in the person of His Son, who steps down and takes the place of the condemned one. Man was utterly unable to help himself. He was guilty and could do nothing to make himself right before almighty God. He was judged by his own works and the law could not help him. Thus, we have God-provided righteousness, justification through Jesus Christ, reconciliation through the death of Christ (5:6-11), freedom from the law for the believer (Chapter 7), freedom from condemnation (Chapter 8). The theme of chapter 8 is the triumph and message of deliverance from sin by the power of the Holy Spirit. Chapter 11 deals with the restoration of Israel; although they are under chastisement and temporarily set aside, the Jews are still God's people. The last chapters (12-15) are devoted to personal consecration and a practical application of the doctrines of the relation to the church, the authorities (chapter 13), to weak believers, etc ...(chapter 14).


Paul writes this letter to answer questions on marriage and divorce, food connected with heathen sacrifices, and spiritual gifts, as well as to correct the faults of the church of which he had learned from other sources. It was the desire of Paul to purify the church from partisanism and immorality, immodesty in dress, lawsuits, sacrilege of the Lord's supper and denial of the resurrection. Corinth was the largest city of Greece. The Lord appeared to Paul in a vision and informed him that "he had much people in that city" (Acts 18:9, 10).

The conduct of the church in public worship; notably the women's place in the assemblies of Christians, and the correct observance of the Lord's supper are dealt with. Paul does not forbid women's active labor in the church; but he guards against the abuse of Christian liberty. Neither does he condemn the love feast...but he does require a self examination of all those who participate. (The Corinthians had confused the love feast with the Lord's Supper.)


Second Corinthians is the most personal of all of Paul's letters. Paul discloses his escape from Damascus; his remarkable visions; his sufferings from men; and the hardships that he had endured. The first seven chapters are devoted to a defense of his ministry. In the eighth and ninth chapters he deals with the offering for the relief of the poor Christians. The last chapters deal with his vindication of his apostleship, and ends with a very tender farewell and loving benediction.


Paul wrote this letter to the Galatians to deal with the doctrinal error into which the church had fallen. The trouble in Galatia was legalism. False teachers sought to combine Christianity with Judaism. Their idea was to make gentiles convert to Judaism. Paul declares that the message of the Judaizers is a perversion of the Gospel. In chapter 3, he proves that justification has always been by faith. In chapters 5 and 6, he exhorts the Galatians not to lose the liberty which they enjoy in Christ. He explains that if they walk in the Spirit, are led by the Spirit, and live in the Spirit - the law is not necessary.


This Epistle is directed to the "saints," the Christians who are faithful in Christ Jesus. The theme of Ephesians is the unity of the church as the body of Christ. Ephesians presents the church as the body of the head. In Ephesians Paul teaches us that believing Jews and Gentiles are united in a new grouping: the Church. Therefore, the Christian is to do everything possible to maintain that unity (Chapters 4-6). Much attention is given to the walk of the church (4:17; 6:9); that is, its members, wives, husbands, children, servants, masters, etc. "Walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind...because of the blindness of their heart; but walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, in love, as Christ loved us."


After Paul had been at Rome for about two years, the church at Philippi sent him an offering. Paul wrote this letter thanking them for their gift. In this letter Paul indicates that he sees his imprisonment as the will of God.


The theme of the Book of Colossians is the pre-eminence of Christ. In the first chapter, Christ is presented as the image of all creation, the head of the body (the Church), and the first born from the dead.

Paul wrote this letter because false teachers had invaded the church at Colossi. They taught that the angels were closer to God than Jesus. They taught that anything physical, including the body, is evil. They substituted ritual and human reason for the Gospel. Paul combated these false teachers and teachings by painting a true picture of Christ as the Pre-eminent One. He knew as long as we keep Christ pre-eminent in our lives we will not be led astray, and we will want to live as God wants us to live.


Paul wrote this letter to give the Thessalonians some practical advice concerning Christian conduct, and to correct a misunderstanding concerning the second coming. It seems that the Thessalonians had the wrong belief, that only those who were alive when Christ returned would be saved. Paul taught that the dead in Christ would also enjoy the blessings of Christ's return. This church was founded on Paul's second missionary journey. Although he met with violent opposition, he succeeded in winning some Jews and a multitude of Greeks which enable him to establish a faithful church.


Paul wrote this second letter to correct some other false beliefs. Paul taught that Christians must work as they await Christ's return, and not sit around lazily and wait. He also rebuked these busybodies who became a charge to others. Paul never permitted his belief in the imminent return of Christ to interfere with his labors for the furthering of the Gospel.

- 1 & 2 TIMOTHY -

First and Second Timothy are called Pastoral Epistles because they contain instructions to Timothy and Titus, young pastors, as to how they should discharge their pastoral duties and responsibilities.

Paul met Timothy at Lystra, a city of South Galatia, on his first missionary journey. Paul won Timothy and his mother o the Lord. On his second journey, when Paul returned to Lystra, Timothy, no doubt a teenager, joined the missionary party. Timothy was a wonderful young man and made such great progress in the Lord that Paul paid him one of the highest tributes (see Philippians 2:19-23). Later he became the pastor of the church at Ephesus (see 1 Timothy 1:3).



  1. Why is the Gospel called "good news?"
  2. What is the purpose of the "genealogy" as recorded in Matthew 1?
  3. What is a "parable," and why did Jesus use them?
  4. What are the basic terms of "discipleship" as found in Luke 14:25-35?
  5. What lesson can we learn from the parable of the unjust steward, in reference to money, as found in Luke 16:9-14?


  1. Why is Jesus referred to as "The Word" in chapter 1?
  2. What three proofs of the deity of Christ are presented in the second chapter?
  3. Why are the following miracles of Jesus considered supernatural?
    1. The water changes to wine. Chapter 2
    2. The Nobleman's son. Chapter 4
    3. The sightless man. Chapter 9
  4. In John 15:1-10, what two circumstances may prevent the branch from bearing fruit?
  5. In the betrayal and the arrest of Jesus, what two incidents proved the majesty and power of Jesus. John 18:1-10 Compare Luke 22:47-51.


  1. What did God do to stir the early church into action, in order that His plan might be fulfilled or carried out? Acts 8:3-5
  2. How was the church prepared for its witness to the uttermost parts of the earth? Luke 24:49-53; Acts 1:8; Acts 26:16-18; Acts 10:34, 44-47; Acts 13:1.
  3. Describe the church as:
    1. Ordinary people (Acts 1:12-14)
    2. A praying church (Acts 1:14)
    3. Democratic (Acts 1:15-26)
    4. One of power (Acts 2:4)
    5. One of joy (Acts 2:46)
    6. One of growth (Acts 2:47; 3:1)
    7. Generous in giving (Acts 2:43-47; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5)
    8. Bold and daring (Acts 2:23; 3:13-15)


  1. What does it mean to be "righteous?" Romans 3:21-31
  2. Name five benefits of being justified. Romans 5:1-5
  3. Note and describe the two classes of men in Romans 8:5, 6.
  4. What is meant by "presenting your bodies" in Romans 12:1, 2?
  5. Explain in your own words the duties of the weak and strong regarding "doubtful" questions. Romans 14:1 through 15:2


  1. What three things caused division in the church? Chapter 1
  2. What is Paul's teaching concerning the care of the body? Chapters 5, 6, 10, and 11
  3. Explain 1 Corinthians 9:27 in your own words.
  4. What customs was Paul talking about in 1 Corinthians 11:16?
  5. In chapter 15, what are the best proofs of the resurrection? What is the difference between a "resurrection" and a "restoration?"


  1. What should be our reaction to the promises in 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 and 2 Corinthians 7:1? Compare with Ephesians 5:3-8 and Ephesians 4:23-32


  1. What is the punishment of those who follow after the works of the flesh? Galatians 5:19-21
  2. Memorize the manifestations of the "fruit of the Spirit." Galatians 5:22-23
  3. What qualifications must an apostle have according to Galatians 1:1; 1:15, 16?


  1. In what way does the spirit of Satan work in unbelievers? Ephesians 2:1-3
  2. In what sense is the devil called a "prince?" Ephesians 2:2
  3. Describe the "old man" and the "new man." Ephesians 4:22-24
  4. How can Christians grieve the Spirit? Ephesians 4:30
  5. What spiritual lesson can we draw from the "whole armor of God?"


  1. In what ways did Paul's imprisonment contribute to the advance of the Gospel? Philippians 1:12-14; 1:18; 4:22


  1. What was the error of "touch not," "taste not," and "handle not" in Colossians light of verses 19, 20, 22, and 23?
  2. What responsibility does a Christian have in relation to unbelievers? Colossians 4:5, 6


  1. Show how the three graces of Faith, Hope, and Love are emphasized in 1 Thessalonians 1:3, 9, 10.
  2. In what three ways does Paul connect Love with Holy Living? 1 Thessalonians 3:12, 13; 4:1-13
  3. Explain the word "sleep" in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.


  1. Who is the "man of sin?" 2 Thessalonians 2:3
  2. Explain the "temple of God." 2 Thessalonians 2:4; According to Daniel 9:26, 26; Matthew 24:15
  3. Who is "He" in chapter 2? What does "letteth to let" mean (verse 7, KJV)?
  4. Why were the saints to withdraw from those who walked disorderly? 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12

1 & 2 TIMOTHY:

  1. According to 1 Timothy 2:11, 12, what part or place does the woman have in the church?
  2. What is a "novice?" 1 Timothy 3:6
  3. What is the church's responsibility to the "widow?" 1 Timothy 5:3-5
  4. What lessons can one learn from the "Love of money?" 1 Timothy 6:10