Category: Introductions and Outlines

Overview of the Gospel According to Matthew

Overview of the Gospel According to Matthew

Author: Matthew, the Apostle

Original Audience: Matthew wrote especially to the Jews.

Date of Writing: Approximately A.D. 60–65

Background: Matthew was a Jewish tax collector who became one of Jesus’ disciples. This Gospel forms the connecting link between the Old and New Testaments because of its emphasis on the fulfillment of prophecy.

Major Theme: Christ, the Incarnate God, Immanuel, has inaugurated the kingdom of God and the new covenant, which is realized in the Church.


Key Concepts

  • Jesus is the promised Messiah, whose death brings salvation from sin.
  • Jesus’ birth, life and death on the cross fulfilled the promises of the Old Testament.
  • Jesus’ resurrection vindicated his claims and brought in a new era of salvation for all who believe in him.”


Essential Verses (NIV)

  • Matthew 5:17: Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
  • Matthew 7:21: Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
  • Matthew 11:28: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
  • Matthew 22:37: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
  • Matthew 28:19–20: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching “them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Key Teachings:

  • Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament Scriptures.
  • Jesus is the promised King (Messiah).
  • Jesus inaugurated the kingdom of God while on Earth.
  • Jesus’ followers must spread the kingdom to all nations.
  • Jesus’ followers will suffer, but Jesus is always with them.
  • Jesus will complete the kingdom of God at his return.


Reading Guide:

Matthew can be read in 14 days by taking two chapters per day.

Outline of Titus

Outline of Titus

I. Paul’s personal greeting to Titus (1:1-4)

II. Instructions for the ordination of Elders (1:5-16)

III. Message for church members (2:1-15)

IV. Exhortation to Christian living (3:1-15)

Outline of 2 Timothy

Outline of 2 Timothy

I. Paul gives thanks for Timothy (1:1-5)

II. Paul’s charget to Timothy (1:6-2:2)

III. Paul describes a faithul servant (2:3-26)

IV. The coming apostasy (3:1-17)

V. Paul’s final message (4:1-22)

Outline of 1 Timothy

Outline of 1 Timothy

I. Warning about false doctrine (1:1-20)

II. Instruction about prayer (2:1-15)

III. Ordaning Bishops/Elders and deacons (3:1-16)

IV. Exhortations regarding ministry (4:1-5:25)

V. Christian ministry and a charge to preach the Word (6:1-21)

Outline of 1 Thessalonians

Outline of 1 Thessalonians

I. Paul gives thanks for the Thessalonians (1:1-50)

II. Paul’s personal defense (2:1-16)

III. Events after leaving Thessalonica (2:17-3:13)

IV. Exhortation to godly living (4:1-12)

V. The Rapture and the Second Coming of Jesus (4:13-5:11)

VI. Final admonition (5:12-28)

New Testament Overview*

New Testament Overview*

Matthew: Written to a Jewish audience, this Gospel links the Old and New Testaments. It presents Jesus as the Messiah and King promised in the Old Testament. Matthew emphasizes Jesus’ authority and power.

Mark: Mark probably had pragmatic Roman readers in mind. His Gospel stresses action and gives a straightforward, blow-by-blow account of Jesus’ work on earth.

Luke: A doctor, Luke was also a fine writer. His Gospel provides many details of human interest, especially in Jesus’ treatment of the poor and needy. A joyful tone characterizes Luke’s book.

John: John has a different, more reflective style than the other Gospels. Its author selected seven signs that pointed to Jesus as the Son of God and wove together everything else to underscore that point.

Acts: Acts tells what happened to Jesus’ followers after he left them. Peter and Paul soon emerged as leaders of the rapidly spreading church.

Romans: Written for a sophisticated audience, Romans sets forth theology in a logical, organized form.

1 Corinthians: A very practical book, 1 Corinthians takes up the problems of a tumultuous church in Corinth: marriage, factions, immorality, public worship and lawsuits.

2 Corinthians: Paul wrote this follow-up letter to defend himself against a rebellion led by certain false apostles.

Galatians: A short version of the message of Romans, this book addresses legalism. It shows how Christ came to bring freedom, not bondage to a set of laws.

Ephesians: Although written in jail, this letter is Paul’s most optimistic and encouraging. It tells of the advantages a believer has in Christ.

Philippians: The church at Philippi ranked among Paul’s favorites. This friendly letter stresses that joy can be found in any situation.

Colossians: Written to oppose certain cults, Colossians tells how faith in Christ is complete. Nothing needs to be added to what Christ did.

1 Thessalonians: Composed early in Paul’s ministry, this letter gives a capsule history of one church, as well as Paul’s direct advice about specific problems.

2 Thessalonians: Stronger in tone than his first letter to the Thessalonians, the sequel goes over the same topics, especially the church’s questions about Christ’s second coming.

1 Timothy: As Paul neared the end of his life, he chose young men such as Timothy to carry on his work. His two letters to Timothy form a leadership manual for a young pastor.

2 Timothy: Written just before Paul’s death, 2 Timothy offers Paul’s final words to his young assistant.

Titus: Titus was left in Crete, a notoriously difficult place to nurture a church. Paul’s letter gave practical advice on how to go about it.

Philemon: Paul urged Philemon, owner of a runaway slave, Onesimus, to forgive his slave and accept him back as a brother in Christ.

Hebrews: No one knows who wrote Hebrews, but it probably first went to Christians in danger of slipping back into their old, rule-bound religion. It interprets the Old Testament, explaining many Jewish practices as symbols that prepared the way for Christ.

James: James, a man of action, emphasized the right kind of behavior for a believer. Someone who calls himself or herself a Christian ought to act like it, James believed, and his letter spells out the specifics.

1 Peter: Early Christians often met violent opposition, and Peter’s letter comforted and encouraged Christians who were being persecuted for their faith.

2 Peter: In contrast to Peter’s first letter, this one focused on problems that sprang up from the inside. It warns against false teachers.

1 John: John could fill simple words, such as light, love and life, with deep meaning, and in this letter he elegantly explains basic truths about the Christian life.

2 John: Warning against false teachers, John counseled churches on how to respond to them.

3 John: Balancing 2 John, this companion letter mentions the need to be hospitable to true teachers.

Jude: Jude gave a brief but fiery exposé of heretics.

Revelation: A book of visions and symbols, Revelation is the only New Testament book that concentrates on prophecy. It completes the story, begun in Genesis, of the cosmic battle between good and evil being waged on earth. It ends with a picture of a new heaven and new earth.


*This overview is from

The NRSV Student Bible

c.1994, 1996 by Zondervan

used by permission