Understanding the Blueprint of the Bible
Bishop Terence L. Daniels
Hi, this is not an attempt to give a self-interpretation of the Bible but to present some facts about it. This is an excellent source for the beginner and well-versed student of the Bible.
Bibles sold per year according to WordsRated (WordsRated is a non-commercial, international research data and analytics group.)
The number of Bibles sold on average has more than doubled in the US since 1950 with:
20 million Bibles sold each year
1.66 million Bibles sold each month
384,615 Bibles sold per week
54,945 Bibles sold every day
2,289 Bibles sold per hour
38 Bibles sold per minute
6.4 bibles sold every 10 seconds
In addition to the Bibles sold, another 115,055 Bibles are given away or distributed every day
The US accounts for a quarter of newly printed bible sales every year
The Christian Bible is divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament. There are some Christians and Jews that prefer First Testament.
Their reasoning, be it right or wrong, is that they feel when you say Old Testament that, it suggests “out of date”, which is farther from the truth.
The Old Testament is foundational; the New Testament builds on that foundation with further revelation from God.
The Bible is subdivided into two significant divisions. The Old Testament and the New Testament. The Bible is made up of 66 books. The Old Testament consists of 39. It spanned over two hundred years and was written by twenty-eight authors.
While the New Testament consists of 27 books written by nine authors and covers fewer than a hundred years.
The timeline of the Old Testament starts with creation and tells the story of Israel’s Beginnings up to the time of Christ.
The first five books in the Old Testament are the Books of the Law, also known as The Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).
You will find three books in The Old Testament: Historical, Poetical, and Prophetical.
The Historical Books contain a detailed History of Israel. After the Pentateuch, they are the next twelve Old Testament books.
In the five Poetical Books, you will find poetry.
Songs of Solomon
And in the Prophetical Books are subdivided into two, five Major and 12 Minor Prophets, which end the Old Testament.
Note that the word Major doe not mean that those books were more important than the
Minor, but the Major books were longer.
In Biblical numerology, the number three represents divine fulness. It is the first of the 4 perfect numbers, which are 3 (divine perfection); 7 (spiritual perfection); 10 (ordinal perfection); and 12 (governmental perfection).
The earth was separated from the waters on the 3rd day, and life began [Genesis 1:9-13].
There were three Patriarchs of the children of Israel: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel.
offer sacrifice to their God [Exodus 3:18].
Three may also represent God’s perfect design.
There are a total of 39 books in the Old Testament
27 Books in the New Testament for a total of 66 books.
The word testament means “covenant” or “contract."
Moses was the author of the first five books of the Bible in the Old Testament, referred to as the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).
These books profess to have been written by Moses in the name of God ( Exodus 17:14; Exodus 24:3; Exodus 24:4; Exodus 24:7; Exodus 32:7-10 Exodus 32:30-34; 34:27; Leviticus 26:46; 27:34; Deuteronomy 31:9 Deuteronomy 31:24 Deuteronomy 31:25 ).
There Are Three Kinds of Books in the Old Testament.
Books of the Law (Also called the Pentateuch or Torah)
I & II Samuel
I & II Kings
I & II Chronicles
Song of Solomon
The first 17 Books consist of the historical timeline for the nation of Israel. You will find the poetry of Israel in the following five books of the Old Testament.
The final 17 books will reveal the prophecy of Israel.
What is the longest book in the Bible? The book of Psalms.
What is the shortest book in the Bible? 2 John.
What is the longest chapter in the Bible? Psalm 119
What is the shortest chapter in the Bible? Psalm 117
What is the longest verse in the Bible? Esther 8:9
What is the shortest verse in the Bible? John 11:35
Which book in the Bible does not mention the word “God?” The book of Esther.
Who was the oldest man that ever lived? Methuselah lived to be 969 years old (Genesis 5:27).
Who were the two men in the Bible who never died but were caught up to heaven? Enoch, who walked with God
and was no more (Genesis 5:22-24). Elijah was caught up by a whirlwind into heaven (II Kings 2:11).
In the New Testament, Apostle Paul wrote 14 books, which is over half of the New Testament.
The four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John tell the life story of Jesus: what He said, what He taught, and what He did.
The first three Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, are similar in content and structure and are also called the "synoptic gospels."
The 5 Divisions of the New Testament
The Historical Book
The Pauline Epistles
I & II Corinthians
I & II Thessalonians
I & II Timothy
The General Epistles
I & II Peter
I, II, & III John
What is a Pauline Epistle?
The word epistle essentially means “letter.”
Some of Paul’s epistles were written from jail cells; some were addressed to individuals, and others to congregations. Altogether, twenty-one letters are recorded in the New Testament.
Of the 27 books in the New Testament, 21 are epistles, or letters, many of which were written by Paul.
Paul wrote letters to the churches and providences; often, his letters were passed from one church to the next.
Paul lived under house arrest in Rome (Acts 28:30-31). He continued to minister to those who visited and encouraged local churches via letters he wrote from prison.
What is a General Epistle?
The General Epistles reflect Christians' essential challenges in the Roman Empire and how to follow Jesus in a harsh environment.
General Epistles speak to the Christian church, in general, rather than individual churches.
The seven letters of James are also called the Epistle of St. James the Apostle.
1st and 2nd Peter
1st and 2nd, and 3rd John
The New Testament is the fulfillment of the promises from the Old Testament.
It also recounts the birth, the ministry of Jesus Christ, his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.
It will also tell you about Jesus's Disciple's Ministry after his death.
The New Testament was originally written in Greek, it has a total of 260 chapters that starts with Matthew and ends with Revelation, The New Testament has 7,957 verses, a total number of words is roughly 184,600, and the longest book in the New Testament is the Book of Acts.
The Geography of the Bible?
The geography of Israel is more than side trivia for the events in the Bible—it’s the stage God chose to place the characters of his story.
The narrative unfolds across many different landscapes, from the Mediterranean coastal region to the lower Galilee to the southern desert and beyond. It’s an epic story of God’s kingdom expanding from a garden to the whole known world.
The Bible’s original audience would’ve known these places and regions and why they were important to the story.
But today’s Bible readers often skip over details about the land. They read the names of places, but there’s no meaning attached.
And when we don’t know the land, we don’t really know the whole story. It’s like watching a play without a backdrop or props.
Geography drops you right in the middle of the setting of God’s grand narrative and brings it to life.
Here are three specific benefits of studying biblical geography.
1. You’ll better understand God’s placement of the land.
The location of the land of Israel is no accident.
This narrow strip along the Mediterranean coast functioned as a bridge connecting Asia and Africa. In Jesus’ time, the only way to travel between Egypt and Mesopotamia was by trade routes that ran through Israel.
This made Israel a means of international power, wealth, and trade.
But God’s unique design and placement of Israel also perfectly positioned its people to complete their charge to be a “light to the nations” (Isa 49:6).
When foreign nations passed through, Israel could either draw them to the
Lord or be influenced by them.
See, I have taught you statutes and rules . . . that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?
By keeping God’s instruction, the nation of Israel would reflect God and his character to a watching, godless world.
2. You’ll see the accuracy of Scripture.
The accuracy of geographical information in the biblical accounts—locations, distances between cities and towns, climate, and geology—would have been hard to fake. There were no atlases, only eyewitness accounts documented by the Bible’s ancient writers.
In John 5:1, for example, the apostle wrote that a “feast of the Jews” was approaching, so Jesus “went up to Jerusalem” (emphasis mine).
Jerusalem is nestled in a high mountain ridge in Israel’s hill country, about 2,500 feet above sea level. The route to get there is uphill most of the way; pilgrims would climb a vertical displacement of some 3,370 feet to reach the city.
1 Central Judean hills
The Bible is full of these geographic markers:
Jesus was baptized “in Bethany across the Jordan” (John 1:28)
“A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho” in the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:30)
The psalmist declared the mountains “surround Jerusalem” (Psalm 125:2)
The first time I visited Israel, I realized how accurate these markers are. Ancient Bethany is on the east side of the Jordan River. Jericho is near the Dead Sea, 800 feet below sea level—the lowest city on the earth—unarguably “down from Jerusalem.”
On that trip, as I stood contemplating Psalm 125:2 from the Mount of Olives, gazing down at Jerusalem’s white, limestone city walls, the psalmist’s words went from black and white to technicolor.
To the west is Mount Zion, several hundred feet higher than the city. The hills to the north and the south look down on Jerusalem as well.
The “mounts” indeed surround Jerusalem.
View of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives
3. You’ll better interpret the Word of God.
B.J. Beitzel writes:
The Bible contains references to hundreds of place names, in addition to several scores of mountain names, water names, desert/wilderness names, regional names, territorial names, and the like. Even beyond these casual spatial references, there are numerous occasions when geography is tellingly employed as the interpretive axis around which the narrative itself revolves; in which case geography functions as a nexus of interpretation.2
Context is king when interpreting Scripture. But often, geography is not adequately explored.
Yet the geology, topography, and climate are the proper context for the biblical narrative.
It may even be the “nexus of interpretation,” and we would fare well to study it.
Written by Karen Engle thank you for this valuable information.
For further insight into biblical geographical settings, She recommends the award-winning Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels.
Karen Engle received her MA in Biblical Studies and Theology from Western Seminary. She is an editor for Faithlife and regularly takes groups to Israel.
Riddle, A.D. “The Passover Pilgrimage from Jericho to Jerusalem.” In B.J. Beitzel’s (Ed.) Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels (Matt 21:1–Luke 19:40). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, (2016).
Beitzel, B.J., & Lyle, K.A. (Eds.). (2016). Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
The Main Figures In The Old Testament
God- God created the world, the only true and supreme deity, who is all-knowing and, all-powerful. God spoke to the people then as well as now! That is one of the ways in which he reveals his intentions to us.
The Three Central Figures In The New Testament
The Era: Gospels - Jesus of Nazareth
Church - Peter of Bethsaida (John 1:44), but that he may also have held residence in the city of Capernaum (Luke 4: 31, 38).
Missions - Paul of Tarsus
The principal locations for the ministry of Jesus were Galilee and Judea, with activities also taking place in surrounding areas such as Perea and Samaria.
The Three main locations of the New Testament were Palestine, Jerusalem, and Roman Empire.
1: The four gospels were written for different audiences: Matthew for the Jews, Mark for the Romans, Luke for the Greeks, and John, written last, for the growing Church. Each author selected events to target their audience, which explains why some events and the focus differ between the gospels (but they do not conflict).
2: Jesus was actually born in either 7 or 6 BC.
4: Jesus' name in Hebrew was “Yeshua” which translates to English as Joshua. pronounced similar to Yeshua. Greek, was the dominant lingua franca (a language that is adopted as a common language between speakers whose native languages are different.) of the 1st century AD, and it did not have the Hebrew soft-J sound in Joshua, only the hard-J sound, nor did it have the Hebrew uvular H of JosHua. So Joshua became Jesus in Greek.
5: The Magi (wise men) did not visit Jesus at his birth. There are detailed reasons, but it will be easy to see them in the text if you read the end of chapter 1 (birth) and then Chapter 2 (Magi visit and immediate departure to Egypt) in Matthew.
6: As a Jew, Jesus was obedient to Mosaic Law and confirmed the authority of every “jot” and “tittle” of the Torah (five books of Moses), but he went out of his way to challenge “added” Pharisaic rabbinic teachings.
7: The event of the Lord’s Supper was the Seder meal in celebration of Passover. The bread broken was the unleavened matzah in the Afikomen ceremony, and the wine was the Seder third cup of Redemption. Also, those familiar with a Seder will recognize that when Jesus dips in the bowl it was the dipping of the Seder Carpas. Recall that the Seder meal is a remembrance of the Exodus meal where the pascal lamb is slain and its blood applied on the door posts so the angel of death would pass over them. This is one reason Jesus is called the lamb of God.
8:There are as many as 300 direct and indirect prophesies in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) that are fulfilled by Jesus in the New Testament, which is beyond the mathematical probability of coincidence. Such as place of birth, virgin birth, time of birth, exact lineage, rejection by leaders, mode of death, bearing the sins of mankind, resurrection, establishing a new covenant, etc. One can sample this by reading Isaiah 53.
The Old Testament (also known as the Jewish Tanakh) is the first 39 books in most Christian Bibles. The name stands for the original promise with God (to the descendants of Abraham in particular) prior to the coming of Jesus Christ in the New Testament (or the new promise). The Old Testament contains the creation of the universe, the history of the patriarchs, the exodus from Egypt, the formation of Israel as a nation, the subsequent decline and fall of the nation, the Prophets (who spoke for God), and the Wisdom Books.
Genesis speaks of beginnings and is foundational to the understanding of the rest of the Bible. It is supremely a book that speaks about relationships, highlighting those between God and his creation, between God and humankind, and between human beings.
Exodus describes the history of the Israelites leaving Egypt after slavery. The book lays a foundational theology in which God reveals his name, his attributes, his redemption, his law, and how he is to be worshiped.
Leviticus receives its name from the Septuagint (the pre-Christian Greek translation of the Old Testament) and means "concerning the Levites" (the priests of Israel). It serves as a manual of regulations enabling the holy King to set up his earthly throne among the people of his kingdom. It explains how they are to be His holy people and to worship him in a holy manner.
Numbers relates the story of Israel's journey from Mount Sinai to the plains of Moab on the border of Canaan. The book tells of the murmuring and rebellion of God's people and of their subsequent judgment.
Deuteronomy ("repetition of the Law") serves as a reminder to God's people about His covenant. The book is a "pause" before Joshua's conquest begins and a reminder of what God required.
Joshua is a story of conquest and fulfillment for the people of God. After many years of slavery in Egypt and 40 years in the desert, the Israelites were finally allowed to enter the land promised to their fathers.
The book of Judges depicts the life of Israel in the Promised Land—from the death of Joshua to the rise of the monarchy. It tells of urgent appeals to God in times of crisis and apostasy, moving the Lord to raise up leaders (judges) through whom He throws off foreign oppressors and restores the land to peace.
The book of Ruth has been called one of the best examples of short narrative ever written. It presents an account of the remnant of true faith and piety in the period of the judges through the fall and restoration of Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth (an ancestor of King David and Jesus).
Samuel relates God's establishment of a political system in Israel headed by a human king. Through Samuel's life, we see the rise of the monarchy and the tragedy of its first king, Saul.
After the failure of King Saul, 2 Samuel depicts David as a true (though imperfect) representative of the ideal theocratic king. Under David's rule, the Lord caused the nation to prosper, defeat its enemies, and realize the fulfillment of His promises.
1 Kings continues the account of the monarchy in Israel and God's involvement through the prophets. After David, his son Solomon ascended the throne of a united kingdom, but this unity only lasted during his reign. The book explores how each subsequent king in Israel and Judah answers God's call—or, as often happens, fails to listen.
2 Kings carries the historical account of Judah and Israel forward. The kings of each nation are judged in light of their obedience to the covenant with God. Ultimately, the people of both nations are exiled for disobedience.
Just as the author of Kings had organized and interpreted Israel's history to address the needs of the exiled community, so the writer of 1 Chronicles wrote for the restored community history.
2 Chronicles continues the account of Israel's history with an eye for the restoration of those who had returned from exile.
The book of Ezra relates how God's covenant people were restored from Babylonian exile to the covenant land as a theocratic (kingdom of God) community even while continuing under foreign rule.
Closely related to the book of Ezra, Nehemiah chronicles the return of this "cupbearer to the king" and the challenges he and the other Israelites face in their restored homeland.
Esther records the institution of the annual festival of Purim through the historical account of Esther, a Jewish girl who becomes queen of Persia and saves her people from destruction.
Through a series of monologues, the book of Job relates the account of a righteous man who suffers under terrible circumstances. The book's profound insights, its literary structures, and the quality of its rhetoric display the author's genius.
The Psalms are collected songs and poems that represent centuries worth of praises and prayers to God on a number of themes and circumstances. The Psalms are impassioned, vivid, and concrete; they are rich in images, in simile and metaphor.
Proverbs were written to give "prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young," and to make the wise even wiser. The frequent references to "my son(s)" emphasize instructing the young and guiding them in a way of life that yields rewarding results.
The author of Ecclesiastes puts his powers of wisdom to work to examine the human experience and assess the human situation. His perspective is limited to what happens "under the sun" (as is that of all human teachers).
In ancient Israel, everything human came to expression in words: reverence, gratitude, anger, sorrow, suffering, trust, friendship, and commitment. In the Song of Solomon, it is love that finds words–inspired words that disclose its exquisite charm and beauty as one of God's choicest gifts.
Isaiah, son of Amoz, is often thought of as the greatest of the writing prophets. His name means "The Lord saves." Isaiah is a book that unveils the full dimensions of God's judgment and salvation.
This book preserves an account of the prophetic ministry of Jeremiah, whose personal life and struggles are shown to us in greater depth and detail than those of any other Old Testament prophet.
Lamentations consist of a series of poetic and powerful laments over the destruction of Jerusalem (the royal city of the Lord's kingdom) in 586 B.C.
The Old Testament, in general, and the prophets, in particular, presuppose and teach God's sovereignty over all creation and the course of history. And nowhere in the Bible are God's initiative and control expressed more clearly and pervasively than in the book of the prophet Ezekiel.
Daniel captures the major events in the life of the prophet Daniel during Israel's exile. His life and visions point to God's plans of redemption and sovereign control of history.
The prophet Hosea son of Beeri, lived in the tragic final days of the northern kingdom. His life served as a parable of God's faithfulness to an unfaithful Israel.
The prophet Joel warned the people of Judah about God's coming judgment—and the coming restoration and blessing that will come through repentance.
Amos prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah over Judah (792-740 B.C.) and Jeroboam II over Israel (793-753).
The prophet Obadiah warned the proud people of Edom about the impending judgment coming upon them.
Jonah is unusual as a prophetic book in that it is a narrative account of Jonah's mission to the city of Nineveh, his resistance, his imprisonment in a great fish, his visit to the city, and the subsequent outcome.
Micah prophesied sometime between 750 and 686 B.C. during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Israel was in an apostate condition. Micah predicted the fall of her capital, Samaria, and also foretold the inevitable desolation of Judah.
The book contains the "vision of Nahum," whose name means "comfort." The focal point of the entire book is the Lord's judgment of Nineveh for her oppression, cruelty, idolatry, and wickedness.
Little is known about Habakkuk except that he was a contemporary of Jeremiah and a man of vigorous faith. The book bearing his name contains a dialogue between the prophet and God concerning injustice and suffering.
The prophet Zephaniah was evidently a person of considerable social standing in Judah and was probably related to the royal line. The intent of the author was to announce to Judah God's approaching judgment.
Haggai was a prophet who, along with Zechariah, encouraged the returned exiles to rebuild the temple. His prophecies clearly show the consequences of disobedience. When the people give priority to God and his house, they are blessed.
Like Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Zechariah was not only a prophet but also a member of a priestly family. The chief purpose of Zechariah (and Haggai) was to rebuke the people of Judah and to encourage and motivate them to complete the rebuilding of the temple.
Malachi, whose name means "my messenger," spoke to the Israelites after their return from exile. The theological message of the book can be summed up in one sentence: The Great King will come not only to judge his people but also to bless and restore them.
The New Testament is a collection of 27 books, usually placed after the Old Testament in most Christian Bibles. The name refers to the new covenant (or promise) between God and humanity through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The New Testament chronicles the life and ministry of Jesus, the growth and impact of the early church, and instructive letters to early churches.
Matthew's main purpose in writing his Gospel (the "good news") is to prove to his Jewish readers that Jesus is their Messiah. He does this primarily by showing how Jesus, in his life and ministry, fulfilled the Old Testament Scriptures.
Since Mark's Gospel (the "good news") is traditionally associated with Rome, it may have been occasioned by the persecutions of the Roman church in period c. A.D. 64-67. Mark may be writing to prepare his readers for such suffering by placing before them the life of our Lord.
Luke's Gospel (the "good news") was written to strengthen the faith of all believers and to answer the attacks of unbelievers. It was presented to debunk some disconnected and ill-founded reports about Jesus. Luke wanted to show that the place of the Gentile (non-Jewish) Christian in God's kingdom is based on the teaching of Jesus.
John's Gospel (the "good news") is rather different from the other three, highlighting events not detailed in the others. The author himself states his main purpose clearly in 20:31: "that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."
The book of Acts provides a bridge for the writings of the New Testament. As a second volume to Luke's Gospel, it joins what Jesus "began to do and to teach" as told in the Gospels with what he continued to do and teach through the apostles' preaching and the establishment of the church.
The first letter to the Corinthians revolves around the theme of problems in Christian conduct in the church. It thus has to do with progressive sanctification, the continuing development of a holy character. Obviously Paul was personally concerned with the Corinthians' problems, revealing a true pastor's (shepherd's) heart.
Because of the occasion that prompted this letter, Paul had a number of purposes in mind: to express the comfort and joy Paul felt because the Corinthians had responded favorably to his painful letter; to let them know about the trouble he went through in the province of Asia; and to explain to them the true nature (its joys, sufferings and rewards) and high calling of Christian ministry.
Galatians stands as an eloquent and vigorous apologetic for the essential New Testament truth that people are justified by faith in Jesus Christ—by nothing less and nothing more—and that they are sanctified not by legalistic works but by the obedience that comes from faith in God's work for them.
Unlike several of the other letters Paul wrote, Ephesians does not address any particular error or heresy. Paul wrote to expand the horizons of his readers so that they might understand better the dimensions of God's eternal purpose and grace and come to appreciate the high goals God has for the church.
Paul's primary purpose in writing this letter was to thank the Philippians for the gift they had sent him upon learning of his detention at Rome. However, he makes use of this occasion to fulfill several other desires: (1) to report on his own circumstances; (2) to encourage the Philippians to stand firm in the face of persecution and rejoice regardless of circumstances; and (3) to exhort them to humility and unity.
Paul's purpose is to refute the Colossian heresy. To accomplish this goal, he exalts Christ as the very image of God, the Creator, the preexistent sustainer of all things, the head of the church, the first to be resurrected, the fullness of deity (God) in bodily form, and the reconciler.
Although the thrust of the letter is varied, the subject of eschatology (doctrine of last things) seems to be predominant in both Thessalonian letters. Every chapter of 1 Thessalonians ends with a reference to the second coming of Christ.
Since the situation in the Thessalonian church has not changed substantially, Paul's purpose in writing is very much the same as in his first letter to them. He writes (1) to encourage persecuted believers, (2) to correct a misunderstanding concerning the Lord's return, and (3) to exhort the Thessalonians to be steadfast and to work for a living.
During his fourth missionary journey, Paul instructed Timothy to care for the church at Ephesus while he went on to Macedonia. When he realized that he might not return to Ephesus in the near future, he wrote this first letter to Timothy to develop the charge he had given his young assistant. This is the first of the "Pastoral Epistles."
Paul was concerned about the welfare of the churches during this time of persecution under Nero, and he admonished Timothy to guard the gospel, to persevere in it, to keep on preaching it, and, if necessary, to suffer for it. This is the second "Pastoral Epistle."
Apparently, Paul introduced Christianity in Crete when he and Titus visited the island, after which he left Titus there to organize the converts. Paul sent the letter to Zenas and Apollos, who were on a journey that took them through Crete, to give Titus personal authorization and guidance in meeting opposition, instructions about faith and conduct, and warnings about false teachers. This is the last of the "Pastoral Epistles."
To win Philemon's willing acceptance of the runaway slave Onesimus, Paul writes very tactfully and in a lighthearted tone, which he creates with wordplay. The appeal is organized in a way prescribed by ancient Greek and Roman teachers: to build rapport, to persuade the mind, and to move the emotions.
The theme of Hebrews is the absolute supremacy and sufficiency of Jesus Christ as a revealer and a mediator of God's grace. A striking feature of this presentation of the gospel is the unique manner in which the author employs expositions of eight specific passages of the Old Testament Scriptures.
Characteristics that make the letter distinctive are (1) its unmistakably Jewish nature; (2) its emphasis on vital Christianity, characterized by good deeds and a faith that works (genuine faith must and will be accompanied by a consistent lifestyle); (3) its simple organization; (4) and its familiarity with Jesus' teachings preserved in the Sermon on the Mount.
Although 1 Peter is a short letter, it touches on various doctrines and has much to say about Christian life and duties. It is not surprising that different readers have found it to have different principal themes. For example, it has been characterized as a letter of separation, of suffering and persecution, of suffering and glory, of hope, of pilgrimage, of courage, and as a letter dealing with the true grace of God.
In his first letter, Peter feeds Christ's sheep by instructing them how to deal with persecution from outside the church; in this second letter he teaches them how to deal with false teachers and evildoers who have come into the church.
John's readers were confronted with an early form of Gnostic teaching of the Cerinthian variety. This heresy was also libertine, throwing off all moral restraints. Consequently, John wrote this letter with two basic purposes in mind: (1) to expose false teachers and (2) to give believers assurance of salvation.
During the first two centuries, the gospel was taken from place to place by traveling evangelists and teachers. Believers customarily took these missionaries into their homes and gave them provisions for their journey when they left. Since Gnostic teachers also relied on this practice, 2 John was written to urge discernment in supporting traveling teachers
Itinerant teachers sent out by John were rejected in one of the churches in the province of Asia by a dictatorial leader, Diotrephes, who even excommunicated members who showed hospitality to John's messengers. John wrote this letter to commend Gaius for supporting the teachers and, indirectly, to warn Diotrephes.
Although Jude was very eager to write to his readers about salvation, he felt that he must instead warn them about certain immoral men circulating among them who were perverting the grace of God. Apparently, these false teachers were trying to convince believers that being saved by grace gave them license to sin since their sins would no longer be held against them.
John writes to encourage the faithful to resist staunchly the demands of emperor worship. He informs his readers that the final showdown between God and Satan is imminent. Satan will increase his persecution of believers, but they must stand fast, even to death. They are sealed against any spiritual harm and will soon be vindicated when Christ returns when the wicked are forever destroyed, and when God's people enter an eternity of glory and blessedness.
* BibleStudyTools.com edited with necessary grammar corrections.