Over the last year or more, I have been involved in a number of publishing projects, including several academic articles (as chapters in books), and a volume on Christianity in the second century. But, I am particularly excited about the forthcoming volume I am editing entitled, A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament (Crossway, 2016).
This introduction has multiple contributors, all of which are current or past professors at Reformed Theological Seminary. The NT volume (along with an OT counterpart) are being written in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of RTS coming up in 2016.
I am blessed to have such a fine collection of scholars in this volume, including Guy Prentiss Waters, Simon Kistemaker, Chuck Hill, Reggie Kidd, Robert Cara, Bruce Lowe, William Barcley, and Ben Gladd. The multi-authored nature of the introduction allows each of them to work in their areas of specialty.
Needless to say, there have been many New Testament introductions prior to this one—from Theodor Zahn’s massive two-volume Einleitung in das Neue Testament (Leipzig, 1897) to D.A. Carson’s and Douglas Moo’s very popular An Introduction to the New Testament (Zondervan, 2005). So, one may wonder whether we really need another one. What is distinctive about this particular volume?
In many ways, of course, this new volume is not distinctive. Like many of the volumes that have come before, it is designed to accomplish the same basic task, namely to introduce the reader to the major historical, exegetical, and theological issues within each of the 27 books.
In other ways, however, this volume is distinctive. One example is the way we have tried to make this volume more accessible to the pastor or even the layman who teaches the Bible in their local church. Generally speaking, New Testament introductions have tended to focus primarily on historical-critical issues related to the background of each of the 27 books. While many introductions spend considerable time engaging in highly technical discussions about dating, authorship, textual history, they often devote comparably little space to the theological, doctrinal and practical aspects of these books.
However, for the average Bible study leader or local pastor, such discussions are not always their primary need as they prepare their lesson or sermon. Sure, they need to be introduced to the major background issues, but not in such a way that they get mired down in overly technical discussions. For these reasons, this volume has attempted to make the discussion of background issues more streamlined and more accessible.
As a result, this introduction is able to spend more time on the theological message of each book. Because it is designed primarily to help pastors and Bible study leaders prepare their sermon or lesson, a higher priority is placed on exploring the message of each New Testament book. It is this priority that has led to the title, A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament.
But, this volume is not only committed to exploring the theological message of individual New Testament books. It is also committed to placing the message of each book within God’s unfolding redemptive plan. The goal is more than extracting timeless truths from these books. We also want to discover how these books functioned within the timeline of the larger canonical story—how an author’s message contributes to our overall understanding of the work of Christ.
On top of all this, a noteworthy feature of the volume is that all the authors come from a consistently Reformed perspective. Not only does that mean they hold a high view of Scripture, but it affects the way they handle a number of key theological themes from ecclesiology to soteriology to eschatology.
There is more that could be said, but that is sufficient for now. Here is the NT Intro Cover, which I think looks great. Release date is May 31, 2016.