Matthew: Apostle Matthew. Circa AD 40-60. Matthew wrote to the Jews who knew the Old Testament. He wrote to present Jesus Christ, the Messiah, to the nation Israel and to record the attitude of Israel to the Messiah. Matthew gives us the genealogy, the presentation, and the authentication of Christ. Matthew then shows the nation’s opposition to and rejection of Christ followed by Christ’s rejection of Israel due to her unbelief. He then records the death and resurrection of Christ. He concludes with Christ commissioning the disciples.
Mark: John Mark. Circa AD 60. Mark presents Christ as the Servant of the Lord. In this capacity Christ comes in fulfillment of the Old Testament (Isaiah 42), offering His credentials, gathering His disciples, offering the Kingdom and the message of the Kingdom. In view of His rejection, Christ continues teaching, but often in parables. This hides the truth from those hardened against Him, yet prepares and instructs those responsive to Him. This instruction includes theocratic kingdom doctrine such as entrance into the kingdom, Israel’s part in the kingdom and the death, resurrection, and coming rule of the King.
Luke: Luke the physician. Circa AD 58. Luke presents Christ as the God-Man, the Savior of the world. He does this from a broad vantage point that is compatible with the fact that he is a Greek. Luke traces the incarnation, Christ’s introduction, ministry, rejection, subsequent teaching in view of His rejection, the cross, resurrection and ascension. Even though a Gentile, Luke emphasizes the kingdom program with Israel’s place in the kingdom.
John: John the apostle. Probably prior to AD 70, but at least by 85-90. John presents the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ so that mankind would believe in Him as the Son of God, Messiah, and Savior of the world. His selective argument portrays Christ as the God-Man. John records miracles and messages that affirm the deity and humanity of Christ. John builds his record around the public ministry of Christ, the private ministry, the cross, and the resurrection.
Acts: Luke the physician. Circa AD 62. Acts is the record of the transition from the age of Israel (Old Testament economy) to the church age (New Testament economy). The book includes the beginning, scattering, adjusting, expansion, and edification of the church. Acts presents the development of the one body of Christ consisting of believing Jews and Gentiles.
Romans: Paul. Circa AD 56-57. Romans presents God’s gospel, which is in Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and the gospel’s effect upon mankind. This gospel is God’s righteousness extended to mankind based on the work of Christ and received by faith in Christ.
1 Corinthians: Paul. Circa spring, AD 56. The Corinthians were an established church, taught by Paul, yet they had not absorbed the doctrine taught by him. They were carnal. The expression of this carnality was in many forms. Paul wrote to correct the basis for the carnality and the various expressions of it.
2 Corinthians: Paul. Circa fall, AD 56. Second Corinthians deals with the alienation between Paul and the Corinthians, its effect upon both parties and the reconciliation. Paul presents the communicator’s authority, message, suffering, disappointments, responsibilities, blessings, and hope. He weaves the threads of the letter together so that the Corinthians are encouraged to grow in Christ.
Galatians: Paul. Circa AD 50-51. Galatians centers around the conflict between the grace – Holy Spirit – faith complex and the law – flesh – works complex. Paul sets up the principle that God deals with mankind based upon the principle of grace – Holy Spirit – faith. He used salvation by grace – Holy Spirit – faith as the background, and then argues that the Christian Way of Life is also by grace – Holy Spirit – faith.
Ephesians: Paul. Circa AD 62. Paul begins with the church in God’s eternal plan. He then moves to the members of the church and the condition in which they were born, then to their new position and how it came about. At this point Paul inserts his own relationship to the church age. He then moves to the day to day function of the church, called the suitable walk. The suitable walk includes equipping through gifted men, the expressions and relationships of the new man, and the believer’s combat engagement with satanic forces.
Philippians: Paul. Circa AD 62. This is a very personal letter to loyal comrades in ministry. They are growing and ministering. Paul appreciates them. He writes to them while he is in prison. He writes about his ministry, growth, stability, and happiness and encourages the Philippians to experience the same blessings.
Colossians: Paul. Circa AD 62. Paul writes to believers that are growing in the Christian Way of Life. His major thrust is toward their continued growth, even in the face of opposition. Paul stresses the believer’s relationship to the preeminent Christ, his own divinely given function in God’s purpose, and then warns them about false teachings. He then writes about the believer’s occupation with Christ, growth, and day to day life in various settings.
1 Thessalonians: Paul. Circa AD 51. Paul is unable to revisit this new group of believers who are under satanic attack, therefore he writes this letter to teach, to stabilize, and to encourage them in their Christian Way of Life.
2 Thessalonians: Paul. Circa AD 51, shortly after the first letter. This letter has three purposes. Paul writes to encourage the Thessalonians in their spiritual growth, to counter false doctrine, and to instruct them on problems in the church.
1 Timothy: Paul. Circa AD 66-67. Paul the apostle delegates authority to Timothy, his personal representative, and instructs him. This instruction is about Timothy’s life and ministry as an apostolic representative and about the organization, function, and edification of the church.
2 Timothy: Paul. Circa AD 68. Paul writes this last letter to warn, encourage, and instruct Timothy so that Timothy will maintain the ministry in the face of opposition. Paul also uses this letter to express his own confidence at the end of his life.
Titus: Paul. Circa AD 66-67. Titus is instructed to authoritatively teach and organize the believers on Crete. He is to emphasize three areas – local church organization and function, doctrinal instruction, and the use of the doctrine.
Philemon: Paul. Circa AD 62. Philemon is a personal letter from Paul to Philemon, a believer and slave owner. Paul asks that Philemon receive his slave, Onesimus, who escaped but is now returning, graciously. Onesimus is now a believer and helper of Paul.
Hebrews: Unknown. Circa AD 67-70. Hebrews presents the superiority of Jesus Christ, His work, and His relationship to the church age believer. Since the Father has spoken through the Son and honors the Son, since Christ is the high priest-mediator of a new covenant, and since Old Testament believers have set a faith pattern for us, we should live occupied with Jesus Christ.
James: James the apostle and brother of Jesus. Circa AD 45. James writes to scattered and leaderless Jewish believers who are without written church age revelation. His writing is based upon the Old Testament revelation plus the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He writes to show that faith yields application of doctrine with production.
1 Peter: Peter. Circa AD 63-67. Peter writes to believers undergoing suffering in five provinces of the northeastern part of the Roman Empire. He instructs them toward stability, toward growth, and toward the proper expression of this stability and growth. Peter bases his argument upon God’s pre-designed plan and grace provisions which are for all believers.
2 Peter: Peter. Circa AD 67-68. Peter is about to die. He is concerned about the protection and continued progress of these believers. The emphasis that he stresses is relationship to the Word from God. A positive response to the Word results in protection, stability, progress, and growth. Defection from the Word produces false doctrine, spiritual failure, and instability.
1 John: John the apostle. Circa AD 85-90. John writes about fellowship with the Father and the Son and other believers. Fellowship comes through obedience to the Word of God and through confession of sin when sin is committed. John also writes so that they may have confidence about eternal life.
2 John: John the apostle. Circa AD 85-100. John writes to remind this lady and her children that their lives should be an expression of the Word of God in all areas. This expression is called love or loving one another.
3 John: John the apostle. Circa AD 85-100. John writes a personal letter to Gaius about his faithful response to the Word as shown by his treatment of other believers, such as the traveling evangelist. The Word of God in the life of a believer produces results.
Jude: Jude, the brother of James. Circa AD 65-80. Jude interrupts a letter about salvation in order to write another letter which warns about apostasy. He urges them to recognize the problem and fight for the faith. He presents the strategy for the doctrinal conflict. This strategy includes growth in doctrine, prayer, loyal love for God, eagerly awaiting eternity, and helping other believers that are influenced by apostasy. He closes with a statement of confidence and praise to God.
Revelation: John the apostle. Circa AD 94-96. John writes about the prophetic program which centers in Christ and extends from John’s day until the enthronement of Christ as the Father’s King in the millennium and in eternity. The book follows the outline of Revelation 1:19, the things which John has seen (glories of Christ in Chapter 1), the things which are (the seven churches then in existence in Chapters 2-3), and the things which are about to occur after these things (the tribulation, Second Advent, millennium, and eternity in Chapters 4-22).