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A Beginner's Guide to New Testament Studies

Understanding Key Debates

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This accessible and balanced introduction helps readers sort out key views on the most important debated issues in New Testament studies. Well-known New Testament scholar Nijay Gupta fairly presents the spectrum of viewpoints on thirteen topics and offers reflections on why scholars disagree on these matters. Written to be accessible to students and readers without advanced training in New Testament studies, this book will serve as an excellent supplementary text for New Testament introduction courses.

1. The Synoptic Problem
2. The Historical Jesus
3. The Fourth Gospel and History
4. Jesus and Paul
5. Paul's Theological Perspective
6. Paul and the Jewish Law
7. Interpreting the Book of Revelation
8. Pseudonymity and the New Testament Letters
9. The New Testament and the Roman Empire
10. Women in Leadership in the New Testament 
11. Justification by Faith and Judgment according to Works
12. The Old Testament in the New Testament
13. The Application and Use of Scripture


"This 'beginner's guide' is marked by a wise choice of crucial, controversial topics, accurate sketches of the perspectives of the major thinkers on the topics, judicious and open-handed appreciation of all there is to be learned, and, at the same time, student-sensitive reflections on how each topic matters for life and ministry. Bravo!"

Scot McKnight, professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary

"Nijay Gupta is true to his title in A Beginner's Guide to New Testament Studies. His writing is thoroughly accessible and highly engaging, and it doesn't presume prior knowledge of the field of New Testament studies. Gupta provides a bird's-eye view of key issues in the field--from the historical Jesus, to Paul and the law, to New Testament application today. Gupta fairly portrays scholars on different sides of an issue and provides a final reflection of his own for each chapter. For anyone wanting an entrée to New Testament studies, this is the book for you."

Jeannine Brown, professor of New Testament, Bethel Seminary, San Diego and St. Paul

"Right off the bat, I was asking myself into which of my classes I could incorporate A Beginner's Guide to New Testament Studies: Understanding Key Debates. As I continued reading, however, I soon began to wonder if it was possible to incorporate it into all of them. With each chapter I read, I honestly thought, This chapter alone is worth the price of the book. The content is clear and evenhanded and is as comprehensive as possible while remaining appropriately concise. In addition to that, it's remarkably relevant, engaging, and fun."

Joseph R. Dodson, Denver Seminary

"Surveying the issues of debate in New Testament studies can be a daunting task. Fortunately, Nijay Gupta has taken complex topics and laid them out in a palatable way, one that even the novice can understand and appreciate. Gupta offers a fair and balanced presentation of some of the main arguments for various points of debate within New Testament scholarship. In the end, the reader is left with an effective roadmap for navigating the rich and intricate field of New Testament studies."

Jeanette Hagen Pifer, assistant professor of New Testament, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University

"This is a really helpful book. As an undergrad professor, I am often looking for a brief introduction to contested issues in New Testament studies that explains our academic debates to students in an accessible way. Dr. Gupta does this time and again in this work. He tackles issues like women in leadership, justification, and pseudonymity in a way that is charitable and clear. This will be a welcome resource to supplement New Testament introductions, which often lack the space to deal with issues in detail."

Esau McCaulley, assistant professor of New Testament, Wheaton College

"Nijay Gupta has produced an accessible and helpful resource for students who are seeking to grasp the contours of scholarly debates on several key issues in New Testament studies. He presents a fair and balanced treatment of diverging opinions and whets the reader's appetite vis-à-vis the issues discussed."

Abson Joseph, academic dean and professor of New Testament, Wesley Seminary, Indiana Wesleyan University

"In A Beginner's Guide to New Testament Studies, Nijay Gupta demonstrates the skill of a master guide as he takes readers on a fast-paced tour of the world of New Testament studies. This volume doesn't shy away from the complexity of critical New Testament debates and yet manages to offer concise, accessible overviews that invite further study and reflection. Nijay's pastoral sense is also evident as he anticipates the challenges presented by popular (mis)perceptions of the New Testament (in church and culture). A new generation of students will find that Nijay has demystified some of the most contested areas of scholarly debate and provided them with the opportunity to navigate their own course in studying the New Testament."

Ronald Herms, dean, School of Humanities, Religion, and Social Science, Fresno Pacific University

"A concise and accessible guide with salient details for beginners. The short chapters aptly expose students to the main issues and differing views among scholars, and each concludes with questions for critical reflection--questions that may be reappropriated for online, in-class, or small-group discussions. An excellent book for undergraduate students."

Daniel K. Darko, professor of New Testament, Gordon College

"What do New Testament scholars think about the historical reliability of John's Gospel? What is the relationship between the historical Jesus and the apostle Paul? What is the New Testament's view of women in leadership roles? What is the center of Paul's theology? Do Paul's statements about the Jewish law have any coherence? Who really wrote Jude, 2 Peter, or the Pastoral Epistles? Is the New Testament silent on the Roman Empire or does it engage in a veiled but powerful critique? It would take beginning students a lifetime to answer these questions! Or they could just read this book. Gupta has a detailed grasp of the New Testament, its sociocultural world, and the history of New Testament interpretation, and he communicates in remarkably accessible prose, providing an ideal entry point for students seeking a way in to the field of New Testament studies."

Joshua Jipp, associate professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

The Author

  1. Nijay K. Gupta
    © Adam McGuffie

    Nijay K. Gupta

    Nijay K. Gupta (PhD, Durham University) is Julius R. Mantey Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary. He is cohost of the Slow Theology podcast, founder of the Crux Sola blog, and has written numerous books, including Tell Her...

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