The Growth of the Church

The Growth of the Church

After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit the rest of the New Testament is largely about the growth of the Church. Each book is a letter written to a specific individual or group of people explaining some aspect of the Gospel and its relation to our standing before God.

Acts

Luke writes to Theophilus to tell him about the growth of the church around the world in the first few decades after Christ’s ascension. It is a follow up letter to the Gospel of Luke.

Romans

Paul writes to the church at Rome to tell them in detail the Gospel. He begins with the sinfulness of man and then shows how the law was given to expose men’s guilt. He then shows how Christ delivers us from sin and then continues on to walking in the Spirit and how we should live in light of the Gospel. He addresses such issues as predestination and the relationship of Israel to the Church.

1 and 2 Corinthians

The church at Corinth had many problems. Paul writes to apply the New Covenant to each of the problems that they are facing. He addresses many issues like marriage, speaking in tongues, the Lord’s Supper, strife, and lawsuits among Christians. He writes to help them understand the application of the Gospel to local church life.

Galatians

Paul writes to the Galatians because they have fallen away from the truth of the Gospel. False teachers have come in and twisted the Law to show that believers must also obey the Law in order to be saved. He writes to show the right use of the Law and point out the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ. He shows that holiness is brought about by the Spirit, not the flesh.

Ephesians

Paul writes to the church at Ephesus to help them through some of the difficulties they are facing. He begins with a chronological outline of salvation beginning with predestination and then going all the way through to sanctification. He then applies the Gospel to every aspect of the Christian life. He addresses church life, marriage, children, and spiritual warfare.

Philippians

Paul writes to the church at Philippi to encourage them to have the humble mindset of Jesus Christ. He sets Jesus forward as an example of the true Christian walk and applies His life to our everyday situations.

Colossians and Philemon

Paul writes to the church in Colosse to teach them that the central idea of Christianity is the indwelling of Christ. It is only in looking to Christ that we can overcome the lusts of the flesh. He writes to Philemon as a member of the Colossian church to encourage him to receive Onesimus, his runaway slave, as a brother in Christ.

1 and 2 Thessalonians

Paul writes to the Thessalonians to encourage them in their faith and establish them in their walk. He writes to prepare them for the return of Christ and gives them a greater understanding of what His return will look like.

1 and 2 Timothy, Titus

Whenever Paul was unable to physically be present in one of the churches he started, he often sent helpers to bring the churches in line with the Gospel. Paul writes to Timothy and Titus to encourage them in their ministry and to give them instructions in helping established churches. These letters are called the “Pastoral Epistles” because they give practical instruction to pastors/elders on how to lead a church.

Hebrews

The author of Hebrews is writing to Jews who have professed faith in Jesus Christ but have fallen back because of the persecution they have received. He writes to show the Jews that Jesus is far greater than all the prophets and angels. He then warns them of falling back away from Christ and encourages them to follow Him in spite of the difficulties.

James

The half-brother of Jesus writes to believers concerning the true nature of saving faith as well as addressing several problems that had arisen within the community of believers. James was an elder of the Jerusalem church and his letter was the first one written in the New Testament.

1 and 2 Peter

Peter writes to encourage believers who are being persecuted. He writes to them of the full assurance that they can have in the Scriptures, and he encourages the elders to watch over the flock and guide them.

1, 2, and 3 John

John writes to help encourage believers and give them assurance in their faith. He helps us to understand the new birth in practical ways. He writes to help all believers follow the Savior and overcome false teachers.

Jude

Jude writes to believers to encourage them to stay away from false teachers and prepare for the return of Jesus Christ.


 

The last thing that we will look at in our overview of the Bible is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the establishing of His physical kingdom.

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