My Ten Favorite New Testament Passages
For many people coming up with their 10 favorite New Testament passages is a lot easier than coming up with their 10 favorite Old Testament passages. This is usually because they are more familiar with the New Testament. For me, it’s just the opposite. I don’t mean to say that I’m unfamiliar with the New Testament, but because I focus on teaching the Old Testament, I spend a lot more time there. So when it comes to choosing my favorite New Testament passages, I’ve had to put a bit more thought into it because I wanted to be sure I wasn’t just choosing a passage because it was well known, but because it had somehow spoken into my life. So without further delay, here are my ten favorite New Testament passages.
John 17:3–And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. As I mentioned in my 10 favourite Old Testament passages, I was introduced to the importance of knowing God through J. I. Packer’s book “Knowing God.” No verse speaks of that significance better than this one.
Acts 2:38–Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This continues to be a very important verse in the church tradition I grew up in. I heard it every Sunday, and it was one of the most important passages that led to my conversion.
Romans 2:4-5–Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God. This passage is a good reminder to guard against self-righteousness. If you read from Romans 2:1, Paul is speaking of the hypocrite who judges others, while doing the same thing. The part of this passage that really gets me is the description of the hard, impenitent heart that is storing up wrath! That’s a good reminder to stay humble! It is very sobering to remember that judging others leads to a hard, impenitent heart.
Romans 11:28-29–Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. When I was a senior in Bible College, I wrote a paper on Romans 9-11. One of my motives was to understand who the Israel is that Paul is talking about in this passage. Some say that the nation of Israel has been replaced by spiritual Israel (the church). A study of these chapters (most clearly stated in these particular verses) convinced me that God still has a plan for the nation of Israel.
Romans 11:32–For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. OK, this is my third passage in Romans, but since I have taught Romans for many years, it naturally has had a huge impact on my life. Out of all the verses I have chosen, this is actually my favourite New Testament passage. It brings me such hope, and I frequently pray it for lost loved ones. What an amazing God, who commits all to disobedience so that He might have mercy on all! That is not the way human beings reason. This truth could only come from God.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8–Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. There are just some passages that it is impossible to leave off the list of (I would think) anyone’s top ten New Testament passages. This is one of them! Reading these words everyday will change how we live.
Galatians 2:20–I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Ever since I learned the praise song from the 70s that put a tune to these words, I have loved this verse. It is a reminder of what Christ has done for me and how I should live.
Ephesians 2:8-9–For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. A true understanding of God’s grace will revolutionize any one. I remember as a young Bible College student when I began to understand grace for the first time (even though I was already saved), how it totally changed my life.
Philippians 3:8–Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ. This is another verse from J. I. Packer’s book that has meant a lot over the years. “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose!” (Jim Elliot)
1 John 5:9-11–If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. This is not a passage that I hear discussed very much among Christians, but I think it is one of the most powerful in the Bible. As a young pastor I found that many Christians doubted their salvation. I taught on this passage several times. These verses actually say if we believe in Jesus and doubt that God has given us eternal life, we make Him a liar. Wow! Salvation is as sure for the believer as God is true!
What Are Your Favorite New Testament Passages?
As the Christmas season approaches, I have found it refreshing to think through the Scriptures and recall the favorite, or the most influential, passages in my life. Looking over my list, I notice that there are a lot of New Testament books left out. Perhaps you will fill in some of the gaps by sharing one or more of your favorite New Testament passages (as some of you did with the Old Testament). Some shared on Facebook, or LinkedIn, while others shared here on this blog. The Word of God is a special treasure. full of wisdom, instruction, and inspiration. May the Word who became flesh bless you this Christmas season (or whenever you read this blog) as you meditate on those special verses that have meant so much to your life.