Review of The New Testament in Antiquity

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth Blog has a helpful review of Zondervan’s recent New Testament introduction The New Testament in Antiquity.

One observation that stands out is the following:

But the old adage remains true; you can’t judge a book by its cover.  So what about the overall quality of NTA?  How useful a survey/introduction is it?  I think that for its intended audience (i.e., undergraduates) it’s a very useful resource.  We need to keep the authors’ four goals in mind when flipping through this volume.  They wanted a text that was: academic, accessible, contextual, and confessional.  I submit that they’ve succeeded on all counts but I’ll grant that it’s this last goal that will throw many readers.  The authors say:

[W]e wanted a volume that is responsive to the confessional commitments of the evangelical tradition. Too often academic treatments of the New Testaments view faith commitments as passé. We wanted a scholarly text that treated the pages of the New Testament as Scripture, which has spoken to the church through the centuries. (p. 9)

I think it’s rather refreshing to see this kind of honesty from the beginning, and it’s also commendable that the authors haven’t thought it necessary to check their faith at the door.  They’re quite content to view the NT as divinely inspired Scripture recognizing that “God is at work in and through th[o]se chapters to bring life and transformation to all who seek him there.” (p. 16)

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