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Reading the New Testament as Christian Scripture

A Literary, Canonical, and Theological Survey

series: Reading Christian Scripture

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Reading the New Testament as Christian Scripture is designed to meet the needs of contemporary evangelical undergraduates. This survey textbook effectively covers the New Testament books and major topics in the New Testament, assuming no prior academic study of the Bible.

Many introductions to the New Testament focus on critical issues such as authorship, background, and history. While this book addresses these important issues as well, its focus is on reading the text of the New Testament itself. The authors believe the New Testament should be read from multiple angles: historically, literarily, canonically, theologically, and ecclesially. They pay attention to how the New Testament documents fit together as a canonical whole that supplements the Old Testament to make up the Christian Scriptures. They also show how the New Testament writings provide basic material for Christian doctrine, spirituality, and engagement with culture.

This is the first volume in a new series of survey textbooks that will cover the Old and New Testaments. The book features full-color illustrations that hold interest and aid learning and offers a full array of pedagogical aids: photographs, sidebars, maps, time lines, charts, glossary, and discussion questions. Chapters can be assigned in any order, making this an ideal textbook for one-semester courses at evangelical schools.

1. The New Testament as Christian Scripture
2. The New Testament as a Book
3. The World around the New Testament
4. Jesus's Life and Teaching
5. The Fourfold Gospel Book
6. The Gospel according to Matthew
7. The Gospel according to Mark
8. The Gospel according to Luke
9. The Gospel according to John
10. The Acts of the Apostles
11. The Apostle Paul's Life and Teaching
12. The Letter to the Romans
13. The First Letter to the Corinthians
14. The Second Letter to the Corinthians
15. The Letter to the Galatians
16. The Letter to the Ephesians
17. The Letter to the Philippians
18. The Letter to the Colossians
19. The First Letter to the Thessalonians
20. The Second Letter to the Thessalonians
21. The Pastoral Letters: 1-2 Timothy and Titus
22. The Letter to Philemon
23. The Letter to the Hebrews
24. The Letter of James
25. The First Letter of Peter
26. The Second Letter of Peter
27. The Letters of John: 1-3 John
28. The Letter of Jude
29. The Book of Revelation
30. Reading the New Testament as Christian Scripture in the Twenty-First Century


"The challenges facing anyone seeking to introduce the literature and message of the New Testament to this generation are many. Constantine Campbell and Jonathan Pennington have successfully responded to them with this remarkably useful and effective survey, rooted in their exhortation to read the biblical revelation as disciples expecting transformation. Their goal is to provide 'a guide for students to thoughtfully read the texts of Scripture themselves,' assisted by those who are 'a bit further along on the journey.' To achieve this, the authors helpfully structure each chapter according to the threefold pattern of orientation, exploration, and implementation. In the concise 'Orientation' section, students are introduced to the literary genre, structure, and key themes of each book or letter. In the major 'Exploration' section, the authors provide a succinct, theologically informed commentary to aid students in their understanding, as they themselves read each section of the biblical text. In the concluding 'Implementation' section, students are encouraged to move from the biblical context to the present day, through applications that demand a response. Color-coded sidebars punctuate each section, inviting students to consider intriguing insights, questions, and observations stemming from five areas--'Historical Matters,' 'Literary Notes,' 'Theological Issues,' 'Canonical Connections,' and 'Reception History.' Each chapter ends with 'Christian Reading Questions' that summon further reflection, often in relation to other portions of Scripture or pieces of art inspired by Christian theology. The book is littered with full-color maps, diagrams, tables, and photographs and concludes with a glossary of key terms highlighted throughout. Precious few texts succeed where this one excels--winsomely equipping beginning students of the New Testament with enough resources to understand and respond to its message without burying them with information. It will quickly become a standard choice for both novice and veteran educators. I enthusiastically recommend it!"

Jonathan Lunde, professor of New Testament, Biola University

"For far too long students have been introduced to thoughtful engagement with the Bible through what is essentially an introduction to the discipline of biblical studies. I find that these introductions do a better job of training people to be professional biblical scholars than they do of helping them attend to the subject at hand--namely, God. This book is a welcome change. Campbell and Pennington foster the kind of engagement with the Scriptures that is so lacking today. Drawing on the resources of biblical studies, and integrating that with reception history and theology, this book encourages biblical engagement for the sake of becoming a faithful disciple of Jesus. I look forward to assigning the book and reaping the fruit of their labor. The book also helpfully attends to the fact that technology has radically changed the way students engage with the Bible (and all texts for that matter)--it is a thing to be searched with a search engine, mined for 'answers,' but not to be read in the purest sense of that word (as a transformative act). The introductory chapter alone is worth the purchase!"

Kelly D. Liebengood, professor of biblical studies and theology and dean, School of Theology and Vocation, LeTourneau University

"This is an excellent textbook. Campbell and Pennington offer students nuanced and reliable information about the historical background, reception history, canonical context, and more. Most importantly, the book begins each section of commentary with a reminder to read the biblical text. This book will help our students read and interpret well."

Madison N. Pierce, assistant professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"Drs. Campbell and Pennington have given us a fine introductory textbook that reads the New Testament from a distinctly Christian perspective. Their focus on the New Testament books as Christian Scripture shines through on page after page, expressed in their engaging and lucid writing. The 'Implementation' section and discussion questions for each New Testament book are excellent features, helping Christian readers reflect on how they engage with Scripture today. The sidebars on more detailed points are a mine of useful information, and the chapters are well illustrated with maps, art, and architecture. This is a lovely book that will serve beginning readers of the New Testament very well."

Steve Walton, associate research fellow and tutor in New Testament, Trinity College, Bristol

"Those of us who teach Bible survey courses often lament the lack of Old and New Testament introductions that teach students how to read the text rather than simply learn about the text's origins and themes. Constantine Campbell and Jonathan Pennington have produced a New Testament introduction that is at once informative about basic background issues and at the same time a hermeneutical, theological, and canonical primer on how to read Holy Scripture as a Christian. This should be used in every classroom."

Matthew Y. Emerson, professor of religion, director of the MACS and MAIS programs, and dean, Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry, Oklahoma Baptist University

"The genre of New Testament introduction has been remarkably stable for some time and, because of the influence of traditional historical criticism, often focuses on the historical origins of the text--a kind of textual archaeology. While Campbell and Pennington are well aware of the value of introducing the origins of the New Testament texts, their work intentionally focuses on reading the New Testament as Christian Scripture. That is, they introduce modern readers to the subject matter to which the New Testament testifies--namely, the ultimate revelation of God in Jesus Christ. Campbell and Pennington address student-disciples on their journey of transformation by means of the canonical text of the New Testament. Student-disciples and professor-pastors should take up this introduction with confidence, because it not only gives instruction on what the New Testament is, but more, it illuminates what God does in and through the witness of the New Testament in the lives of faithful readers. Highly recommended."

Darian Lockett, professor of New Testament, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University

"Campbell and Pennington have gifted both the church and the academy with a text that deftly combines the literary, canonical, and theological sensibilities required to understand the New Testament's message both in its own context and in our world today. I cannot wait to introduce this valuable resource to students."

Brandon D. Smith, assistant professor of theology and New Testament, Cedarville University

"Eminently navigable and aesthetically pleasing, Reading the New Testament as Christian Scripture draws students into the central truths of the Christian faith. Campbell and Pennington come from a particular perspective on debatable topics, and so teachers will want to supplement to provide their students the full range of Christian perspectives, but in every instance the authors discuss such topics with clarity and grace. Therefore, I would be thrilled to offer this text to my New Testament students, both to include perspectives different from my own and, even more importantly, to show the even greater unity among scholars who consider the New Testament as Scripture."

Amy Peeler, associate professor of New Testament, Wheaton College

The Authors

  1. Constantine R. Campbell
    George Tsotsos

    Constantine R. Campbell

    Constantine R. Campbell (PhD, Macquarie University) is professor and research director at the Sydney College of Divinity in Sydney, Australia. He previously taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Moore Theological College. He is the author or...

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  2. Jonathan T. Pennington
    Freddy Sinarahua

    Jonathan T. Pennington

    Jonathan T. Pennington (PhD, University of St. Andrews), a popular speaker, teacher, and preacher, is associate professor of New Testament interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also on staff as a preaching pastor at Sojourn...

    Continue reading about Jonathan T. Pennington