Book Review: What the New Testament Authors Really Cared About

Book CoverWhat the New Testament Authors Really Cared About – A Survey of Their Writings (2nd Edition) by Kenneth Berding (Editor), Matt Williams (Editor)

When I had the opportunity to review this book, I took it without deliberating because I reviewed its predecessor, What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About, which I was very impressed with, and find very helpful as a reference tool.

Here is what the publisher, Kregel, says about this 2nd edition:

Now in hardcover, this second edition of What the New Testament Authors Really Cared About has a new cover and layout to correspond with the look of the popular companion volume, What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About.

The artwork is on the hardcover, which I really like, instead of a dust jacket. The paper and everything else about it is very high quality. Color is used throughout making it pleasing to look at, and the table of contents has a list almost four pages long of maps, photographs, and tables, to give you an idea of how illustrative it is. As with most things “illustrated”, there are many photographs that are fillers–they could probably have been taken anywhere. I may have been more judicious and not have to have photos everywhere just because. On the other hand, it would be hard to find completely relevant photographs to find for every space that an image would occupy.

It’s a New Testament introduction (or survey) of sorts, but written by those who teach undergraduates as opposed to those in seminary or graduate courses. The audience is for the less scholarly inclined and more for the regular person who would like to get a good overview of each book of the New Testament, and specifically what each inspired author was conveying to their original audience. There are also “more than one hundred applications highlighted in sidebars to clarify how the New Testament authors might apply their writings to Christians living in the twenty-first century.”

I found some of it to be somewhat of a summary of the Biblical book, which is rather simple, but the majority is on what each author emphasizes and is conveying to his audience.

The book is generally theologically neutral, but is bent towards the Calvinist end. This may be more apparent in some of the usual areas.

The first chapter, Walking in the Sandals of a First-Century Jew, is extremely helpful. This provides a backdrop of where the authors are coming from and who some of their original audience is.

There is no introduction to the gospels, which I at first found puzzling. I then realized that the book is focused on each author. However, What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About has a very helpful introduction to the minor prophets. I think one for at least the Synoptic Gospels would have been helpful to show the differences even more than the similarities. There is an introduction to Paul’s writings which is very informative.

For those who would like something other than the mammoth New Testament introductions, like deSilva’s–which I have–and is literally the biggest (tallest) book I have, but something more comprehensive than what a study Bible would have in their introductions to each book, this is a good fit. I’m very glad to have it as a reference book.

I received this book free from Kregel Academics for the purpose of reviewing it. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Kregel Academic; 2 edition (August 27, 2015)

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