Sometimes called “The Mysterious Masterpiece,” this section begins with the book of Hebrews, a book that more than any other book in the Bible, ties the Old and New Testaments together. The Book of Hebrews presents Jesus Christ as the Messiah Who was prophesied in the Old Testament, as the Lord Who was revealed in the New Testament and as the coming King of kings Who is going to come again. This section also consists of what are called the “general epistles.” They are called “general” because they are not necessarily addressed to any one church, city, or person but are written to the church at large.
They too like the Pauline epistles contain invaluable instruction for the godly health of the church. Lastly, this section concludes with the book of Revelation. Most of this book consists of a vision that the apostle John had while in exile in Patmos. God gave John this vision of what is the come at the end of all things. Revelation is full of imagry and symbolism and is difficult to understand; nonetheless, it is an important book and it encourages believers to konw that in the end God will be victorious over His enemies and the people of God will live forever with Him.
Hebrews #1: Jesus is Better
Jesus is Better
This lesson introduces the letter of Hebrews as an aide for Hebrew Christians suffering pressure and temptation from a hostile Jewish community. The unknown author presses three agendas best summarized by: "Better,"
"Beware," and "Believe." This lesson unpacks the first—Better. Jesus is, as incarnate Son of God, better than all those things that compete for Jewish loyalty, be it Prophets, Moses, Angels, Joshua, Priests, Sabbaths, Sacrifices, Covenants, Tabernacles or Temples. Therefore, they should believe wholly upon Him and beware lest they fall short of true faith and suffer the eternal consequences.
Hebrews #2: Beware the Road to Apostasy
Beware the Road to Apostasy
This lesson unpacks the importance of the second of Hebrew’s three key words, “Better,” “Beware,” and “Believe.” The unknown author of Hebrews gives five separate warnings to those Jewish believers who are being pressured and tempted to turn back to Judaism and its practices to find salvation. It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God, and these saints should take warning from those Old Testament saints who embarked in faith but faltered in their faith on the way. He, of course, hopes for better things for their faith.
Hebrews #3: The Family of Faith
The Family of Faith
This lesson unpacks the importance of the last of Hebrew’s three key words, “Better,” “Beware,” and “Believe.” The unknown author of Hebrews gives help to struggling Jewish believers to keep them from apostasy by reminding them that they are part of a great family of faith stretching back millennia. These believers need to follow their example and endure what must be endured to remain strong in their faith.
James #1: Not Just Words, but Actions
Not Just Words, but Actions
This lesson introduces the Book of James, a letter written by Jesus’ earthly brother and head of the churches of Jerusalem. Often called the Proverbs of the New Testament, James’ letter reaches out to persecuted Jewish followers of Jesus with practical advice about living for Jesus and evaluating where you stand with the Lord. The main thrust is “What we really believe, we do.” Our faith is not measured by claims but by our works. God will give us wisdom if we ask for it, but we must resist our fleshly inclinations and flee temptation.
James #2: Transformative Faith
This lesson continues to unpack James' message to suffering Jewish believers. He encourages them to test the reality of their faith is real by honestly judging their works. Faith is what we do and not just what we profess. We must do what we read in Scripture, not just read it and talk about it. We must never so show partiality, but love all equally. We must learn to control our tongues and stop blessing and cursing from the same mouth. We must allow God and His wisdom to tame us and discipline us.
James #3: Single-minded Devotion
This lesson concludes the study of James as Jesus’ brother and leader of the Churches of Jerusalem increases his aggression against the double-minded among them. Faith is vetted by one’s deeds and many of the early believers are struggling with worldliness, greed, and the mistreatment of others. This lack of single-minded devotion to God and Christ and the Divine Word hinders their prayers, limits their blessing, and leaves them in a state of perpetual frustration that only deepens their downward sin spiral.
Epistles of Peter #1: The Three Peters
The Three Peters
This lesson introduces the letters of Peter by introducing Peter himself as a man of three faces. The Gospels’ Peter is rash, aggressive, unstable, silly, but honest. The Peter of Pentecost is restored from shame, strong, humble, and unflinching in the face of persecution and church trials. The Epistles’ Peter, an old man filled with the wisdom that he is a nobody who can be used by God in mighty ways. This final Peter’s first letter is a guide for a Church facing a rising tide of persecution for a salvation that is worth the suffering.
Epistles of Peter #2: Salvation is Worth the Suffering
Salvation is Worth the Suffering
This lesson unpacks Peter’s initial point of discussion in 1 Peter. There is a rising tide of persecution coming from Rome, but the salvation of Christ is worth suffering for. The Christians have been called to great things and are the envy of the prophets of old and the angels of heaven, but this makes them strangers and aliens in the world and a frequent object of hatred by those who are perishing in their sins. Therefore, to endure, Christians need to put away worldly concerns and temptations and focus on the blessings they have in Jesus.
Epistles of Peter #3: Escaping Unnecessary Suffering
Escaping Unnecessary Suffering
This lesson explores Peter’s second point of discussion in 1 Peter. The rising tide of persecution will prove hard enough without Christians suffering over foolish choices in life. If they want to minimize their suffering and make sure that what suffering does come is for righteousness, leading to blessing, then they need to live right and do good works. They need to be as submissive as they can be with ruling powers. This includes slaves with their masters. Finally, husbands and wives should each imitate Jesus as they fulfill their God ordained roles in family life.
Epistles of Peter #4: Blessing in Persecution
Blessing in Persecution
This lesson explores Peter’s third and final point of discussion in 1 Peter. Jesus and Noah are held out as examples for believers of those who suffered for righteousness, overcame, and brought salvation to the world in the process. 1 Peter 3:13-14, ties the whole book together saying: “Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed.”
Epistles of Peter #5: Knowing God Personally
Knowing God Personally
This lesson records Peter’s final words of encouragement to the believers before his death. Peter reminds them about growing spiritually in the knowledge of Christ, living it out, and proclaiming it to others. God fulfills His promises as believers transform into God’s likeness by being diligent to add a series of qualities to their faith that will help them grow spiritually. Knowing God and being known by God is of eternal value, for the Lord will return, bringing all God’s promises, rescuing the righteous, and judging the wicked.
1 John #1: Assurance of Salvation
Assurance of Salvation
This lesson introduces John’s first epistle and explains eight points to help Jesus’ true disciples to be confident of their faith and assured of their salvation. The eight points are 1. facts of Jesus’ death & resurrection, 2. faith in God’s promises, character, and salvation, 3. forgiveness - ongoing sanctification, 4. fellowship of believers, 5. following, truly after God - obedience, 6. fruitfulness from our new life in Christ, 7. Love for God, and 8. the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
1 John #2: Children of God or the Devil?
Children of God or the Devil?
This lesson continues John’s discussion in his first Epistle, focusing on the means of evaluating our walk with Christ—Are we children of God or the devil? God’s children are convicted of their sins; they repent and are less tempted by sin. They have a changed heart, lived-out faith, and God’s love poured into them helps them love God and others. The Devil’s children misrepresent Jesus’s identity and live a life of sin. Jesus is both fully human and fully divine.
2 & 3 John: True Love
This lesson unpacks John’s 2nd & 3rd epistles and shows us what it looks like to live a life full of love. Love helps believers to know & abide in the truth, to obey God’s command, and to protect others from eternal harm. John warns against false teachings that deny Jesus’ humanity. Believers should discern what should be allowed at home and in the church, and leaders need to be accountable for their behavior. Believers must always stand for the truth, especially on behalf of our loved ones and the church.
Jude: Fighting for Faith
Fighting for Faith
This lesson explores the short letter of Jude, the brother of James & Jesus. It encourages believers to defend Christ’s teachings & the purity of the Christian faith. Jude gives examples of God’s intolerance for evil hearts and wicked deeds. God is love, just, and holy, and as such, He punishes unrepentant sinners. False teachers who are multiplying in the churches resemble Old Testament disobedient people whom God destroyed, so believers should try to save them from punishment by preaching truth.
Revelation #1: Faith in the Victorious God
Faith in the Victorious God
This lesson introduces the Book of Revelation, detailing the three main purposes in its writing, detailing the most profitable methods for reading Apocalyptic books like it, and detailing the big story that the book preaches. Revelation uses many common symbols from the world of the Ancient Near East, including numbers, names, and cosmic events and figures to preach a message of hope in the midst of persecution and threat. God wins in the end and those who stay true no matter the suffering will reap eternal rewards and everlasting life.
Revelation #2: The Seven Churches of Revelation
The Seven Churches of Revelation
This lesson considers the context of Revelation as a letter bearing individual messages for seven churches in Asia Minor. These letters within the letter provide a model for evaluating not only every modern church in terms of the favor, disapproval, and special commission expressed by Jesus for each in Revelation, but also a model for evaluating every Christian heart and where one stands with Jesus in the exercise of his or her faith.
Revelation #3: The End
This lesson gives a structural overview of The Book of Revelation. After the opening vision of Christ and letter to the churches, John has a vision of heaven in which three waves of judgments are poured out upon the earth, taking up most of the book. This is followed by the fall of the Great anti-Christ forces at work in the world, the second coming of Jesus, the Millennial reign of Christ and the final judgment of everyone who stood against Christ to the end. Then comes the new heavens and earth as the eternal reward of the faithful.