Jesus is the main personality in the book, and the twelve disciples play also an important role. Some of the teaching is in the form of clear commands, such as that the disciples should love one another, and some of it is in the form of parables. Acts The genre of this book is narrative. It tells the story of how the very first Christians spread out over the ancient world and began to teach the gospel and plant churches. It was written by the disciple Luke, who has an interest in how the gospel affects people in their daily lives. One of the key figures in the book of acts is Paul, whose conversion to Christianity occurred when he experienced a vision on the road to Damascus. The narrative describes how the early Christians were received, sometimes with open arms, and sometimes with violence and persecution. A key theme of the book is the way that Christians are called to set themselves apart from the communities around them, and what to do about pressure to conform to Jewish and Roman traditions. The teachings and miracles of the early Church are described, and the book documents the transition from small beginnings to an established international organization. Romans The book of Romans is written in the form of an epistle. This means that it is a letter, in this case written by Paul and addressed to Christians who are located in the city of Rome. In those days the Romans were the dominant civilization in the Eastern Mediterranean, and so Paul is conscious of cultural influences that may
have been causing conflict within the early Church. A key theme of the book of Romans is to distinguish how the new Christian faith differs from traditional Jewish practices, and modern Roman ones. It stressed salvation through faith in Christ, and the need to distinguish between the true apostolic tradition, which Paul represents, and other false teachers. Most of the book is quite dense in nature, explaining deep theological points, but it ends with plans that Paul has to travel to Rome and a lot of personal greetings to Christian friends of his. I Timothy This book is an example of an epistle. It is written by Paul to a younger Christian called Timothy, and its main theme is to give advice on how to be a good Christian, and how to conduct oneself as a leader and teacher in the Church. Paul refers to Timothy as “my own son” which is not to be taken literally, but refers to the fatherly way that Paul looks after his younger colleague. Timothy is carrying on the work that Paul began, and so he is given tips on how to organize the different roles and functions in a Christian community. The proper conduct of women is discussed, and the duties of those who preach and teach. The importance of prayer is stressed, and the whole letter is dedicated to the expansion of the Church and the support of newly founded communities which are still finding their way. Revelation The book of Revelation is an apocalyptic book. This means that its main theme is what will happen at the end of the world when God will judge the earth. It takes the form of a series of visions which are described in great detail, including monstrous beings and natural catastrophes. God appears as an authoritative figure, and there is a lot of symbolism that stresses his power and potential anger. The book warns that people will be made accountable for how they have lived, and describes what heaven and hell will be like.