Solomon said, “Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh” (Eccl. 12:12). There will always be people writing books, and we cannot possibly read them all. However, our lives are blessed by making good books our companions. Of course, the best book to read and the most important book to digest is the Word of God (Ps. 119:103-105). Still, we can reap great profit from reading books that help us better understand the Bible. It is true that one can pick up the Bible alone and read it and learn all that is necessary for eternal life. However, we should not buy into the false notion that says there are no other helpful resources that shed light on our understanding of the Bible. Bible dictionaries, lexicons, commentaries, and other reference works do not replace the Bible, but we can profit from the rich study and scholarship of others and quickly enhance our knowledge of Scripture.
Forest and I have recently written a book, Last Will and Testament (LWAT), in which we summarize each book of the New Testament and give some key insights that will help readers to grasp the message of the new covenant. God wrote His word to be understood and applied to our lives. Forest and I have written a simple guide that we believe will bless God’s people in our pursuit to be unashamed workmen who handle the word of God properly (2 Tim. 2:15). You may be relatively new to the New Testament or a seasoned student of the Word of God, but hopefully, this brief post will provide some encouragement for you to check out the book and pass it along to others.
1. Getting a Grasp on the Whole
Sometimes we can get into the habit of reading the same Bible books repeatedly. This may help us become experts in the book of our choice, but it will hinder us from becoming well-rounded students of the entire Bible. LWAT will help to acquaint readers with the New Testament completely as we walk through each book of the New Testament and describe themes, key verses, and provide a brief overview. Maybe you are more familiar with Matthew than you are with 3 John. If we believe all of Scripture is from God and is profitable then we should do our best to become familiar with all of it (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Seeing how every book in the New Testament plays a part in telling God’s redemptive story will help Bible students appreciate the cohesive nature of the New Testament.
2. A Helpful Reference Work
Sometimes one is called on to teach about a special subject at the last minute. We may not have the major thrust of each book committed to memory, so sometimes it is difficult to remember what the major arguments are in each book. LWAT will be useful for preachers and Bible class teachers when needing a quick reference for the major issues that occur in a particular book in the New Testament. The book is no shortcut for actually reading the books of the Bible, but it does give a jumpstart to studying each book.
While LWAT is not exhaustive, it will be useful to those wanting to know what John was trying to accomplish in his Gospel, or what Paul’s major reasons were for writing Philemon. While this book can benefit those who read it cover to cover, it is designed to be digested over time as readers turn to it again and again after having studied books of the Bible themselves and then seeing what further insights they may be able to glean from the summaries provided in LWAT.
3. There is Nothing New Under the Sun
Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun and he was right (Eccl. 1:9). As you read LWAT you will see that the themes, problems, and issues addressed in the times of the New Testament are still relevant today. Sometimes Christians are discouraged as we view our present issues as unique or exceptional. As we comb through the background and occasion for the writing of the New Testament books, readers will see the parallel that connects their times to ours. Also, at the end of each book’s summary, there is a paragraph or two dedicated to the application as we discuss what makes the book and its teachings significant still today.
Two popular mistakes in Bible reading are either ignoring the ancient context or failing to make the necessary modern application. Both mistakes can and must be avoided if we will read the Bible for all it’s worth. One of the things our book seeks to accomplish is to show how the ancient text of the New Testament is still applicable to our times today. Our modern problems still find their solution in the New Testament.
4. Understanding One Book at a Time
Sometimes you can read a book of the Bible and, when you are finished, you move on to the next one, but you may be incapable of explaining what you just finished reading. While we believe it is important to understand the Bible (especially the New Testament) as a whole, we realize this can only be done one book at a time. LWAT is designed to help readers get a handle on a particular book of the New Testament without being confused or overwhelmed by too much information. It was not our aim to be exhaustive, but neither did we intend to skimp on the main emphasis of each book. As you read LWAT, we hope that you will be better able to understand each book of the New Testament at a glance, which will help in your overall comprehension of Christ’s new covenant.
5. Exaltation of Christ
We believe when scripture is read properly it points to Jesus (Lk. 24:44; 2 Cor. 1:20). The New Testament is Jesus’ last will as He inspired the apostles and prophets to write the message down and preserved it for us (John 16:13). We hope those who read our book will see Jesus exalted, and how the books that make up our New Testament are more than instruction manuals for how to live a better life. We believe the New Testament teaches us how to be saved and live in the light, but that it also teaches us how and why we should bow before Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16).
As you read LWAT, we hope that you don’t just walk away with your head filled with knowledge. We also hope that your heart is filled with love and hope and that you turn to the New Testament again and again for encouragement, correction, and confidence. LWAT is designed to not only help its readers be familiar with the Word of God but also to help its readers become familiar with the God of the Word.
We hope that, as you read LWAT, it will be evident that any good done by it is a result of God’s goodness and greatness. Forest and I wrote the book in an effort to honor and glorify God while also attempting to equip His people to do the same thing. We do not believe you have to be a New Testament scholar to read the New Testament in a rich and rewarding way. Hopefully, our little book will help you in your quest to learn God’s Word better and to love Him more.
You can pre-order Last Will and Testament: A Book-By-Book Survey of the New Covenant before September 30th, 2021, and receive the free E-Book version as well