This List is closed to voting and commenting
1 | 100.00%
Romans is the longest of all Paul’s writings and is widely regarded as one of the most important letters that he wrote. It is written to the Christians in Rome and is unusual in that Rome was one of the few communities that Paul had not founded, making Romans Paul’s first communication with the community there. The letter announces his intention to come to Rome and to be sent onwards by them to Spain (15.23-24). By way of introduction, Paul laid out his theology in great detail, explaining the good news that he proclaimed (chapters 1-11) and the consequences that he believed this should have in the lives of the Christian community (12-16). We do not, as a rule, know what Paul said when he first arrived in a new place proclaiming the gospel. Most letters, written as they are to communities that Paul had founded, are the second or third communication to the community not the first. Romans is one of the closest accounts we have of what Paul might have said initially to a community, when he first arrived.
2 | 0.00%
John’s Gospel is the most reflective and theological of all the gospels. It begins with a beautiful poem on the Word made flesh and continues throughout the book interweaving stories about Jesus with deep theological reflections on his importance. The stories about Jesus often focus around his miracles (which John’s Gospel calls Signs) and from there spill onwards into discussions or discourses about the nature of Jesus and what he had come to do. Various themes run through the Gospel of John, much more clearly than in the other gospels’ themes, such as good vs evil, light vs darkness, Jesus coming to earth from heaven sent by God and, underpinning everything else – love.
3 | 0.00%
Matthew’s Gospel, like all of the gospels, tells the story of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Matthew contains a particularly Hebrew emphasis, quoting regularly from the Old Testament, and showing how Jesus fulfilled the expectations so long awaited by God’s people. Although it begins with the birth of Jesus, including a visit from wise men from the East, the majority of the story of Jesus’ life focuses on his adult life and ministry culminating in his death and resurrection. The Gospel ends with the command to proclaim the good news of Jesus to the ends of the earth.
5 | 0.00%
The book of Proverbs is a collection of poems, longer teachings and very short sayings which communicate the wisdom of Ancient Israel. It contains wisdom of all sorts – from folk wisdom, which would have been relevant to everyone’s life, to wisdom for people in the royal court. It is a complete smorgasbord of wise sayings to live by.
6 | 0.00%
Genesis tells a number of stories of ‘beginning’. Indeed the name Genesis means origin or source. The book begins by telling the story of the beginning of the world, before also telling the story of the beginning of the breakdown of relationship between God and humanity. From chapter 12 onwards Genesis tells another story of beginning: the start of a new relationship between God and a particular family – Abraham and Sarah and their descendants, ending then with Abraham and Sarah’s great-grandson Joseph in Egypt.
7 | 0.00%
This book appears to fall into three sections. The first section (chapters 1-39) contains a large number of messages describing the judgement that will fall on the people of Judah unless they change their ways. This judgement is shot through with some beautiful passages of hope and promised salvation. This first section also contains some narrative sections, especially chapters 36-39 which are an exact copy of 1 Kings 18.13-20.19. The second section (40-55) is based almost entirely on the comfort that will come to God’s people. It feels as though it is set after the judgement, promised in the first section, has happened and pledges a new future for God’s people. The third section (56-66) also appears to be set at a different time, probably after God’s people have returned to the land. It contains a mix of warnings about how they should behave alongside comfort and hope for the future.
8 | 0.00%
This is a letter from Paul to the Christians in Corinth, in response to a letter that they had sent to Paul asking about various issues connected to worship and ethics. There is also a hint that Paul had received an independent report from ‘Chloe’s people’ to which he was also responding in this letter. The heart of Paul’s answer in chapters 12-13 is that they should approach all the ethical dilemmas that they faced and all the conflict that they were experiencing in the knowledge that they were all members together of the body of Christ and that they should behave towards one another with love.
9 | 0.00%
Luke’s Gospel, like all of the gospels, tells the story of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke’s Gospel is often said to have been written for a more Gentile audience, though it is important to recognize that the author knew a lot about Jewish traditions and scripture. The story of Luke begins and ends in the Temple in Jerusalem, first with Zechariah’s encounter with the angel and finally with the disciples praising God there. The intervening chapters tell of John the Baptist’s and Jesus’ births; the life and ministry of Jesus and then his death, resurrection and ascension into heaven. One striking characteristic of Luke is his storytelling style, in which he takes particular care to weave stories together in the most effective way possible.
10 | 0.00%
The Acts of the Apostles tells the story of Jesus’ disciples from their time in Jerusalem, just after Jesus’ ascension, to Paul’s eventual arrival in Rome. Roughly the first half of the book concentrates on what happened to Jesus’ first disciples and how, inspired by the Holy Spirit, they began to share the good news, first in Jerusalem and then further afield. The second half of the book picks up the story of the apostle Paul (whom we meet first at his conversion on the road to Damascus in chapter 9) who spreads the good news to the Gentiles in Asia Minor (what we now call Turkey), then Greece and finally Italy.