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Summary of the New Testament Books

From the old to the new

There are twenty-seven books in the Catholic New Testament. After the four gospels, which are written as if the writer had an actual encounter with the historical person Jesus, we are given books that chronicle the growth of the church.

The fifth book of the New Testament is Acts of the Apostles. It does exactly as its name implies, records and tell us what the Apostles, the men chosen by Jesus, did in the name of Jesus after the Lord returned to the Father.

Following the Acts of the Apostles, we are given the fourteen Pauline Epistles, letter that St. Paul wrote to certain people or particular areas where the church was growing. Each is named for the intended recipient. The letters have the same format and are clearly written to small groups of believers, not everyone in the town.

Scripture scholarship allows us to distinguish between letters written by Paul and letters written by students attributing credit to their teacher, Paul. These letters tend to begin with Paul or the persons writing with Paul or in his name praising and thanking God for the recipients.

The letters actually written by St. Paul are written before the Gospels were written, even though they follow the Gospels in the bible.

The next section of the New Testament organizes the last seven letters or epistles. These books are called the Catholic letters. This is not because they come from the Roman Catholic Church, but rather because they are universal, (catholic means universal) speaking to whoever has ears to hear them, not a certain person or to a particular place. These letters seem to be written to second and third generations of Christians who are too young to have known the historical person Jesus. They are names after the writer.

The final book of the New Testament is the Book of Revelation.

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