Holy ScriptNotes: The Layman’s Review of the Bible: Hebrews to Revelation
Whew! Welcome to the final installment of my Holy ScriptNotes series, where I provide a brief overview of each book in the Bible and share with you some of the most quotable passages from each book.
In case you’re interested in catching up, here is what I’ve covered so far:
Okay, here we go!
58. Hebrews: It is unknown who wrote this letter. But basically, this letter to the Hebrews was meant to encourage Christians during times of trial by drawing their focus to the absolute supremacy of Jesus Christ. Basically, even if we’re going through trials and tribulation, we should all take comfort in knowing that Jesus’s resurrection means salvation for all of us who trust in him. This letter also calls Christians to live by the example that Jesus set. Like most of the letters (or epistles) in the new testament, I found this one to be fairly easy to read and dense with practical advice.
- Quotable: “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” – Hebrews 2:18
- Quotable 2: “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:11
59. James: This book was written by Jesus’s half-brother James and is sometimes referred to as the Proverbs of the New Testament. Although it is quite short, it is chock full of valuable and practical advice for everybody. In fact, I think this would be a great book for anyone new to Christianity to start out with. In it, James describes how Christians are supposed to live, touching on everything from controlling one’s tongue to submitting to God’s will, from being patient to embracing the true meaning of wisdom. It’s fantastic. One of my favorite books in the Bible.
- Quotable: “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore, put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” – James 1:19-21
- Quotable 2: “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
60. 1 Peter: This is a letter from Peter to Christians who were very discouraged by the persecution they were facing because of their faith. This letter was meant to motivate them to stand strong in their faith and to also remember the riches of Christ’s inheritance to them. The main theme for the Christians reading this letter are to trust the Lord, live obediently for him no matter external circumstances and to have faith in God’s deliverance.
- Quotable: “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For ‘Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.'” – 1 Peter 3:8-12
- Quotable 2: “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” – 1 Peter 4:12-13
61. 2 Peter: This is a second letter from Peter in which he addresses some issues with twisted versions of Christian truth being taught. Peter also talks about Jesus’s triumphant return and the final judgment.
- Quotable: “They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. FOr it would be have better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.” – 2 Peter 2:18-21
- Quotable 2: “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” – 2 Peter 3:17-18
62. 1 John: In this letter, the apostle John talks about the truth of the incarnation, which was a topic that was in much need of discussion after some false teachers at the time were questioning Jesus Christ’s full divinity. This letter also reaffirms the idea that either we exhibit the sound doctrine, obedience and love that characterize Christians or we are not true Christians. But if we are true Christians, John says we can expect a life full of joy and peace.
- Quotable: “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. IF we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 5-9
- Quotable 2: “God is love and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgement, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.
63. 2 John: This letter, which is literally less than a half page, warns about the same false teaching that was mentioned in 1 John. The letter emphasizes the same basic themes as found in the first letter, including holding fast to truth, love and obedience. The letter says that it is only when you have found that your life is aligned with sound doctrine that you will find meaningful fellowship.
- Quotable: “And now I ask you, dear lady – not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning – that we love one another.” – 2 John 5
- Quotable 2: “Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” – 2 John 8-9
64. 3 John: This letter, which is also literally a half page, continues what John was talking about in the second letter. John uses the example of two people to show what to do and what not to do. He talks about a Christian named Gaius who lives out the teachings of the apostles by welcoming traveling missionaries into his home. And he talks about Diotrephes, a selfish church leader who refuses to help others and also slanders anyone opposes who opposes him. The take home message is that pride can divide Christians if they are not living by God’s word.
- Quotable: “Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God.” – 3 John 5-6
- Quotable 2:“Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.” – 3 John 11
65. Jude: This letter from Jude warns pervert the grace of God after having gained admission to the church. In this letter, Jude renounces those who defile the flesh or reject authority. He urges Christians to maintain their godliness and to continue loving those who strayed and even “snatch them out of the fire” if necessary.
- Quotable: “Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.” – Jude 5
- Quotable 2: “They said to you, ‘In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.’ It is these who cause divisions, wordly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” – Jude 18-23
Apocalyptic Epistle by John
66. Revelation: Scholars believe this book was written by the apostle John while he was in exile on the island of Patmos. The book actually begins with letters from Christ himself to seven churches. These letters include commendation, criticism and comfort. Then there are a bunch of visions of judgement on the wicked. The book talks about how the church will be under great distress but how ultimately Jesus will have the final triumph, ending the rebellion of humanity and bringing in a new heaven and a new earth where God will reign forever. It’s heavy stuff. But in the end, there’s a happy ending for the followers of Jesus Christ.
- Quotable: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” – Revelation 3:20
- Quotable 2: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelation 21: 3-4
Thanks for coming on this journey with me! I’m not much of a reader but reading the 895 pages of the Bible was definitely made easier by splitting up readers on a daily schedule for a year. I definitely recommend trying it yourself and seeing how the living text will speak to you.