But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people… (1 Peter 2:9).
You may read the four gospels and not get a picture of the Christian life and who the Christian really is. This is because the gospels don’t completely give us the full picture of the life of Jesus after His resurrection. The account of His life before His ascension was very brief.
It’s part of the reasons He told His disciples about the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of truth—who would show them things to come and guide them into all truth (John 16:12-13). Therefore, the most appropriate reference point for the Christian, as you study the New Testament, are the epistles.
Someone might ask, “How about the Book of Acts?” The Book of Acts is a catalogue of the acts of a baby Church. The Church in the Book of Acts had just started out in the Faith; so, it might not be the best expression of the Christian life, though it’s a good place to start. But for deeper and greater insights into the life of God’s new creature in Christ, you’d have to study the epistles!
For example, Paul’s epistle to the Roman church—the Book of Romans—is an extraordinary exposition of the doctrine of the supremacy of Christ and of faith in Christ as the source of salvation. Also, consider his beautiful letter to the Ephesian church; it details how new converts can grow in their spiritual knowledge of God and in the realities of the Kingdom.
Think about Peter’s writings; in chapter one verse four of his second epistle, he said, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature….” What a description of who the Christian is: we’re participators or sharers of God’s divine nature; associates of the God-kind—carriers or conveyors of the God-life. What a blessed reality!
There’s also the prophetic word on the millennial reign of Christ: everything the Lord promised to the Jews in the millennial reign is what He already gave the Church to enjoy today.
Therefore, if you want to know about the Christian life and who the Christian is, you need the Book of Acts, the revelations and admonitions in the epistles, and all the promises prophetically given to the Jews in the Millennium. Hallelujah!
Dear Father, I’m thoroughly nourished, nurtured, sustained and fortified to attain spiritual maturity through the study of the realities of the new life in Christ. I make progress by the Spirit, and my profiting by the Word is unstoppable, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
1-year bible reading plan
John 15:1-17; 1 Chronicles 3-4
2-year bible reading plan
Mark 14:12-21; Numbers 33