The New Testament has 27 books in it. When you open the Bible, you will notice that most of the Bible is the Old Testament. The New Testament may be the shorter end of the Bible, but it is very powerful. It represents the time of Jesus coming into this world and after. It marks a major shift in humanity and the way we think about God, others, and ourselves.
The Old Testament is where God reveals Himself, but only so much. When Jesus is conceived, God reveals His very Self. The Old Testament teaches about God, and therefore reveals who He is, but the New Testament is where God becomes man and presents himself to the physical world. Before we could say we know about Him. But now we can say we know Him. Today we cannot see Him walking around, but we can get to know Him through reading the Bible, praying, and experiencing Him in the Sacraments. The Gospel of John says that Jesus is the Word Made Flesh. The words of the New Testament come alive for those who believe. God reveals Himself to those who are open to receive Him in such a way.
So what does the New Testament consist of? It consists of twenty-seven books. Four of these books are what we call the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Gospels tell of the life of Jesus from conception until just before He ascends into Heaven. After the Gospels is the book of The Acts of the Apostles. This book takes off from the Ascension into Heaven and goes through the development of the Church and what the Apostles did and taught. After the Acts of the Apostles, are the letters of various Apostles. Most of the letters are from Paul (fourteen of them). The other letters are from Peter (two of them), James, John (three of them), and Jude. The last book of the New Testament and the Bible is the Book of Revelation. It is a prophetic book that tells of things that have happened and have yet to happen at the same time. It was written by John the Apostle who wrote the Gospel of John and three of the letters in the New Testament.
That is a general overview of the New Testament. Now we can focus on the four Gospels before we get into the Gospel of Matthew. The Gospels we have today did not come about by the whimsical decisions of the Apostles. By the year 150 AD, a list of the four Gospels was already being accepted. Some books were still being looked at, but not considered part of the four that were used for worship in the Mass. Keep in mind, this was within fifty years of the death of John the Apostle. The common Gospel that some people think should have been used is the Gospel of Thomas. We are told by popular media that this Gospel is a champion for women’s rights. It was taught in Dan Brown’s book, The Divinci Code, that it was suppressed by the patriarchal Catholic Church to oppress women. In actuality, the Gospel of Thomas teaches the degradation of women. The Gospel of Thomas says in verse 114, “Simon Peter says to them: “Let Mary go out from our midst, for women are not worthy of life!” Jesus says: “See, I will draw her so as to make her male so that she also may become a living spirit like you males. For every woman who has become male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” So much for women’s rights in the gospel of Thomas! I am surely glad that the Church does not promote such ideas. I cannot go through all the “Gospels” that were not put in the Bible one by one. Some were fakes like the Gospel of Thomas and some are considered holy, but not necessary.