Reading the New Testament as Christian Scripture: A Literary, Canonical, and Theological Survey – Constantine R. Campbell & Jonathan T. Pennington

There are plenty of Bible surveys out there that provide great material for learning and growing in God’s Word. So much so that it can be difficult choosing which one to start with or figuring out which one is best for you. Campbell and Pennington have given us a fantastic new survey of the New Testament that is directed to the undergraduate level, and assumes no prior academic or technical study of the Bible.

Even so, why should you choose this survey to get better acquainted with the New Testament over others? This book has a unique approach and focus that centers on the practice of reading the Bible. It’s important that we know how to read and read well, and this survey helps us to see how to read certain texts from various angles such as canonically, theologically and historically. Understanding how to read the New Testament through these lenses will help us better understand God’s message for us as the Church. It presupposes the New Testament as Christian Scripture, meaning that the text should be viewed within the context of Old and New Testament canon and the fact that the New Testament provides unique revelation of God Himself in Christ.

There is much background material such as a survey of the world of the New Testament and a chapter on the New Testament as a book in itself. It is perfect for a college textbook, as it walks through every book of the New Testament in survey form and can be easily digested in any order that is necessary. I really appreciate the colorful images, charts, graphs, and timelines that are used. Having these visuals keep the excitement going, giving the reader vivid illustrations of a much different time. Various cultural details are hashed out in sidebars that allow students to take a slight detour in their reading to better grasp the text.

I can see this being a great tool and resource for future Bible students. As I mentioned, there are many surveys out there. But this one is unique in its focus and will definitely be worth checking out.

*This book was graciously provided by Baker Academic in exchange for an honest review.

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