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Biblical Facts from New Testament


Tough love.

In contrast to the warm and joyful tone of 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians includes some blunt commands as Paul addresses bad behavior and bad thinking within the church. Some, for instance, were refusing to work for a living (2 Thes. 3:6–15).


After Paul established the church in Ephesus, Paul’s younger coworker Timothy stayed there to strengthen it against false teaching (1 Tim. 1:3). Paul’s first letter to Timothy provides further instruction about specific issues that the young church faced.



In Paul’s day, upper-class women showcased their wealth by braiding their hair elaborately and wearing expensive jewelry and clothing. Paul tells believing women to dress modestly and respectably. Godliness is more beautiful than external decoration (1 Tim.2:9–10; see 1 Peter 3:3–4).


Paul often describes the church as the household of God (1 Tim.3:4–5, 12, 15; see Gal. 6:10; Eph. 2:19). This means that the church is God’s family, and its members are brothers and sisters. Also, just like a family, there are certain roles and responsibilities for its members.


Hospitality was encouraged within the early church (1 Tim. 5:10). Peter teaches Christians to “show hospitality to one another without grumbling” (1 Pet. 4:9; see Rom. 12:13) The writer of Hebrews even comments that some who offered hospitality actually “entertained angels” without realizing it (Heb. 13:2).


Famous liars.

Paul quotes a Cretan author who admits that the people of his own nation had a reputation for not telling the truth (Titus 1:12). In fact, the Greeks even coined the word “Cretanize,” which meant dealing falsely with people.


What is theology?

Theology is the study of God. Biblical theology attempts to make accurate statements about God based on what he has revealed about himself in Scripture. Accurate knowledge of the Bible is especially important in responding to the kind of false teachings that Paul talks about in his letter to Titus.


How did a person become a bondservant? Being a “bondservant” in NT times (Philemon v. 16) was different from many of the more recent kinds of slavery. Bondservants were bound to serve their master for a specific period of time. People did not necessarily become slaves because of their race, nor were they completely without legal rights. A person might become a slave as punishment for a crime or as a way to pay off a debt.


Who wrote Hebrews?

The author and the audience of Hebrews are both unknown. However, we do know that Timothy was a friend of the author (Heb. 13:23), that the author was probably not an eyewitness of Jesus (Heb. 2:1, 3), and that Jewish Christians are the most likely recipients.


Jesus the master builder. In the era of peace made possible by Roman rule, the building of public buildings and private homes flourished. Working primarily with materials such as marble, bronze, and terra-cotta, architects designed and built large, beautiful structures throughout the empire. However, such buildings were nothing compared to the individual new lives being “built” by Jesus the master builder (Heb. 3:3–6).


Approaching a human ruler’s throne with a request can be dangerous, especially when one is fully at the mercy of the ruler. In contrast, Christians can expect to find mercy and help when they approach God’s throne with a request (Heb. 4:16).


The safety of sailors depended greatly on a ship’s anchor. Without it, the likelihood of shipwreck in­­creased dramatically. The anchor therefore became an important emblem of hope and stability for early Christians (Heb. 6:19).


A better covenant. A key theme in the book of Hebrews is the superiority of the new covenant over the old. The words “better,” “more,” or “greater” to describe the new covenant appear a combined total of 25 times.


Why didn’t the old covenant last?

A covenant is an agreement between two parties. The Israelites did not keep their part of the covenant. That is why the first covenant did not work (Heb. 8:7–9). But God mercifully initiated a new covenant through Christ. This covenant offers many more blessings, including the Holy Spirit’s ministry of helping believers obey God (Heb. 8:10–11).


The mercy seat (Heb. 9:5) was the place where the high priest sprinkled blood once a year to atone for the people’s sins (Lev. 16:14; see Ex. 25:22). In contrast, Jesus’ death redeemed our sins “once for all” (Heb. 9:12). His sacrificial death also gives us the freedom to serve God (Heb. 9:14).


There is good reason for believers around the world to be eagerly awaiting Jesus’ second coming. But unbelievers can only fear, for they will face final judgment for their sin (Heb. 9:27–28).


Jesus’ perfect sacrifice for sin. Animal sacrifices symbolized payment for sins under the first covenant (Heb. 0:1). But Jesus’ death paid for sins in a way that animal sacrifices could not (Heb. 10:1–18). It also made sanctification, the process of conforming into the image of Christ, possible for believers (Heb. 10:14).


Even under the old covenant, faith was essential for a relationship with God. The OT saints believed God and obeyed him even though they did not see his promises fulfilled completely (Heb. ch. 11). Christians, however, have the amazing privilege of having seen God’s plan fulfilled in Christ.


Foot races were a popular sport in the Greco-Roman world. Paul uses the image of a race to illustrate the Christian life (1 Cor. 9:24; 2 Tim. 4:7). The writer of Hebrews also encourages believers to “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1).


Roman imprisonment varied greatly, depending on the crime. Some prisoners were held in public prisons while others were kept under house arrest. The writer of Hebrews reminds his audience to “remember those who are in prison” (Heb. 13:3). This included believers imprisoned for their faith (Heb. 13:23; 10:32–34).