Matthew is written in the form of a gospel. The book of Matthew proclaims that God is Emmanuel, that Jesus is the Messiah, with all power and authority, and the promise he will be with them forever. Some key issues in Matthew include tracing Jesus’ family line to Abraham, the conception of Jesus, Jesus’ baptism by John, Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness, Sermon on the Mount, Peter’s name change to Simon, the Eucharist, the crucifix and resurrection of Jesus, and all the miracles performed.
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the Jews the love Christ has for them. Matthew shows OT prophecies that were fulfilled to prove that Jesus is the Messiah. Matthew also discusses some of the opposition Jesus received and how he dealt with it. He used parables to rely the messages of humility, love, obedience, prayer, and trust in God.
The book of Acts is tricky as some may place it in the gospel genre, though it is written as a narrative. Acts serves as a history of the church. Though there is not a specified author, it is assumed by many that Acts was written by Luke. The book of Acts provides one of the only records of the early church.
It reviews the laws that were transitioned from the Old Covenant to the new covenant that formed the universal church between the Gentiles and the Jews. Acts describes the proof that Jesus is the Messiah whom Gad promised would come during the writings of the OT. This book briefly discusses the letters of the apostles. Acts also highlights Paul and his conversion from being a killer of Christians to spreading the gospel. Paul’s dramatic change is a major event for Acts. This book also brings up references to Peter and Stephen persecutions.
The book (letter) of Philemon is written in the epistle genre. Paul wrote the letter to Philemon while his was imprisoned in Rome. Paul wrote to Philemon on behalf of Onesimus, a slave who had run away from Philemon, most likely with money and/or items stolen from his master. Paul knew Philemon to be a Christian man and hoped writing to him would ease Onesimus’ return to Philemon’s house.
Paul did not give any harsh opinions about slavery and never asked for the slave to be freed, he simply asked that Philemon express love towards Onesimus as a man of god and d accept him as a brother. This was a big event and an issue for historical context as this request was foreign to people of the time, not necessarily to believers, but the population as a whole. Paul’s purpose for the letter as to unite slave and master and have each accept the other with Christian love and acceptance.
James is in the epistle genre. A few key themes and/or events in this book include: trials and temptations, listening and doing, favoritism, taming the tongue, and the warnings given to the oppressors. James wrote this letter to encourage the Jewish believers to be patient and have faith in their beliefs; he relays to them the importance of perseverance.
James reminds the Jews about the double-minded man and he that preserves under trials will be blessed in the end. James reminds them to not just be listeners of the words but be doers of the word as well; those who do this will receive rewards. He warns them not to show favoritism and be merciful to all – he magnifies the riches the worthless ness of earthly riches. James warns them not to be boastful and not to find favor in long suffering like Job. He ends the letter/book with directions on how to pray with faith and the rewards it brings.
The book of Revelations is categorized as an Apocalypse genre. John wrote the book of Revelations with two main purposes in mind; to encourage and give hope to the Christians awaiting the return of Jesus Christ and to warn the non-believers that the world will end and judgment will be definite. The book introduces prophecies about what will come.
John describes heaven and the rewards received by the people of God, he also describes the punishments and hardships the non-believers will be faced with for eternity. John explains how he received a vision from an angel instructing him to write seven letters to seven churches about the visions he had received from the spirit. The vision he received allowed him to describe ‘New Earth’ and ‘New Heaven’. John ends the book with a warning that anyone who adds or takes away from the prophecy will be dealt with.