by Kurt Lang

“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”[1]

If you are a reader like me, you might be wondering, “Well? Why weren’t they written? I want to know more of the story!”

For whatever reason, God decided that what we have is enough. He must be reminding us that quality is better than quantity.

So what do we have in the pages of the New Testament?

The Rest of the Story

The 39 books of the Old Testament set the stage for our coming Savior. It reveals God’s workings throughout history, and His plan to walk with man. Its prophecies assure the reality of things to come.

The 27 New Testament books are not its replacement, but the enhancement of the story.

Some would say the Old is obsolete, but were it not there, we wouldn’t have the New.

Sources vary in their numbers, but Scott Ashley reported in The Old Testament in the New Testament, “An index in the Jewish New Testament catalogs 695 separate quotations from the books of the Old Testament in the New…”[2] He adds that the number of quotations and references where the New interacts with the Old could be as high as 4,105 times.

Both are indispensable and connected. Together, they show us Jesus.

The Jesus Reveal

Jesus said Scripture is fulfilled in Him (Luke 22:37). He claimed to come not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it (Mt. 5:17). Writers of the New Testament give us the proof of the One who would be the fulfillment of the prophecies its predecessor laid out.

What would we know about Jesus if this Testament hadn’t shown up to do its job?

That We Might Believe

It sure would be nice to have more teachings from Jesus to aid our spiritual growth. But what we have is sufficient. “…but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). Our study of the New Testament writings ensures we have enough proof to know Jesus as our Savior.

The work of the Holy Spirit fills in the rest of the gaps we might think we would discover if we had all those other writings. God designed it that way.

It Was Written for You

Once we believe, we don’t stop. We make it a part of us. And just as we are a multi-faceted people, we connect to its teachings in different ways.

I love the diversity offered to us by its different authors. Four gave us eyewitness accounts into the life of Jesus. One shares the birth of the early church, while others write letters offering a glimpse of its growing pains as they learned to live like Jesus. Finally, the rich apocalyptic literature of its ending reminds us there is more yet to be written.

Which gospel gives you the best picture of Jesus? Which letter speaks to your heart as if it was written just for you?

Applying Its Message

The more we understand about the writers, and the original readers, the better we hear and apply its message for us. Would you know more about Jesus as He walked the face of this earth? Might you dare to imagine yourself as one of Jesus’ apostles wrestling with the real-life struggle of following this new Master? Wouldn’t you love to ask John what his vision really means?!

I am glad I am not surrounded by stacks of books that tell all the good Jesus has done. I wouldn’t know where to start! But what I have in my hand is what I need to know. Of course, this Book was never designed to be a “one and done.” Through reading, repeating, studying, meditating, and memorizing, I find a new story every time!


[1] John 21:25 (Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the English Standard Version)