I've been teaching New Testament Survey for over thirty years and this book is one of the best treatments of the New Testament that I have come across. For the last two years, I've made it required reading in my courses. The book gives a fresh reading of the New Testament that's based on chronology. Sources are cited well and the conclusions are logical and historically grounded. I would recommend this book to anyone who wishes to understand the historical underpinnings of the New Testament documents.
I was intrigued by the concept of this book. I have been studying the New Testament chronologically for about three years, so thought this would be a valuable adjunct. Sadly, I found many statements that contradict the New Testament record and no supporting data to validate them. I usually find good information, even when I do not agree with an authors argument. I cannot do so in this case. Some of the errors reflect a lack of understanding of Scripture while others are speculation presented as fact. NOT RECOMMENDED!
Most Christians have no idea what really happened in the first-century church. In fact, we have many misconceptions about the early church because our approach to the New Testament is misguided. The reason for this is simple, yet mostly unknown. The books of the New Testament are not arranged in chronological order! Further, because our New Testament is not in chronological order, we cannot understand the letters from the perspective of the people who received them. Nor from the perspective of those who wrote them. We are ignorant of the cultural, the social, and the political environment behind the New Testament books. Instead, we learn chapters and verses, out of context. This is one reason why there are so many divisions in the church today. It is because anyone can prove any doctrine or practice by cutting and pasting verses together when they are lifted out of their historical, chronological context. There is now a remedy for this. Frank Viola has written a masterful New Testament handbook that puts the entire first-century story together in an understandable way. In, The Untold Story of the New Testament Church, Frank takes all the New Testament books and puts them in their proper chronological order. He then "fills in" all the historical details behind each book, giving us a complete picture of what really happened in the first century. The book of Acts is weaved together with all of the New Testament letters, giving us a first-hand "you-are-there" narrative of the entire saga of the early church. The book includes maps, dates, and much more. After reading you feel as if you were transported back in time. Now each NT book comes alive, you understand what is going on, why Paul or James or Peter is writing these letters. This book revolutionized my understanding of the New Testament, and I believe it will do the same for all who read it!
WOW! Wonderful book! If you have been confused on how the NT fits together and what the context, situation, occasion and purpose behind the writing of the NT letters then you've got to read this book! I wish this book would have been around years ago. Every Believer should read this book!
Viola's epic volume "The Untold Story of the New Testament Church" is absolutely the best little guide to understanding the order of events in the life of the first-century ekklesia! Viola relies on the scholarship of F.F. Bruce, Donald Guthrie, and A.T. Robinson for the dating of the books. He wonderfully weaves together the book of Acts with the Epistles to create one amazing story. Viola follows the story of the church according to Acts and successfully places the epistles in their historical-cultural context. Enabling the reader to better apply the Scriptures to their life. The New Testament comes alive in movie form as Viola uses some of the best N.T. scholarship to reassemble the entire story of the church as it happened in the beginning! I found that this book was able to give me deep insight into the lives and the circumstances behind the writings of the letters of the Apostles. Viola helps the reader along with his use of maps and background information on people and places. His book is easy to read. You follow his graphic retelling of Acts and stop to read an epistle at every point in time the book was believed to have been written. His book is fluid and he makes little to no assumptions about the chronology of the events. I connected with Paul's trials and tribulations in ways I never had before. Many times I had to stop reading just to reflect on the sufferings of Paul and ask myself if I could have endured what he endured. From the conflict and turmoil of the immature and immoral at Corinth... to the Judaizers and "super apostles" who opposed Paul at every turn... you will not want to stop reading until the story is complete.However, as Viola points out, the story is not complete. The Bride of Christ is still in a battle bewteen good and evil. The story of the early church is a reminder of the trials that are inevitable for the Christian. Yet... the Bride will endure and will persevere unto the end.