Introduction to the New Testament



    Welcome to a study of the New Testament. Whether you have been a Christian your entire life or have never attended a church, this course will provide you with a good, basic understanding of the contents of the New Testament.  I have taught over 50 Intro to NT classes over the past sixteen years and have discovered that many people have some knowledge of Christianity and the Bible, but few know how the whole NT (and Old Testament) works together.  For example, consider the following questions:

         Why are the books of the NT arranged in the order they have?

         Who decided which books should be included? 

         When were the chapters and verses added?


Those questions and many more will be answered during this class.  Plus, those questions will be answered in the first week of the class, which leaves time for many more questions to be answered over the next four weeks.


    The course itself is laid out in the following manner (according to weeks):

1.       The background of the New Testament

2.       The life of Jesus and the Gospels

3.       The history book of the NT (Acts) and Paulís larger letters

4.       Paulís smaller letters

5.       Hebrews, the General Epistles, and Revelation


In addition, I will present each of the biblical books with the same format.  I have found this is a great method for two reasons:  first, it gives you the basic information for each book before we discuss it, and, second, it can be intimidating trying to study all twenty-seven books of the NT, and this method will give you a familiar feeling with each book since you will study each of the books in the same way.  I will present each of the books with this outline:


1.       Author of the book

2.       Place and time of writing of the book

3.       Unique characteristic of the book

4.       Purpose of the book (why was it written)

5.       Theme of the book (what one thing was it trying to do)

6.       Details about the book


    One final comment before we jump into the class:  I love to talk about the NT, and so if you have any questions, no matter how small, while you are going through this class, please feel free to email me at  


    Note:  This is not a devotional reading of the NT but an academic study of the NT.  This is what I mean:  reading the NT devotionally means one reads the NT for the purpose of drawing closer to God and learning how to live a live that is pleasing to God.  Reading the NT academically means trying to understand the individual characteristics of each of the 27 books while at the same time learning how the books of the NT fit together to present one message.  For the most part, sermons and Sunday school classes focus on the devotional aspect, which is why many people find this course exciting because it is a different way of looking at the NT. 


Dr. Nickens


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