Read an Excerpt
CHOOSING YOUR FAITH NEW TESTAMENT
By Mark Mittelberg
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2008 Mark Mittelberg
All right reserved.
THE BIRTH of Jesus of Nazareth ushered in the long-awaited age of a new kingdom on earth-the Kingdom of Heaven. Matthew's Gospel records the advent of this new Kingdom through the teachings and actions of Jesus, the Messiah. Since the Kingdom of Heaven is a major theme throughout this Gospel, Matthew was careful to show how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament passages that speak of the Messiah, the ruler of the Kingdom. He recounted Jesus' family history to show his royal lineage. After describing the virgin birth of Jesus, Matthew detailed Jesus' messianic baptism, his temptation in the wilderness, and the early days of his ministry. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught his disciples how life in the Kingdom should be lived. Jesus also performed many miracles and taught the people various parables, or stories, that further illustrated what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. Matthew was careful to point out that the Gentiles, as well as the Jews, would be included in the Kingdom of Heaven. Matthew's Gospel concludes with Jesus' death and resurrection and his command to spread his message to every nation.
Author Matthew (Levi), one of Jesus' twelve disciples
Date Written Probably between A.D. 60 and 65, perhaps from the city of Antioch
Purpose To present Jesus as the Messiah, who has brought the Kingdom of Heaven to earth
Themes Jesus the Messiah, the Kingdom of Heaven, Gentiles' inclusion in the Kingdom of Heaven
Outline 1:1-4:25 .... The early life and ministry of Jesus 5:1-7:29 .... The Sermon on the Mount 8:1-18:35 ... General teaching, parables, and discourses 19:1-23:39 .. Journey to Jerusalem and final warnings 24:1-25:46 .. Prophecies of things to come 26:1-28:20 .. Jesus' death and resurrection
The Ancestors of Jesus the Messiah
1 This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of David and of Abraham:
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac. Isaac was the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers. 3 Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (whose mother was Tamar). Perez was the father of Hezron. Hezron was the father of Ram. 4 Ram was the father of Amminadab. Amminadab was the father of Nahshon. Nahshon was the father of Salmon. 5 Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab). Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth). Obed was the father of Jesse. 6 Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah). 7 Solomon was the father of Rehoboam. Rehoboam was the father of Abijah. Abijah was the father of Asa. 8 Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat was the father of Jehoram. Jehoram was the father of Uzziah. 9 Uzziah was the father of Jotham. Jotham was the father of Ahaz. Ahaz was the father of Hezekiah. 10 Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh. Manasseh was the father of Amon. Amon was the father of Josiah. 11 Josiah was the father of Jehoiachin and his brothers (born at the time of the exile to Babylon). 12 After the Babylonian exile: Jehoiachin was the father of Shealtiel. Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel. 13 Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud. Abiud was the father of Eliakim. Eliakim was the father of Azor. 14 Azor was the father of Zadok. Zadok was the father of Akim. Akim was the father of Eliud. 15 Eliud was the father of Eleazar. Eleazar was the father of Matthan. Matthan was the father of Jacob. 16 Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah.
17 All those listed above include fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah.
The Birth of Jesus the Messiah
18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. "Joseph, son of David," the angel said, "do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."
22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord's message through his prophet:
23 "Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means 'God is with us.'"
24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.
Visitors from the East
2 Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose,* and we have come to worship him."
3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. 4 He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, "Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?"
5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they said, "for this is what the prophet wrote:
6 'And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities* of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.'"
7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. 8 Then he told them, "Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!"
9 After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.
The Escape to Egypt
13 After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother," the angel said. "Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him."
14 That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, 15 and they stayed there until Herod's death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: "I called my Son out of Egypt."
16 Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men's report of the star's first appearance. 17 Herod's brutal action fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
18 "A cry was heard in Ramah- weeping and great mourning. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead."
The Return to Nazareth
19 When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. 20 "Get up!" the angel said. "Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead."
21 So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother. 22 But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod's son Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee. 23 So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: "He will be called a Nazarene."
John the Baptist Prepares the Way
3 In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was, 2 "Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near." 3 The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said,
"He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the Lord's coming! Clear the road for him!'"
4 John's clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey. 5 People from Jerusalem and from all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see and hear John. 6 And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.
7 But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize, he denounced them. "You brood of snakes!" he exclaimed. "Who warned you to flee God's coming wrath? 8 Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. 9 Don't just say to each other, 'We're safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.' That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. 10 Even now the ax of God's judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.
11 "I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am-so much greater that I'm not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire."
The Baptism of Jesus
13 Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to talk him out of it. "I am the one who needs to be baptized by you," he said, "so why are you coming to me?"
15 But Jesus said, "It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.*" So John agreed to baptize him.
16 After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened* and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy."
The Temptation of Jesus
4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. 2 For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.
3 During that time the devil* came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread."
4 But Jesus told him, "No! The Scriptures say,
'People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, 6 and said, "If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say,
'He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won't even hurt your foot on a stone.'"
7 Jesus responded, "The Scriptures also say, 'You must not test the Lord your God.'"
8 Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 "I will give it all to you," he said, "if you will kneel down and worship me."
10 "Get out of here, Satan," Jesus told him. "For the Scriptures say,
'You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.'"
11 Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.
The Ministry of Jesus Begins
12 When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he left Judea and returned to Galilee. 13 He went first to Nazareth, then left there and moved to Capernaum, beside the Sea of Galilee, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. 14 This fulfilled what God said through the prophet Isaiah:
15 "In the land of Zebulun and of Naphtali, beside the sea, beyond the Jordan River, in Galilee where so many Gentiles live, 16 the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined."
17 From then on Jesus began to preach, "Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near."
The First Disciples
18 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers-Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew-throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 19 Jesus called out to them, "Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!" 20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.
21 A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. 22 They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.
Crowds Follow Jesus
23 Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 24News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed-he healed them all. 25 Large crowds followed him wherever he went-people from Galilee, the Ten Towns, Jerusalem, from all over Judea, and from east of the Jordan River.
The Sermon on the Mount
5 One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, 2 and he began to teach them.
LIKE a skilled lawyer presenting his case, Paul established a solid framework for understanding the broad scope of the gospel message in his letter to the Romans. Of all the epistles of Paul, this is the longest, most elaborate, and most systematic in design, reading more like a theological treatise than a personal letter. After a lofty introduction, Paul opened his discourse by discussing humanity's relationship to God. Once he established the basic concept that all human beings are violators of God's holy law, Paul offered a solution: the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Those who believe in Jesus Christ receive forgiveness for sin and gain new life in the Holy Spirit. Paul also examined Israel's place in God's grand scheme of history and discussed the future roles of Israel and Gentile nations in the Kingdom of God. Returning to his earlier train of thought, Paul discussed some practical applications of redemption through Jesus Christ. He concluded his letter with heartfelt salutations to several believers in Rome. Paul's epistle to the Roman believers provides the Christian church with a systematic presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Author Paul the apostle
Date Written Around A.D. 58, from the city of Corinth
Purpose To present a systematic explanation of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the church at Rome
Themes Sin, atonement, living according to the Holy Spirit, the place of Jews and Gentiles in God's plan
Outline 1:1-17 ..... Introduction 1:18-5:21 ... Humanity's sin and Christ's salvation 6:1-8:39 ... Victory over sin by the power of Christ 9:1-11:36 ... God's plan for the Jews 12:1-15:13... Principles of Christian living 15:14-16:27.. Concluding remarks
Excerpted from CHOOSING YOUR FAITH NEW TESTAMENT by Mark Mittelberg Copyright © 2008 by Mark Mittelberg. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.