I’m in the thick of my 5th annual Bible romp, and I just hit the New Testament. This year, I decided to read the Old Testament in canonical order (the order they’re found in most Bibles) so I could try out my nice new ESV Reader’s Bible. (I’m loving it; here’s my full review.)
Now that I’m in the New Testament, I couldn’t resist going back to my favorite way to read it. Going straight from Matthew to Revelation is fine, of course. But I love considering the New Testament along four tracks:
- Track #1: Matthew, Hebrews, James, Jude
- Track #2: Mark, 1 Peter, 2 Peter
- Track #3: Luke, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon
- Track #4: John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Revelation
There’s nothing magical about these four tracks, but I find them helpful in showcasing and explaining the message of Christ in four specific ways.
- Track 1 focuses explicitly on how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament and led Jews into the new covenant. Those familiar with the Old Testament tend to love this track.
- Track 2 focuses on Peter’s eyewitness testimony to scattered Jewish converts to Christianity. Established religious folks often benefit from this track.
- Track 3 focuses on Paul’s witness to Christ and his ministry to the Gentiles. No-nonsense folks who love to have all the facts tend to love this track.
- Track 4 focuses on John’s eyewitness testimony to scattered Jews, seeking to persuade them of Jesus’ messiahship and to assure them amid great persecution. Young believers and unbelievers exploring Jesus often benefit from this track.
Since all Scripture is profitable for all men and women, I don’t want to pigeonhole these tracks too narrowly. But noticing some general trends and connections (for example, that Peter was the source for much of Mark’s material) can help us to digest the major threads and to target our ministries in ways similar to the apostles who wrote these books. Also, it helps us to remember there are multiple ways to present Jesus to the world, depending on the type of people we seek to reach.
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