Historical Books of the New Testament

New Testament Books – 27 books total

  Historical Books – 5 Books

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts

  Pauline Epistles – 13 Books

Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon

  Non-Pauline Epistles – 9 Books

Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation


  Historical Books – 5 Books   


Jesus the King (Lion). Presents Jesus as the Messiah. Genealogy of Jesus through Joseph from the royal line of David. Fulfillment of O.T. prophecy.


Jesus the Suffering Servant for Man (Ox). Presents Jesus as the Servant. 1/3 of the gospel deals with the last week of His life.


Jesus the Perfect Human (Man). Presents Jesus as the Son of Man to seek and save the lost. Genealogy of Jesus through Mary tracing back to Adam (all mankind). Largest of the gospels. The Son of Man (man’s nature).


Jesus the Godman who came from Above (Eagle). Presents Jesus as God incarnate (God in flesh), the Christ, working the miracles and Words of God so that you might believe. The Son of God (God’s nature).


The Formation of the Church. Historical account from Jesus’ ascension to travels of Paul in his missionary Church planting journeys.

  Pauline Epistles – 13 Books   


Nature of Christ’s Work. A systematic examination of justification, sanctification, and glorification. Examines God’s plan for the Jews and the Gentiles.


Various Church Disorders. This letter deals with factions and corrections due to immorality, lawsuits, and abuse of the Lord’s Supper. Also mentions idols, marriage, and the resurrection.


Paul’s Vindication of His Apostleship. Paul’s defense of his apostolic position.


By Grace, Never by Law. Paul refutes the errors of legalism and examines the proper place of grace in the Christian’s life.


The Unity of the Church. The believer’s position in Christ and information on Spiritual warfare.


A Missionary Epistle. Paul speaks of his imprisonment, his love for the Philippians. He exhorts them to godliness and warns them of legalism.


The Deity of Jesus. Paul focuses on the preeminence of Jesus in creation, redemption, and godliness.


Jesus’s Second Coming. Paul’s ministry to the Thessalonians. Teachings on purity and mention of the return of Christ.


Jesus’s Second Coming. More about the Day of the Lord.


The Care for the Church. Instructions to Timothy on proper leadership and dealings with false teachers, the role of women, prayer, and requirements of elders and deacons.


Paul’s Final Words. A letter of encouragement to Timothy to be strong.


The Churches of Crete. Paul left Titus in Crete to care for the churches there. Requirements for elders.


Conversion of a Runaway Slave. A letter to the owner of a runaway slave. Paul appeals to Philemon to forgive Onesimus.

  Non Pauline Epistles – 9 Books   


Jesus the Mediator of a New Covenant. A letter to the Hebrews Christians in danger of returning to Judaism. It demonstrates the superiority of Jesus over the O.T. system. Mentions the Melchizedek priesthood. (Hebrews may be of Pauline origin.  There is much debate on its authorship).


Man is saved by Works, IF God is working Through Him. A practical exhortation of to live a Christian life evidencing regeneration. It urges self examination of the evidence of the changed life.


To the Persecuted Church. Peter wrote this letter to encourage its recipients in the light of their suffering and be humble in it. Mentions baptism.


Prediction of Apostasy. Deals with the person on an inward level, warnings against false teachers, and mentions the Day of the Lord.

  1 JOHN

The Love of God. John describes true fellowship of the believer with believer and with God. Describes God as light and love. Encourages a holy Christian walk before the Lord. Much mention of Christian love.

  2 JOHN

Cautions Against False Teachers. Praise for walking in Christ and a reminder to walk in God’s love.

  3 JOHN

A Rebuke to Certain Helpers. John thanks Gaius for his kindness to God’s people and rebukes Diotrephes.


Earnestly Contend for the Faith Against Apostasy. Exposing false teachers and uses O.T. allusions to demonstrate the judgment upon them. Contend for the faith.


The Rightful Owner (Heir) Coming with the Legal Document to Claim His Purchased Possession. A highly symbolic vision of the future rebellion, judgment, and consummation of all things. Many Jewish legal proceedings mentioned dealing with the right of redemption and forfeiture of property returning to its legal kinsman redeemer as found in the Books of Jeremiah and Ruth. by J. Hampton Keathley, III
As previously mentioned, the New Testament falls into three categories based on their literary makeup — the historical, the epistolary, and the prophetical. The four Gospels make up about 46 percent and the book of Acts raises this to 60 percent.

This means 60 percent of the New Testament is directly historical tracing the roots and historical development of Christianity. Christianity is based on historical facts. This is inherent in the very nature of the gospel. Christianity is the message of the gospel and what is a gospel? It is good news, information derived from the witness of others.

It is history, the testimony of historical facts. “The gospel is news that something has happened—something that puts a different face upon life.

What that something is is told us in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It is the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”[1]Machen, p. 17.

Following this four-fold account, Acts gives the historical account of the extension of the gospel message from Jerusalem, into Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth, into the Gentile world.

It begins:

   ACTS  1:1-3,8  

1:1 I wrote the former account (the Gospel of Luke), Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach 1:2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after he had given orders by the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 1:3 After his suffering he had also presented himself alive to these apostles by many convincing proofs. He was seen by them over a forty-day period and spoke about matters concerning the kingdom of God. 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.

Luke is volume one and Acts is volume two of Dr. Luke’s treatise about the historical life and ministry of the Savior as begun by the Lord Jesus. This was continued by the Savior through the Holy Spirit working in the life of His apostles following Christ’s ascension into heaven. Acts thus provides the historical outline of the apostles’ ministry in the life of the early church. This becomes crucial to our understanding of much of what we have in the epistles, which were historical letters written to living people in historical places. The New Testament, then, is a historical book of the Good News of the living God at work in human history, not just in the past, but in the living present and the future in light of the promises of God.


Rusty Russell [2]http://www.bible-history.com/

J. Hampton Keathley, III: [3]https://bible.org/seriespage/3-historical-books-new-testament


1 Machen, p. 17.
2 http://www.bible-history.com/
3 https://bible.org/seriespage/3-historical-books-new-testament