To whom was the New Testament Written?

It is often easy for Christians to think about the Bible as being a book mainly for non-Christians to learn about the truth; but that is a bit of a misguided concept. When you look at the Scriptures from the standpoint of intent and audience, the overwhelming majority are written to and for Christians. Consider the breakdown of the New Testament for a moment.

There are a total of 3 books of the New Testament that were written specifically to non-Christians: Matthew (to the Jews), Mark (to the Romans), and John (to all men in combating the Gnostic doctrines). Every other book of the New Testament was written to Christians.

Of the remaining 24 books in the New Testament, 8 are written to individuals who are already Christians: Luke, Acts, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, 2 & 3 John.

The other 16 books are written to congregations or groups of Christians that are trying to serve God; they deal with problems and give encouragement that help them to prevail in their Christian walk. These include: Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1 John, Jude and Revelation.

Therefore, we need to recognize that the majority of the New Testament was not given to the non-Christian to convince him of the need for salvation. It was written to the body of Christ to teach them how to remain faithful, how to live acceptably, and how to effectively reach out with the Gospel. If more people understood this little principle of approaching the Scriptures, many of those “problem passages” would become much easier to understand.

This principle of Scripture should also give a great point of emphasis to Christians. Becoming a Christian is not the end of the road, it is only the beginning. It is the start of a life-long journey in service to God. It is nothing more than the reading of the first chapter in a book. Therefore, we need to make sure we place as much importance on the bulk of Scriptures written to us after we are Christians as we do the Scriptures written to those who have not yet obeyed the Gospel.

God knew how much help Christians would need to remain faithful and serve him fully. Therefore, he gave Christians the greatest resource library we could ever have, filled with all the information we need for life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3). Let us ever remember what the Bible is, how it was intended to be used, and utilize it to fulfill our greatest potential in the service of God.

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