The New Testament Books by Category and Theme
The Synoptic Gospels
- Matthew: The gospel to the Jews
- Mark: The gospel to the Romans
- Luke: The gospel to the Greeks
The Supplementary Gospel. John: The gospel to the world
History. Acts of the Apostles: A record of the early Christian Church
- Paul’s Travel Epistles: Romans: Most comprehensive discussion of salvation; 1 Corinthians: Correction of Corinthian errors and divisions; 2 Corinthians: Paul defends his authority and concern for the Corinthians; Galatians: Salvation by grace apart from works; 1 Thessalonians: Clarification about the resurrection of believers; 2 Thessalonians: Clarification about the timing of Christ’s return
- Paul’s Prison Epistles: Ephesians: The Church as a united new people in Christ; Philippians: Joy at Christ’s presence through adversity; Colossians: Warnings against participation in heresy; Philemon: A personal letter to Paul’s friend about Onesimus
- Paul’s Pastoral Epistles: 1 Timothy: Instructions to Timothy about Christian leadership; Titus; Titus is instructed to set standards of sound doctrine and good works; 2 Timothy: Paul’s final words given to Timothy
- Miscellaneous Epistles: Hebrews: Christ is superior to the Torah (Mosaic Covenant); James: Practical issues for Christian living; Jude: God’s judgment on false teachers
- Petrine Epistles: 1 Peter: Courage under suffering; 2 Peter: False teaching is strongly condemned
- Johannine Epistles: 1 John: Warnings against Gnostic teachers; 2 John: Cooperation with false teachers is forbidden; 3 John: Cooperation with teachers of the gospel is commanded
Apocalypse: Revelation: Preparation for Christ’s return
The last book of the Bible was written just over 1,900 years ago. Empires have risen and fallen in that time: Rome is gone; Charlemagne’s empire has vanished; horrendous wars have been fought; new philosophies have come into vogue and declined; technology has improved. In light of all this, the Bible seems like a quaint, but archaic book, good only for gathering dust on the shelf. What could it possibly have to say that would be relevant to us and our particular needs in the Twenty-first Century?
Surprisingly, it has a lot to say, partly because basic human needs haven’t changed at all in 2,000 years and partly because God speaks to every age. I never cease to be amazed at how the Bible answers the fundamental questions people are asking. For example:
Is there a God, and if so, what is He like? See Psalm 14:1, Romans 1:19-20, John 3:16, etc.
How did the universe come into being? See Hebrews 11:3, Genesis chapters 1 and 2, etc.
What is the cause of the human tendency to do wrong? Is there some basic flaw in us? See Genesis chapter 3, Romans 3:9-18, etc.
Is there some way to correct this flaw and have acceptance with God? See Romans 3:22-23 and Galatians 5:24.
Is there any basis for real brotherhood among people? Genesis 1:27-28, 10:32, Romans 10:12, etc.
Does life have any meaning or purpose? John 10:10, John 17:3.
Is there life after death? Revelation 20:11-15, Luke 23:40-43, John 14:2, Revelation 7:9.
These questions and many more are answered in the book of books.
The chart below represents a comparison of certain popular English Bible versions. The chart is listed in the following categories:Bible Version; Year Completed; Group of Origin and Reading Level (approximate).
CEV (Contemporary English Version) 1991 American Bible Society 5.4
KJV (Authorized or “King James” Version) 1611 Anglican / Puritan 12.0
LB (The Living Bible) 1971 Evangelical 8.3
MES (The Message) 2002 Evangelical 5.0
NAB (New American Bible) 1970 Roman Catholic 6.6
NASB (New American Standard Bible) 1971 Evangelical 11.7
NIV (New International Version) 1979 Evangelical 7.8
NKJV (New King James Version) 1982 Evangelical 8.0
NLT (New Living Translation) 1996 Evangelical 6.4
NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) 1990 Mainline (gender neutral) 8.1
PHL (J.B. Phillips Translation) 1963 Anglican 4.0
RSV (Revised Standard Version) 1952 Mainline 10.0
1 Peter 4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.
James 1:2-3 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Acts 14:21-22 They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.
1 Peter 1:7 These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Thessalonians 3:2-3 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker[a]in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them.
2 Corinthians 8:2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
Hebrews 11:36 Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison.
FINAL ROUND: 2 Peter 2:9 ….if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.
Psalm 2:8. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.
Isaiah 61:1-2. The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn.
Matthew 28:19-20. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Luke 14:23. Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.
Acts 1:8. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Romans 1:14. I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.
3 John 7-8. It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth.
FINAL ROUND: Acts 13:47. For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’
Deuteronomy 14:2 For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession.
Isaiah 63:16 But you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us or Israel acknowledge us; you, O LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name.
2 Corinthians 6:18 I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.
Romans 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Hebrews 2:11 Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.
Ephesians 2:19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household,
FINAL ROUND: Hosea 11:1 When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
Joshua 1:9. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
Deuteronomy 31:6. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you..
1 Corinthians 12:10. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
1 Kings 2:2. I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, show yourself a man,
Psalm 89:13. Your arm is endued with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.
Luke 1:80. And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.
Romans 15:1. We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
FINAL ROUND: Song of Solomon 8:6. Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.
Exodus 20:8. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
1 Thessalonians 5:26. Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.
Psalm 24:3. Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place?
Luke 1:70. ..as he said through his holy prophets of long ago…
1 Peter 1:16. ….for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy’.
Isaiah 62:12. They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the LORD; and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted.
Acts 7:33. Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals; the place where you are standing is holy ground.
FINAL ROUND: Ephesians 4:24. ..and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Sword drills are a fun and instructive tool for Christian Education and an attractive focal point for certain venues of Christian fellowship.
Why use sword drills?
Sword drills teach reverence for God’s word.
Sword drills encourage learning the order and placement of the books of the Bible.
Sword drills make Bible learning fun through healthy, controlled competition.
Sword drills provide an introduction to a lesson or topic.
Sword drills can make a nice break from class discussion, lecture or other activities.
Sword drills can be used to encourage participants to think about the meanings and applications of the passages used.
Sword drills are easy to adapt to many types of venues, such as: Sunday School classes, Bible study groups, youth meetings, smaller services (such as the old-fashioned evening service) and social events or informal fellowships.
Note: The verses listed in each sword drill are from the New International Version. If you prefer another version of the Bible, please feel free to take the templates I provide and use the version of your choice.