Books of the Bible: New Testament Books in Order

Table of contents
Updated July 26, 2023 | Infoplease Staff
Books of the Bible

The Christian scriptures, or the New Testament, are a collection of 27 books that tell the story of Jesus Christ and the early Christian church. From the Gospels to the book of Revelation, these texts provide a rich and complex narrative that has inspired generations of believers and scholars alike.

By exploring the Bible books of the New Testament in chronological order, we can gain a deeper understanding of the history and teachings of the Christian faith, as well as the cultural and historical context in which they emerged. Join us on a journey through the books of the New Testament and discover the rich tapestry of stories, teachings, and insights that make up this foundational text.

What Are the 27 Books of the New Testament in Order?

Digging into the text of Christian scriptures can be an immensely satisfying adventure, depending on your perspective. From a scholarly standpoint to that of a devout believer, exploring the stories and lessons within provides perspective into centuries of unwritten living history.

The Compilation of the New Testament

The New Testament was compiled over several centuries and was not initially recognized as a single canon of literature. The earliest writings of the New Testament were the letters of the apostle Paul, which he wrote in the 50s A.D. Around the same time, the four Gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — were written. These texts were circulated among early Christian communities and gradually gained acceptance as authoritative.

By the end of the second century, most Christians accepted a core canon of books that included the Gospels, Acts, and the letters of Paul. Other books, such as Hebrews, James, and Revelation, were debated but eventually accepted into the canon as well. The final list of New Testament books was formally adopted by the Councils of Hippo and Carthage in the late 4th century.

An Overview of the Books of the Bible: New Testament

The New Testament is a collection of 27 books that form the second part of the Christian Bible. These books were written in Greek between the first and second centuries A.D. and provide an account of the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as well as the establishment and growth of the early Christian church. Now, let's explore the books of the New Testament in chronological order, providing a brief overview of each book's content.

The Gospels

The first four books of the New Testament are known as the Gospels and are the primary source of information about the life, teachings, and ministry of Jesus Christ. They are:

Matthew: This gospel is written to a Jewish audience and focuses on Jesus' fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. It includes the Sermon on the Mount, the parables of Jesus, and the Great Commission.

Mark: This gospel is the shortest of the four and is believed to be the earliest. It emphasizes Jesus' actions rather than his teachings and includes many miracles and healings.

Luke: This gospel is written to a Gentile audience and enhances Jesus' compassion for the poor and marginalized. It includes the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son, as well as the birth narrative of Jesus.

John: This gospel is the most theological of the four and revolves Jesus' divinity. It includes the famous verse, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

Fun Fact: Each of the four gospels in the New Testament has a unique symbol associated with it. These symbols are known as the Four Evangelists' symbols and are represented in art and literature.

History: The Book of Acts

The next book of the New Testament is the book of Acts, which provides a history of the early Christian church. It begins with the ascension of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and follows the spread of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. It includes the conversion of Saul of Tarsus (who later became Paul the Apostle) and the establishment of the first Christian communities amidst the Jews.

Fun Fact: Did you know that the Acts of the Apostles is the only book in the New Testament that is a sequel? It follows the Gospel of Luke and tells the story of the early Christian church after the death and resurrection of Jesus.

The Letters or Epistles

The rest of the New Testament consists of 21 letters, or epistles, written by various authors to specific audiences. They can be divided into two categories: Pauline and General.

Pauline Epistles

Paul, also known as Saint Paul or Saul of Tarsus, was an apostle who played a crucial role in the spreading of Christianity during the first century. Born in Tarsus, Paul initially persecuted Christians, but later had a powerful conversion experience on the road to Damascus, which led him to devote his life to the service of Christ.

Throughout his ministry, Paul wrote thirteen of the 21 epistles that make up the New Testament of the Christian Bible. These letters provide guidance to early Christian communities, addressing issues ranging from faith and doctrine to practical matters of everyday life. Paul's epistles have been studied and analyzed for centuries, and their influence can be seen in the development of Christian theology and practice over the last two thousand years. These epistles include the following books.

Romans: This epistle is a theological work and emphasizes salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. It includes the famous verse, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

1 Corinthians: This epistle addresses issues in the Corinthian church, including divisions, immorality, and the proper use of spiritual gifts.

2 Corinthians: This epistle is a personal letter from Paul to the Corinthian church and includes a defense of his apostleship.

Galatians: This epistle revolves around the idea of salvation by faith alone and not by following the law of Moses. It includes the famous verse, "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."

Ephesians: This epistle focuses the unity of the church and the importance of living a holy life. It includes the famous verse, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God."

Philippians: This epistle is a personal letter from Paul to the church in Philippi and emphasizes the joy that comes from knowing Christ.

Colossians: This epistle emphasizes the supremacy of Christ and warns against false teachings.

1 Thessalonians: This epistle encourages the Thessalonian church to remain faithful despite persecution and includes a description of the second coming of Christ.

2 Thessalonians: This epistle addresses false teachings about the second coming of Christ and encourages the Thessalonians to continue living a godly life.

1 Timothy: This epistle is a personal letter from Paul to Timothy and includes instructions on church leadership and the conduct of believers.

2 Timothy: This epistle is a second letter from Paul to Timothy and focuses on a call to persevere in the face of persecution.

Titus: This epistle is a personal letter from Paul to Titus and contains knowledge on the qualifications of church leaders.

Philemon: This epistle is a personal letter from Paul to Philemon and includes a request to forgive a runaway slave named Onesimus.

Fun Fact: These letters written by Paul cover a wide range of topics, from theological debates to practical advice for living a Christian life.

General Epistles

The next eight books of the New Testament are referred to as the general letters or general epistles. These letters were written to a wider audience and address various issues facing the early church, such as false teaching and persecution.

Hebrews: This epistle describes the superiority of Christ over the Old Testament law and includes a warning against apostasy. This book also is part of the Pseudepigrapha, alongside some of the other Apocryphal books in the Old Testament, like the Psalms of Solomon. 

James: This epistle emphasizes the importance of faith and works and includes practical advice on Christian living.

1 Peter: This epistle encourages believers to endure persecution and includes instructions on Christian behavior in the midst of suffering.

2 Peter: This epistle warns against false teachers and revolves around the certainty of Christ's return.

1 John: This epistle calls attention to the importance of love and includes warnings against false teachings.

2 John: This epistle warns against false teachers and emphasizes the importance of remaining in the truth.

3 John: This epistle is a personal letter from John to Gaius and includes instructions on hospitality and support for traveling missionaries.

Jude: This epistle warns against false teachers and highlights the importance of contending for the faith.

Fun Fact: The term "general Epistles" has its origins in the Greek word "katholikos," which means "universal" or "general."

The Book of Revelation

The final book of the New Testament is the book of Revelation, which is also known as the Apocalypse of John. This book is a highly symbolic and metaphorical work, filled with vivid imagery of fantastical creatures, natural disasters, and supernatural phenomena. It is believed to have been written during a time of great persecution of early Christians, and it contains messages of both warning and hope to believers.

The book of Revelation emphasizes the ultimate victory of Christ over evil, and it portrays a cosmic battle between the forces of good and evil. It includes a description of the end times and the final judgment, as well as a depiction of the new heaven and earth that will be created after the final battle is won.

Apart from its religious significance, the book of Revelation has also been the subject of much scholarly debate and interpretation over the years. Some scholars see it as a political commentary on the Roman Empire, while others view it as a guide to spiritual enlightenment. Regardless of one's interpretation, Revelation remains a powerful and influential work of literature that continues to inspire and challenge readers to this day.

Fun Fact: Some of the most famous and mysterious passages in the Bible are found in the Book of Revelation, including the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the Beast with seven heads and 10 horns, and the Whore of Babylon.

Summing Up the New Testament

The books of the New Testament provide a canonical account of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, as well as the establishment and growth of the early Christian church. By understanding the order and content of these 27 books in chronological order, we can gain a deeper understanding of the Christian faith and its history. The early church in Jerusalem and Judah spread the Gospel of Messiah throughout Israel and Rome, and through these texts, we continue to learn from and be inspired by their faith today.

And if you are interested in the books of the Old Testament in order, from Genesis to Ecclesiastes, Leviticus to Lamentations, check out Infoplease’s exploration of the Old Testament’s chronological order! Or test your biblical knowledge with a Creatures from the Bible quiz.

Return to Top of Page

Sources +


About the author

Author profile photo

Tara Gunn

Editor, Digital Content Strategist, & Project Lead | She/Her

Hailing from Canada, Tara is a graduate of Scotland's University of St. Andrews in creative… read more about this author