To complete my read the New Testament in 2020, I wound up going ahead a little bit at the end of 2019 and reading Matthew. So, technically, I read 26 of the 27 books of the New Testament in 2020 and not all 27. You can read my thoughts on my reading of the Old Testament in 2019 HERE.
I was surprised by how quickly it flew by though. I hadn’t realized how short most of the books would be until I started to do the lay-out for this (which I did at the beginning of the year in January to prep this spot for this blog post).
Once I read the first few in January, February I blazed through all of them except for Revelations which I began and completed in March.
I wound up reading most in a physical format and only a handful did I continue with the audio. I loved the audio narrations and sound effects and music, don’t get me wrong there, but I found myself wanting to notate and underline and sort of just hang out with some of the versus more.
I knew too that with Revelations I wanted to read the physical format to really take in what I was reading and get a good feel for the text.
Along with finishing up much earlier than expected, I have decided to go back and notate a few of the books from the Old Testament this year to sort of re-cement in some of the concepts and stories from a study stand point more than the critical reading and initial reader stance which I had on the first go-round last year. I plan to sort of jump around to a few of the books I found difficult or confusing the first go around.
What follows here are my thoughts, impressions, and a few musings as I read each book of the New Testament this year.
I am pleased with what I gained and learned and am looking forward to diving into more biblical text at my leisure throughout the year again.
Feel free to jump to the section you want to read my thoughts/review on or read the entire post in order if you like. Either way, happy reading!
Matthew (28 Chapters)
Okay…so I couldn’t help myself.
I wanted to wait to read the entire New Testament as my 2020 reading challenge since I finished the Old Testament this year…
BUT that didn’t quite happen.
I wanted to read this so badly, and I realized ya know what? I could have probably read the entire NT this year too if I had just kept going(!) Oh well.
My challenge, my rules.
Anyways, I really enjoyed this.
The story of Jesus and his life and his miracles and his death and resurrection are all covered.
Mark (16 Chapters)
Now that it is 2020, I continue my reading of the bible and my goal this year is to read and review the New Testament.
With the book of Mark, I enjoyed that this was about the adult life of Jesus. The miracles of which some I did remember and some that I did not. The bleeding woman instance is so fast and such a small bit but to me always is striking. The unquestioning faith she had to merely touch his garment to be healed from something she suffered for and was looked upon shamefully for years….just so miraculous.
How putting God first and loving Him and loving your fellow humans are the most important of the commandments.
After the tales of the miracles, we hear about coming wars and how we shouldn’t worry as they will happen, but we must have faith and then we have the betrayal which leads to the crucifixion.
Jesus suffered to wash away our sins and we don’t get as much detail here as we do in other New Testament books, which I liked because we got more of the life of Jesus and the resurrection of Jesus.
We see how Jesus casts 7 demons out of Mary Magdalene, which is what I wanted more detail on cause she was one of the ones who anointed Jesus with sweet spices as part of his burial. I was curious about this and wonder if it will be more detailed in later books.
Jesus sitting at the right hand of God is something that I have heard and recalled and made me smile at the end.
Luke (24 Chapters)
Luke took me a bit to finish as I read it in physical format over the audio which I have been doing.
I found it interesting how certain aspects were highlighted more and downplayed more in comparison to the other books which follow the same timeline. For the mat part, Luke seemed focus of the miracles and on the time leading up to the crucifixion, and didn’t spend much time ON the crucifixion or the resurrection after.
I was admittedly a bit confused as to why after being sent to Herod and mocked by him and his people and given a robe and sent back to Pilate that those two then became friends. Why? If Pilate didn’t find fault in Jesus, yet played to the crowd outcry of wanting another man released, shouldn’t he have still been finding no fault? If Herod indeed did not find fault, which was why he was apparently sent back, then why did he also mock Jesus? This part didn’t make sense to me.
I enjoyed the conversation between Jesus and the two criminals on each side of him and how one very clearly accepted Jesus in that he defended him and found no wrong with him. This man asked Jesus basically for salvation and Jesus granted it to him and I find that so beyond beautiful.
This book had a lot of delve into and a lot of moments that were faves in the other books not really expanded upon too.
I am curious to see how John will focus and which aspects will be included and/or not included.
John (21 Chapters)
Out of the first four with the same timeline, I think John is my favorite. The style of writing and how Jesus speaking “Verily, verily” is quoted because I feel like John captured more of the “voice” of Jesus by writing the way in which He spoke.
Again we had some things expanded on and some not as much, but I personally really liked the focus on after the resurrection at the end of this book quite a bit!
Acts (28 Chapters)
Acts had a lot going on. We were following Paul, used to be Saul prior to God telling speaking to him to become a minister and witness, and his journey to spread the word of Jesus.
In the name of Christ, Paul performs miracles and is imprisoned.
Later we find Paul free and able to teach. He stays for two years to teach the Gentiles before moving on.
Overall a solid book and the first one I made a few annotations to as I read this in physical form over the audio KJV of which I had mostly been listening to prior.
Romans (16 Chapters)
Can we rate higher than 5 stars? No. Oh. Okay then. That’s too bad.
ALL THE STARS!!!!!!
Here we have the first of 13 letters Paul writes in the Bible.
We learn more of what Christians are meant to do and how to behave to reflect the salvation of Christ. Paul is writing to Christians about what it means to reflect the love of Christ essentially.
This book I highly annotated as many of the words were applicable or noteworthy for me personally that I could relate to or wanted to make note of. Once I decided in Acts to start taking notes? It was like a gate of freedom opened up in me and I was like YES ANNOTATE!
(I had mostly been listening to the audio of the KJV prior).
I inhaled this entire book in one sitting and reflected for a but after on the messages conveyed. This was a solid book for me that I want to come back to and reread again once I finish The New Testament in full to see if it remains one of my favorites. I feel like it will.
1 Corinthians (16 Chapters)
This one didn’t hold my interest as much. Maybe because it was so short? Maybe because some of the advise didn’t age as well as others of the Bible? I’m not sure. Hopefully the 2nd one is better.
2 Corinthians (13 Chapters)
Thankfully I enjoyed this one better than the first.
I underlined some sections and was a bit more invested in this one too.
I’m not sure what exactly it was about this that resonated more for me, but I know that it did.
It felt less preachy and more centered on what Jesus called us to do and how to be changed through Him than the previous one in that the previous one seemed to be more advise of the time in which the letter was written. Like this was more timeless and held up better though time? I don’t know if that makes sense or not.
I felt a stronger message in this one overall.
Galatians (6 Chapters)
I enjoyed this letter quite a bit.
Here we have Paul writing about the differences between the Spirit and the Flesh, the Law of God versus the Law of man.
I liked the tone throughout and especially the passage which said that once we are filled with the Holy Spirit we are transformed into a part of Christ. We are no longer divided between slave and free, male and female, etc. It was a beautiful book of the Bible.
Ephesians (6 Chapters)
Very much enjoyed this book!!
Paul teaches here on what salvation means.
My favorite part was Ephesians 6:11-18 talking about putting on the whole armor of God.
I drew a doodle to convey what was being described to help me remember it. Helmet of Salvation, breastplate of Righteousness, Sword of the Spirit/Word of God, feet with Peace, waist with Truth, and a shield of Faith.
Philippians (4 Chapters)
This letter talks about thankfulness, kindness, and explains true joy in Christ.
Quick read that talks about the type of things we should meditate on and a bit about prayer and trust.
Colossians (4 Chapters)
Teaches against false teachings and how to be more like Christ.
What we should and should not do once we have accepted the Lord and how to reflect Christ-like love. (Which is above all the most important of them all; love.)
1 Thessalonians (5 Chapters)
Teaches about the return of Christ and praises church faithfulness
I didn’t realize that the idea of leading a quiet life, minding your own business, and working with your hands were all in the Bible.
I was quite intrigued by the working of day and night in reference to His return. To me, I took it to mean that the return of Christ will happen at night time as we as Christian believers are the light.
I also wondered about the idea of death and those already passed on. Are they currently in a sort of stasis? That’s what it sounded like. That we would all then go up to heaven on judgement day as if that is only one day for all. Thought-provoking and something to ponder.
Regardless, it ultimately doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I am simply fascinated by this idea.
2 Thessalonians (3 Chapters)
For only being 3 chapters, this had quite a lot going on. This book talks about the events to happen before His return and of patience.
We learn here that here will be a false God to return and claim to BE Christ. It talks of how those who do not choose to follow Christ will be deceived into believing the lie of this false God.
Again, quite a lot of thought provoking things here and stuff to ponder.
It is ultimately a hopeful book as it tells that those of us who are saved and believe need not worry that we will not be deceived.
1 Timothy (6 Chapters)
Overall, again a lot going on to ponder here.
We have the idea that when law is used correctly it is a good thing. It is simply just not really for Christian believers, but to PROTECT them against true evil such as murderers, fornicators, and the like.
I was HIGHLY confused at the passage about men and women in the church (2:8-15) in that it sounds to me like Paul is making a judgement call of his own.. NOT what Christ said or necessary wanted. Paul says “I do not permit…” not that Christ does not permit. It seemed like a fuzzy area that wasn’t quite made clear.
EDIT:::: I did some research and many scholars believe that Paul DID NOT write this book. That this was a forgery used by certain groups to further their own ideals. It makes sense to me. I am happy that it made me think about it enough to further investigate in my own. There are MANY contradictions and TONS of transcription changes…and it makes sense. The Bible was written by humans. As long as we all remember to love one another.
The passage about food made me wonder if that means the movement away from true food in favor of highly processed food like products.
There was also a passage about believing old wives tales that made me think of anti-vaxxers.
My favorite passage was from 6:7-8 in which it is stated that we came into the world with nothing and will leave the same way. Yes. Infinite yes.
We also had the love of money being the root of all evil mentioned here and I always think that is a very important distinction because you still need money to live, but you shouldn’t become obsessed with it.
All and all one of my favorites of the New Testament, but I still enjoyed Romans the most so far.
2 Timothy (4 Chapters)
I was struck very hard by some contradictions and so I sought out some research and found that many transcriptions over many years have led to a lot of words being changed, altered, or flat out added in later.
Regardless, I still feel the Bible is worth reading and studying and asking God about.
I liked what was said here about Judgement Day. It makes me further cement in the idea that those in heaven are sort of waiting for the final day(s) to happen.
Titus (3 Chapters)
Only three chapters here, pretty short.
In this letter from Paul we have some advice on living right, salvation through grace, and some reminders on the type of dissension to avoid as a people.
All and all pretty good, however a recovering of many other topics discussed elsewhere.
It fascinates me what was chosen to be included and how the interpretations have changed and evolved and been sometimes changed to mean the opposite or to contradict. I am noticing much more of that in the New Testament, but it also happened a lot in the Old as well. Maybe I am noticing it more because the books are shorter and I am applying more of a reviewer/critical reader stand point?
Philemon (1 Chapter)
This book speaks on the treatment of others and is a reminder of Christ availability…while also being a sort of demanding letter in a passive aggressive way.
Paul is in prison and while imprisoned says that he fathered a son. (From before he was sent away? When exactly?) And that he is writing to, very boldly he even knows, have his son recieved to no longer be a slave from the sounds of it.
The part that I sort of inwardly chuckled and groaned came with the passage “Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.” Why exactly? Because it sounded like a passive aggressive office email!!!!
Those of us who have EVER worked in an office setting know that “Thank you in advance” is the same thing as saying “Do the thing, you don’t have a choice.”
This was, to me, the weakest book of the New Testament and I don’t really understand why it was chosen to be included. To illustrate the history/times maybe? Unclear to me.
Hebrews (13 Chapters)
Switched back to the audio for this book as I had done for nearly the entire Old Testament, but only for a few books of the New Testament.
This book for the most part seems to be about encouragement and reminders of how Jesus is great.
I liked the recounting of many of the lessons learned from the Old Testament and the stories from them as well.
It explains why Jesus came to be the savior of the world and encouraged Jewish Christians by illustrating how Jesus fulfilled their law.
James (5 Chapters)
This book was written by the brother of Jesus.
It tells that true faith is shown in right behavior. It is filled with gentle reminders and nuggets of wisdom.
This book also highlights that Christ is the ultimate example of doing right by faith and how we should behave while also advising what to do in certain situations such as when suffering, when cheerful, and when sick.
I enjoyed the messages here and feel that this book is one that I will go back to and reread for further reflection.
1 Peter (5 Chapters)
This book features some further detail and instruction for those of us who have been saved to stat steadfast and be good stewards. It warns against the devil who devours and to continue to follow the example of Christ.
It encourages Christian’s to be patient during times of prosecution.
2 Peter (3 Chapters)
Peter encourages Christian’s to be holy and careful of false teachers. It is interesting to me how much of the New Testament focuses on warnings against false teachings.
It makes so much sense though because many interpret the Bible in their own way and the meanings move away from their origins.
My favorite chapter was chapter 3 in which we have the idea of how time works for God presented. A thousand years to Him is a day and a day is a thousand years. What an incredible concept to consider!
1 John (5 Chapters)
Reminds us of Gods love and encourages us all to love one another and warns (with even more detail) against false teaching.
God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.
…the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.
God is love.
We can be confident that if we come to Him in prayer, He will hear us.
Love your fellow humans!
2 John (1 Chapter)
This book has messages about love, truth, and against receiving those who believe in the evil one.
I think that means not to allow yourself to be taken down to their beliefs. Jesus spent time with sinners to help them and show them His love, but He didn’t allow Himself to become like them instead.
3 John (1 Chapter)
In this book, John thanks a man name Gaius for his kindness toward missionaries.
Jude (1 Chapter)
Written by the brother of Jesus and James, this book encourages Christian’s to stand strong in their faith.
God is continually being hurt and let down by us humans. It is heartbreaking. The speaking I’ll against God part really got to me because there are times when I may not have outright spoken ill but I denied. When I didn’t believe.
Then there were times when I did speak ill to sort of try to relate to others because I wanted to what? Fit in? Be accepted by them? For what? …
Not worth hurting God over. Wow.
Revelation (22 Chapters)
So thus concluded my reading of the Bible.
I finished out this last book of the New Testament and it felt very different than most of the rest of the New Testament because it is the only book of prophecy.
I feel that a lot of the book may be metaphor, but it could also be a very vivid non metaphor too. A lot of it was quite cut and dry.
The beast will come and those who serve him will be marked. Mark of the beast is 666. There will be a false prophet working for the beast which will trick many into worshipping and following him.
BUT, there will also be the mark of those who follow Christ. There will be true salvation for the people who trust and believe in God. They will be spared the seven plagues and all of the bad stuff.
Those who believe will get to live with God in heaven which will have gates made of beautiful gems and streets paved with gold and there will be no suffering, pain, or death. There will be light all the time from our savior who is the light.
This was a very uplifting book because we already know how this is all going to end.
I know I am on the winning side.