Finding my way, sharing my finds

Holy ScriptNotes: The Layman’s Review of the Bible: Matthew to Philemon

Welcome to the third blog in my Holy ScriptNotes series, where I give you a brief summary and review of each book in the Bible (along with one of my favorite quotes from each book), based upon my experience of reading the Bible in a year.

And since we’re starting the New Testament today and there are just so many quotable passages from this section of the Bible, I’m going to give two Quotables for each book.

In case you’re interested in catching up, here is what I’ve covered so far:

NT Narratives

Jesus-and-Fishermen-79778440. Matthew: Just like in all of the Gospels, this one focuses on Jesus’s three-year ministry as well as his death and resurrection. In this book, Matthew shares accounts of Jesus’s healing activities as well as his efforts in casting out demons.  This book also covers some of Jesus’s better known teachings, including the Sermon on the Mount and the Parables of the Kingdom. This is also where readers will find the Beatitudes as well as the Lord’s Prayer.  I found this book to be easy to read and follow and there were just so many well-known Jesus stories covered throughout.  And talk about a lot of quoteables.  Starting the New Testament was definitely a breath of fresh air after some of the drudgery I experienced in the Old Testament.

  • Quotable: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall lover your neighobr and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:43-44
  • Quotable 2: “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted,” – Matthew 23:12

41. Mark: If you feel like you have deja vu as you’re reading Mark, don’t worry: It happened to me too! Basically, as I learned, a lot of the stories covered in one of the Gospels is also covered in other Gospels.  Each person offers up their own unique perspective but the bones of the stories remain the same. It is quite a trippy feeling, however, when you realize you’re reading another account of the same story you just read.  The Bible repeats itself a lot like that.  I guess that’s good for credibility. Anyway, Mark really tries to emphasize in his book that Jesus is the Christ/The Son of God.  Mark also brings the unique perspective of featuring the experiences of the disciples, the crowds and the religious leaders – none of whom fully understand Jesus until after he died on the cross.

  • Quotable: “And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.’ ” – Mark 2:16-17.
  • Quotable 2: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.’ ” – Mark 11:24-25

Prodigal Son42. Luke: Fun fact: The Gospel of Luke was actually originally a letter addressed to a man named Theophilus.  Luke wrote this letter only after carefully investigating the facts about Christ, which makes sense  given his scientific background as a physician. This gospel starts with the birth of Jesus and goes all the way through his ministry to his death and resurrection.  Another unique feature about the gospel of Luke is that he is the only one to record the parables of the Good Samaritan as well as the Prodigal Son. luke is also the author of Acts, which you’ll see in two books.

  • Quotable: ” ‘ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.’ ”  – Luke 15:7
  • Quotable 2: “…No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.’ ”  – Luke 16:13

43. John: Before I ever read the Bible, many recommended I start out with John.  John is written in a different kind of way in that it was written to persuade people to believe in Jesus. This book focuses on seven of Jesus’s signs (miracles), which the author used to show his divinity.  This book also includes such well-known moments in Jesus’s life such as when he washed the disciples’ feet and when he encountered Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman.  It also includes the most well-known summary of the gospel (John 3:16), which says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

  • Quotable: “Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ ” – John 4:13-14
  • Quotable 2: “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ ” – John 8:31-32

44. Acts: Just like the book of Luke, this book (which was also written by Luke) was written in the form of a letter to his friend Theophilius. This book basically covers the actions of Jesus’s disciples shortly after he is crucified.  This book provides accounts on how the disciples carried Jesus’s gospel from Jerusalem throughout Judea, Samaria and other parts of the Mediterranean world.  By the end, this book has shifted to focusing on Paul and his missionary journeys.  Paul was actually against the teachings of Christ but then had a spiritual awakening and became a staunch supporter and missionary for the teachings of Jesus Christ.  It was pretty cool reading about his redemption in Christ and this book was easy to follow along to.

  • Quotable: “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will recieve the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ ” – Acts 2:38
  • Quotable 2: ” ‘But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.’ ” – Acts 20:24

Epistles by Paul 

Romans12_1045. Romans: So basically, all of the following books in the rest of this blog entry are letters from Paul (formerly Saul, the former naysayer of Christ’s teachings) to various towns and communities as well as individuals. The purpose of Paul’s letter to the Romans was to show that the righteousness of God is found through faith for all who believe.  Paul explains in this letter that we need faith because of the sin we all have. But he also laments that many of his fellow Israelites have not embraced the Gospel.  He concludes the letter by describing how the Gospel should affect one’s everyday life. Seriously, read Romans 12: 9-21 , which describes the “Marks of a True Christian.” It has so much practicality for everyday living and is one of my favorite sections in the Bible.

  • Quotable: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  For the creation waits with eager long for the revealing of the sons of God.” – Acts 8:18-19
  • Quotable 2: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Acts 12:1-2

46. 1 Corinthians: For historical background, Corinth was on a major trade route in the ancient world, which made it vulnerable to corruption, self-indulgence and immorality. Paul actually planted a church there but it was floundering because of all of these worldly influences. So Paul wrote this letter to address those practical issues that seemed to be dividing the church, such as spiritual gifts, marriage and the resurrection.  He urged the members of this church to be unified so that they could do the worlk of God.  This book also contains the well-known passage about the nature of and importance of love (Chapter 13), which is often read at weddings.

  • Quotable: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13
  • Quotable 2: “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13

image00247. 2 Corinthians: In this second letter to the Corinthians, Paul reviews some of the issues discussed in the first letter but also talks about new issues, such as ensuring that the believers in this planted church were unified in Paul’s mission. Also, at this time, many of Paul’s critics were claiming that because Paul was suffering, he must not be a true apostle. But on the contrary, Paul said, his summering highlighted his dependence on Christ, to the point where he could no longer rely on his own strength but had to turn to Christ’s strength. This letter also has some great insight on such matters as gospel ministry and giving to others.

  • Quotable: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are n any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”  – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
  • Quotable 2: “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

48. Galatians: The catalyst for writing this letter to a group of churches in Galatia where Paul used to preach was the fact that there were people there who wrere trying to teach that Christians must be circumcised in order to be accepted by God. In this letter, Paul talks about how complete salvation in Christ can be enjoyed by all believers.  He also talked about how the gospel of grace is what leads to true freedom and godly living. Basically, the central message of this letter is that one is justified when one has true faith in Jesus Christ.

  • Quotable: “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” – Galatians 5:13-14
  • Quotable 2: “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23.

gracechangeseverything4-w855h42549. Ephesians: Paul wrote this letter to the churches around Ephesus as a way of sharing God’s eternal plan for all of humanity.  While the first three chapters focus on what Christians should believe (such as one in Christ and the mystery of the Gospel), the last three chapters explain the implications of God’s grace for the church, for individuals and for families. Paul likely wrote this letter while he was in prison in Rome.

  • Quotable: “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 4:1-3
  • Quotable 2: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kin to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32

50. Philippians: Paul actually wrote this letter to the church in Phillippi after they sent him a gift. Paul shared in this letter that he had learned the secret to being content in any situation, even as he sat in prison.  And he was quite joyful that people were hearing about Christ.  Paul ends the letter with a call the action, asking the members of the church of Phillippi to be unified and to serve as Jesus served.

  • Quotable: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:3-4.
  • Quotable 2: “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:4-7

1625710_602727499817439_1940118250_n51. Colossians: Paul wrote this letter to the church in Colossae in an effort to ward off the temptation to believe false teachers of the Gospel.  In this letter, Paul talks about the superiority of Christ and the reconciliation he accomplished in his resurrection. Paul also explains that the right way of living in this world is to focus on heavenly (rather than earthly) things. Paul wrote this letter while he was in prison, likely around the same time that he wrote Ephesians.

  • Quotable: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on tings that are on earth. For you have died, and your lie is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” – Colossians 3:1-4.
  • Quotable 2: “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. … Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you out to answer each person.” – Colossians 4:2; Colossians 4:5-6

52. 1 Thessalonians: Paul wrote this letter as a way of encouraging new believers in the faith as well as to encourage them to embrace godly living. Although Paul wanted to connect with the people of Thessalonica (which was the capital of Roman Macedonia), he was forced to flee because of Jewish opposition.  Thus, he sent Timothy to work with the mostly Gentile church there. When Timothy brought Paul good news of their faith, Paul wrote this letter.

  • Quotable: “But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:4
  • Quotable 2: “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18

91e9b524be1af61fd5a57fd087d534c153. 2 Thessalonians: Paul wrote this letter shortly after his first letter to the church in Thessalonica. Paul was really proud of how this church was so faithful and how they loved each other so much. He wrote this letter in part to remind them that God would repay their persecutors.  Also, Paul wrote this letter to address two ongoing concerns in the church: First, the fear that the Lord had already returned and second, the concern that idleness was spreading in the church.

  • Quotable: “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” – 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
  • Quotable 2: “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ” – 2 Thessalonians 3:5

54. 1 Timothy: An aging Paul wrote this letter (along with 2 Timothy and Titus) to those who would continue his work after him. Timothy had been assigned ot lead the church at Ephesus, which had been plagued by false teachers and which was in need of some order. In this letter, Paul counsels Timothy on church leadership. He closed the letter with a challenge to Timothy to live a life beyond reproach so that he could provide believers with a standard to live by.

  • Quotable: “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” – 1 Timothy 4:4-5
  • Quotable 2: Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12

download55. 2 Timothy: Paul actually wrote this letter while he was awaiting execution.  Even though Paul was facing such a terrible fate, he continued to direct Timothy to focus on the hope that is in Christ.  He also praised Timothy for being such a great spiritual leader and also emphasized the importance of sound doctrine.  Paul also expressed a believe that older believers should be eager to pass on what they know to those younger in the faith.

  • Quotable: “The saying is trustworthy, for ‘If we have die with him, we will also live with him; if we endure with him, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful – for he cannot deny himself.’ ” – 2 Timothy 2:11-13
  • Quotable 2: “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,  correcting his opponents with gentleness.” – 2 Timothy 2:22-25

56. Titus: In this letter to Titus, Paul seeks to offer encouragement and wisdom as Titus is facing ongoing opposition from the ungodly in his congregations. Paul also offers Titus some advice on how to choose overseers (elders) in the church and what qualities to look for.  This is one of the shortest books in the Bible but it still had plenty of nuggets to offer.

  • Quotable: “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” – Titus 2:7-8
  • Quotable 2: For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and lviing kindness of God wour Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poued out on us richly through Jesus Christ our savior, so that being justified by his grace we mgiht become heirs accorindg to the hope of eternal life.” – Titus 3:3-7

57. Philemon: This book chronicles a tale of reconciliation and relationships among Christians. Basically, there was this man named Onesimus who was a slave of a believer named Philemon. Well, Onesimus stole from Philemon and fled. But then, Onesimus became a Christian and met Paul.  Paul wrote this letter to Philemon, encouraging him to accept Onesimus back into his household, not as a slave, but rather as a brother. Paul even promised to pay whatever debt that Onesimus owed Philemon.

  • Quotable: “I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.” – Philemon 1:4-6
  • Quotable 2: “For  I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshing through you.” – Philemon 1:7

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Join me next time as I close our this series on HolyScriptNotes by providing summaries of the final books of the bible: Hebrews to Revelation.

Be well.


One comment on “Holy ScriptNotes: The Layman’s Review of the Bible: Matthew to Philemon

  1. Pingback: Holy ScriptNotes: The Layman’s Review of the Bible: Hebrews to Revelation | mid20chronicles

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This entry was posted on May 15, 2016 by in Bucket List and tagged , , , , , , .
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