What the New Testament Authors Really Cared About: Second Edition: A Survey of Their Writings  -     Edited By: Kenneth Berding, Matt Williams
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What the New Testament Authors Really Cared About: Second Edition: A Survey of Their Writings

Kregel Publications / 2015 / Hardcover

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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 corresponding volume, What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About. This textbook is more accessible than many New Testament survey texts, with full color and photographs and to-the-point coverage of each New Testament book. Introductory issues (Who? When? Where? Why?) are condensed to a one-page snapshot of all the most pertinent information. In addition, more than one hundred applications are highlighted in sidebars to clarify how the New Testament authors might apply their writings to Christians living in the twenty-first century.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 304
Vendor: Kregel Publications
Publication Date: 2015
Dimensions: 9.25 X 7.5 (inches)
ISBN: 0825443849
ISBN-13: 9780825443848

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  1. Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Decent Intro for Beginning Students
    February 10, 2016
    Jason Gardner
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 3
    Berding and Williams have taken a standard type of work (NT surveys) and have brought a slightly different approach to reading the books of the NT. A collaborative work of NT scholars (from a largely conservative approach), this project seeks to hone in one what the writers of the NT books were most concerned with. While the books contributors do address traditional introductory matters, e.g., authorship, date, provenance, etc., the bulk of their writing is devoted to an issue that sometimes receives comparatively less attentionthe issue of the biblical books purpose. The end result is more discussion of prominent themes in each book. It is also important to note that the approach of the contributors is geared toward undergraduates, who presumably have had less exposure to the introductory matters of the NT.

    In terms of features designed to assist those who are relatively new to the enterprise of NT interpretation, there are several. In addition to the items mentioned above (color photos, marginal captions, et al), each chapter concludes with a word bank of terms considered to be significant to that chapter and, presumably, chosen to prompt further study of the books key themes. Additionally, each chapter features a very brief bibliography to serve as starting points for additional readings on each section. These bibliographies consist of 23 titles, which is suitable for starting points for broader and more in-depth exploration.

    Id also like to comment on the design of this book. While Kregels volumes are always well done, the ones Ive read have always been designed with a more utilitarian slanttheyre made to be read, not so much to be appreciated visually. However, this volume has been designed with much more attention to the aesthetics. Not only are the pages semi-glossed, but they also include numerous hi-resolution, full color photos, along with the various sidebars and info boxes. These elements make for a visually appealing work. This volume reminds me of many of Zondervans worksa compliment to be surewith its visually intense layouts and eye-catching designs. One may also make comparisons to Elwell and Yarbroughs Encountering the New Testament, now in its third edition.

    Overall, this is a well-designed and helpful introduction to the NT. However, I think its important to note that this volume is written from a very conservative approach. I dont necessarily mean that to be a criticism or a fault, but a point of note for those considering purchasing this volume. When it comes to conservative intros to the NT, they are legion, so this volume is certainly not breaking any new ground or vying for any top spots in that category. However, when compared to other standard intros from a conservative viewpoint, e.g., Carson/Moo, Kstenberger/Kellum/Quarles, this volume stands out as more overtly conservative and less inclined towards discussions with critical scholarships at which the various authors may be at odds. However, I must reiterate that the authors audience should be kept in mindconservative Christian undergrads with minimal exposure to the world of higher criticism. As such, this volume will serve as a decent start on the path to seeing the primary themes in each canonical book. Also, as mentioned earlier, the limitations posed by the authors audience necessarily preclude lengthier discussions of matters considered to be of critical importance by scholarship. Controversial issues, e.g., Marks messianic secret, the ending of Marks Gospel, the New Perspective on Paul, various interpretive approaches to the book of Revelation, do not occupy a great deal of space.

    As with any book, there are also a few negative points. First is the use of transliterated Greek. I continue to puzzle over why publishers employ transliteration. If you dont know the language, it is of no real value. Just being able to haphazardly pronounce a particular word serves no purpose in the work of exegesis and thus is unnecessary. Second, a number of the captions in the margins are somewhat hokey. For example, in the opening chapter (which discusses the historical backgrounds of the NT) one caption (p. 26) reads Those from Qumran spent a lot of time copying and reading the Word of God. They would ask us how much time we spend in the Word. Now, let me say that this may not be wrong on its face, but comes across as overly simplified and presumptuous. Perhaps the scribes there would ask moderns that question, but I have my doubts it would be toward the top of the list. Another example is found in the chapter on Acts, which reads Luke would be delighted to remind us that God uses people to fulfill his plan (p. 109). Again, its not wrong per se, but seems simplistic and overtly obvious. Third, on p. 27, the writer claims that apocrypha means unveiling. Frankly, I find this surprising. The term apocrypha derives from the word αποκρυπτω, which means to hide/conceal. The term αποκαλυπτω means to unveil, so Im not sure how this made it through editing.

    In sum, I think this volume is helpful for its intended audience, but for those who are more familiar with the NT and its contexts, numerous other volumes are available for more in-depth study.
  2. Singapore
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Good Introductory Material
    December 23, 2015
    Chris
    Singapore
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Seminary classes often do not have time to cover each and every chapter and verse of the bible in class and usually what seminaries gives students an overview or survey of the various testaments. The pros of such an arrangement is that students are given a cliffsnotes edition to what each book of the bible is about. The cons however only equips students with the bare essentials of what the text is about. One can seem knowledgeable, but not really knowing their material well.

    This books seems to want to fill this gap. Rather than dealing time dealing with the authors, dating and purpose. This book mainly deals with the purpose and flow of each book in the New Testament. What is unique about this book is how the chapters are grouped. They are divided into authors then books. As such, Luke-Acts comes before John, and John is followed by the Letters of John and Revelation. Although I appreciate how the editors have arranged the chapters. It was not clear how grouping the books by the author made significant contribution to the overall content. Each chapter could still be read alone, and there was not much interaction between the books written by the same biblical author (or maybe for Luke & John).

    Having said that, this book will help anyone wants to see the structure and the flow of each of the book in the New Testament. Since the book does not dwell much on the technical stuff, I have found that this book can be marketed for any layperson who wants to grow in their grasp of the New Testament. Furthermore, I have found that the book contains plenty of pictures/charts/maps that will be refreshing for anyone whos reading it. In the review copy I was given, I did noticed that one of the the picture was repeated with different captions (A scribes tools, pg 25; Qumran, Cave 4, pg 30). Im not too sure if this error is present in the copies for sale. If so, future reprints should take note and rectify this error.

    For seminary students, this may be the first book they read for their NT survey, but this book alone will not suffice and would need to be supplemented with other books that discuss more on the technical stuff. Pastors who have good knowledge of the New Testament might not need this book, but might be able to refer this book to their congregation for something that is more structured than a study bible, but leaves out on almost all of the technical stuff.

    Rating: 3.75 / 5

    Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
  3. Maricopa, AZ
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Readable and understanding
    November 24, 2015
    Pastor Jim
    Maricopa, AZ
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Kenneth Berding & Matt Williams (Editors), WHAT THE NEW TESTAMENT AUTHORS REALLY CARED ABOUT: A SURVEY OF THEIR WRITINGS, Grand Rapids MI, Kregel Academic, 2015.

    The moment one picks up this volume, one cannot help to be impressed. From the production standpoint it is top notch. a beautiful presentation. The layout is balanced but not as well as the companion volume on the Old Testament. This may be due to the number of photos lacking as compared to that of the Old Testament. However, the photos and charts are top quality. The layout is the same in both volumes, which gives consistency and helps the ease of reading.

    As to the content of the book, it begins with a historical background leading up and including the first century. The points are somewhat brief, but still enough to give one the impression of the first century. He gives enough to give the reader a feel for the conflicts of the time, out of and within Judaism. He captures the feeling of Jewish expectation. From there he goes on to the books of the New Testament and the authors.

    In each book of the New Testament there is a consistency of presentation. He opens with a brief background page answering who, when, where and why. These are very brief, maybe too brief, but give the readers the jist of the background of the text. Each chapter gives an overview in chart form, and then the text goes on to give some meat to the skeleton. He captures the basic teaching of each book well and aids the reader. There needs to be some caution because his presentation has some debatable areas that not all will agree with. Each chapter is well presented with charts, out-takes, and summary. Included at the end of the chapter you will find a list of key words and concepts, with a few key resources for further study (although they are not necessarily ones I would recommend).

    One unique feature that is different from most surveys of the New Testament is that the books are arranged by author, not in the order that they appear in the New Testament. Thus, they present John and his works (Gospel, 1-2-3- John, and Revelation together). I happen to like that. It helps one to grasp in one setting what the authors really care about. It brings cohesion to their views, instead of being broken up by sections. However, the emphasis is not simply the thoughts of the author, but the content of the books themselves. Content does reflect the view and thinking of the author. However there are a few places in which I believe the authors missed the markespecially in regard to Paul. While they are correct that he is concerned about unity in the church, they miss Pauls thought about the uniqueness of the church. They miss the importance of revelation that played an important part of Pauls thought. The work on Ephesians is weak to say the least.

    Other features of this work include:

    An evangelical view of the Bible.

    A strong Calvinistic point of view at times.

    An absence or acknowledgement of critical theory.

    They give focus to the reader by presenting the books in relationship to them and their relationship with Christ.

    It is written clearly for laymen and undergraduates, but I find it too basic and brief in parts. It is written as a textbook, but I would not use it as a main text for a course, but maybe parts of it as supplemental reading. I find it an OK survey; not the best. It is however, helpful in drawing ones attention to the thought and care each writer displayed in the biblical text. It is very readable and understandable.

    __________

    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
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