I’m teaching a course at Bethlehem College and Seminary this fall to second-year seminary students called “New Testament Background and Message.” We are systematically working through the NT, and prior to each time we meet for class the students must summarize the theological message of a NT book in one clear, concise sentence. Then they must briefly unpack that sentence by showing how the book’s themes support that message. (And it takes a lot of work to do that well!)
It frustrates me when books and articles discuss the “theology” of a Bible book by presenting a bucket list of parallel motifs but without showing how they integrate as one coherent theological message. So I was delighted to see that the new NIV Proclamation Bible (ed. Lee Gatiss; cf. publisher page and 40-second video) includes a one-sentence summary of the message of every book of the Bible.
I disagree with many of these one-sentence summaries (which are rather uneven), but it’s still helpful to consider how others articulate the messages. These are from the introduction to each book of the Bible: