Order of Contents
New Testament Authenticity 13
New Testament Survey & Introduction
. Simpler 5
. Intermediate 9+
. Advanced 3
New Testament Background
. Modern Sources 4
. Ancient Sources 7
The Epistles: Background & Introduction 1
. The Pauline Epistles 4
. The General Epistles 3
. The Letters of John 1
Special Issues 2
. The Synoptic Question 14
. Aramaic Background 1
New Testament Authenticity
Haldane, Robert – ‘The Genuineness and Authenticity of the Holy Scriptures: the New Testament’ 1830 32 pp. being ch. 1 of The Books of the Old and New Testaments Proved to be Canonical, and their Verbal Inspiration Maintained and Established; with an Account of the Introduction and Character of the Apocrypha
Tenney, Merrill C. – Reversals of New Testament Criticism 1958 14 pp. in Revelation and the Bible. Contemporary Evangelical Thought, ed. Carl Henry
Linnemann, Eta – Biblical Criticism on Trial: How Scientific is ‘Scientific Theology’? Buy 1990 213 pp.
N.T. Survey & Introduction: Simpler
Schaff, Philip & Matthew Riddle – ‘General Introduction to the New Testament’ 1879 10 pp. in A Popular Commentary on the New Testament
Kerr, John – An Introduction to the Study of the Books of the New Testament 1892 366 pp. with an Introduction by B.B. Warfield. The work covers General Introduction on the N.T. and Special Introduction to each of the N.T. books
Machen (d. 1937) was the principal founder of Westminster Seminary and of what is no the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
“The writing of John Gresham Machen as characterized by clarity of thought, depth of scholarship, and an evident passion for the message of the Bible… In plain yet graphic fashion, the New Testament is here introduced without its message being relegated to a position of secondary importance. The groundwork of history and geography, biography and interpretation, is covered thoroughly, and yet in a manner uncluttered by references to innumerable scholars, and in a warmly vibrant style… This is a popular work in the best sense…” – Banner of Truth
Strong, Augustus H. – Popular Lectures on the Books of the New Testament 1914 398 pp.
“This book… is a… report of lectures delivered to a large Sunday-school class, which at times numbered as many as three hundred. This fact will explain the familiar and even colloquial style of address. While the problems of history and exegesis were discussed, the lectures were intended to be popular, in the sense of being intelligible to all. It is hoped that this has not prevented them from being fairly representative of the results of modern scholarship.” – Preface
Berkhof, Louis – New Testament Introduction Re-typset PDF, 1944 225 pp.
A handy conservative reference for background info on each book of the NT.
N.T. Survey & Introduction: Intermediate Level
Fairbairn, Patrick – Hermeneutical Manual, or [General] Introduction to the Exegetical Study of the New Testament 1858 480 pp.
Fairbairn was a professor in the Free Church of Scotland.
Salmon, George – A Historical Introduction to the Study of the Books of the New Testament, being an Expansion of Lectures 1886 670 pp.
Salmon (1819–1904) was an Irish mathematician and Anglican scholar.
Wikipedia: This work “…was widely read, is an account of the reception and interpretation of the gospels in the early centuries of Christianity as seen through the writings of leaders such as Irenaeus and Eusebius.”
John Broadus said that his “…views as to the origin and authority of this Gospel [of Matthew] would be substantially the same as may be found in Salmon’s Introduction to the New Testament; Hovey’s General Introduction.”
Harrison, Everett – Introduction to the New Testament Buy 1971
“For a scholarly level, see the generally reliable works of… Everett F. Harrison, Introduction to the New Testament…“ – Joel Beeke
Tenney, Merrill C.
New Testament Survey Buy rev. 1985 445 pp.
Tenney (d. 1985) was a professor at Wheaton College, IL.
“Written in a clear, non-technical style, New Testament Survey is an analytic and historical survey which sets forth the message of the New Testament against a fully integrated picture of the world of the first century.” – The book-flap
“A most useful survey of the whole New Testament field… a really valuable piece of work.” – F.F. Bruce
New Testament Times Buy 1st ed. 1965 380 pp.
“The revelation of God in the New Testament was imparted through men who lived in a definite locale of time and space, and who spoke in the imagery and circumstances of their own era. While the truth and application of the message are unquestionably eternal and unchanging, the correct interpretation depends largely upon a proper comprehension of its historical setting… This book is not intended primarily to deal with the literary or theological content of the New Testament (for which see the author’s New Testament Survey), but to provide a better background for correlating its historical allusions, and thus facilitating its interpretation.” – Preface
Robinson, John A.T.
Redating the New Testament Buy 2000 384 pp.
Conservative N.T. scholars used to believe that the synoptic Gospels (Mt, Mk, Lk) and many or most of the epistles were written in the 40’s, 50’s, or at the latest the 60’s A.D, exactly when one would expect them to be written if they were true, first-hand accounts that were written shortly after those events occurred, given normal historical forces relating to the desire to preserve their important witness to the Gospel, before the emerging Church.
Liberalism, however, during the mid-to late 1800’s, continuing dominant into the 1900’s, pushed these dates later past A.D. 70 (when the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed) into the 80’s, 90’s and sometimes the mid-2nd century, thus making these documents less closely tied to the events they describe, and hence less reliable. Evangelicals in the 1900’s, sadly but predictably, followed liberal scholarship so that such late dates for the writings of the New Testament are now the established norm of mainstream evangelical scholarship.
John A. T. Robinson, who was an Anglican bishop and fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and a theological modernist (paradoxically), here makes the fullest contemporary case for the early (conservative) dating of the N.T. documents.
C. H. Dodd, in a letter to Robinson, wrote, “I should agree with you that much of the late dating is quite arbitrary, even wanton[;] the offspring not of any argument that can be presented, but rather of the critic’s prejudice that, if he appears to assent to the traditional position of the early church, he will be thought no better than a stick-in-the-mud.”
Robinson’s main, over arching argument, is that the documents show a detailed acquaintance with the specifics of the Temple as it stood, they predicted its fall, and there is no indication in their writings that the Temple was then destroyed or of a time when it was not present (such as after AD 70). To see how weak the arguments are for a late dating of Matthew, see pp. 31-32 of this excerpt of Kruger’s Introduction (referenced below).
The Priority of John Buy 1987
“In The Priority of John, Robinson furthered the argument put forward in Redating the New Testament that all the books were written before 70 AD, by focusing on the book that is placed early least often. He also wanted to prove that John is independent of the Synoptics and better than them at describing the length and time period of Jesus’ ministry, Palestinian geography, and the cultural milieu of the early first century there.” – Wikipedia
Carson, D.A. & Moo, Douglas – An Introduction to the New Testament Buy 2nd ed. 2005 760 pp.
Carson is a professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois. Moo is a professor of New Testament at Wheaton College.
This work “focuses on ‘special introduction’, that is, historical questions dealing with authorship, date, sources, purpose, audience, and so forth… For each New Testament document, the authors also provide a substantial summary of that book’s content, discuss the book’s theological contribution to the overall canon, and give an account of current studies on that book, including recent literary and social-science approaches to interpretation.” – The book-flap
“For a scholarly level, see the generally reliable works of… D.A. Carson, Douglas J. Moo, and Leon Morris, An Introduction to the New Testament…“ – Joel Beeke
Wallace, Daniel – New Testament: Introductions and Outlines 2009
Wallace is a professor of New Testament and is known for his outstanding intermediate-level grammar on the Greek of the New Testament.
This volume, done by a number of Reformed Theological Seminary professors, is an attempt to do New Testament Introduction through the lens of Biblical Theology. That is, they answer the regular questions on each book of who, what, when, where & why, while giving a Biblical theology on each book of the N.T.
The work is done well, and it is reformed and conservative in outlook (see a review here and the Preview linked above), though do note that Biblical Theology is much more expansive than simply Biblical theologies of each book of the Bible, and hence this volume by no means exhausts its subject.
N.T. Survey & Introduction: Advanced
Zahn, Theodore – Introduction to the New Testament 2nd ed. rev. 1917 3 vols. in 1, 1,752 pp.
This is one of the major, older, conservative, advanced New Testament Introductions. Zahn (1838–1933) was a German, Lutheran scholar.
“For a scholarly level, see the generally reliable works of Theodore Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament…” – Joel Beeke
Moffatt, James – An Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament 1st ed. 1911
Moffatt was a liberal, yet the work has value.
“Since this manual is designed primarily for the use of students, most of whom need to be reminded that if the first commandment of research is, ‘Thou shalt work at the sources,’ the second is, ‘Thou shalt acquaint thyself with work done before thee and beside thee,’ I have agreed to notice, as far as the limits of my space and knowledge permit, the view of scholars who for various reasons are led to occupy positions which differ from those adopted in the following pages.” – Preface
Guthrie, Donald – New Testament Introduction Buy 3rd ed. one vol. rev. 1970 1,032 pp.
This is the standard, modern, mostly conservative, advanced, New Testament Introduction.
“For a scholarly level, see the generally reliable works of… Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction…“ – Joel Beeke
New Testament Background: Modern Sources
See also ‘Historical Background’ on our page: The Inter-Testamental Period
‘The Preparation for the Gospel: the Jewish World in the Days of Christ’ being Book 1, chs. 1-8 of The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, vol. 1 1883
Edersheim was raised in Orthodox Judaism and became a Christian partially through the influence of ‘Rabbi’ John Duncan. He entered the minister in the Free Church of Scotland. Later he transferred into the Church of England and was a renowned scholar on 1st century studies. The rest of the book gives much historical and cultural background on the Gospels as well.
Alexander was the first professor of old Princeton Seminary. This work is an expansion of his earlier work: Annals of the Jewish Nation During the Period of the Second Temple 1832 chs. 31-37
Schurer, Emil – A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ, vol. 1 (Political History, 175 – 4 BC), 2 (4 BC – 135 AD), 3 (Culture, Constitution, Priesthood, Scribism), 4 (Pharisees & Sadducees, School & Synagogue, Life under thee Law, The Messianic Hope, Essenes, Dispersion & Proselytes), 5 (Palestinian Literature, Hellenistic Literature, Philo), Index 1891
N.T. Background – Ancient Sources
See also ‘Inter-Testamental Primary Sources’ on our page: The Inter-Testamental Period
Wars of the Jews 265 pp. Trans. William Whiston Books 2-7 cover the N.T. period
Josephus (37-100), the 1st century Jewish historian gives his account of of Jewish history from the mid-2nd century B.C. till the destruction of the Second Temple in A.D. 70.
Reading his account is like reading the newspapers of his own day. It sheds much light upon Matt 24, Jesus’ prophesy of the destruction of the temple, and numerous other historical aspects of the New Testament, especially biographical material about Herod the Great and background and contemporary events to the other Jewish and Roman rulers.
Books 17-20 of The Antiquities of the Jews 104 pp. Trans. William Whiston
Philo (25 BC – 50 AD) was an Alexandrian, Egyptian Jewish theologian who was a contemporary of Jesus, who largely represented the thought of Hellenistic Judaism, which had developed outside the land of Israel since the Dispersion.
ed. Vermes, Geza – The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English Buy
See the Dead Sea Scrolls at Wikipedia for background info.
The helpfulness of the Dead Sea Scrolls to understanding the setting of the N.T. is very limited and is tangential, because the group that this literature derived from was essentially a fringe, monastic Jewish, prophetic, cult that remained deliberately secluded from the rest of Judaism and their distinctives were shared very little, if at all, with the rest of the Jewish people.
The closest group they had some superficial resemblance to was the Essenes, though they were very distinct from them as well. John the Baptist’s character and mission emphatically was not that of the Essenes or the Dead Sea group, and was contrary to the distinctives of those groups.
Suetonius – Lives of the Twelve Caesars, and Lives of the Grammarians, Rhetoricians and Poets 570 pp. in Bohn’s Classical Library
Suetonius (AD 69-122) gives biographies of the 12 Roman Caesars, ranging roughly from 100 BC to 96 AD.
Tacitus (56-120) gives the history from AD 14-68.
The Histories 550 pp.
The surviving portion of this work focuses upon the Jewish War during AD 68-69 and the destruction of the Jewish Temple, as Jesus predicted in Matt 24.
Background to the Epistles
Background & Introduction to the Pauline Epistles
See also ‘The Life and Letters of Paul’
“Old, but full of valuable information.” – Cyril J. Barber
Stevens, George Barker – The Messages of Paul: Arranged in Historical Order, Analyzed and Freely Rendered in Paraphrase with Introductions 1900 290 pp.
Stevens was a professor at Yale University.
“An able evaluation of the setting, content, and structure of Paul’s discourses.”. – Cyril J. Barber
Findlay, George – The Epistles of Paul the Apostle: a Sketch of their Origin and Contents n.d. 305 pp.
“A brief introduction and outline of the Pauline epistles.” – Cyril J. Barber
Hiebert, David Edmond – An Introduction to the Pauline Epistles Buy 1973
“Among the best introductory studies available. Thoroughly conservative, fully abreast of the latest advances in scholarship, and contains comprehensive outlines based upon an analysis of the Greek text.” – Cyril J. Barber
Background and Introduction to the General Epistles
Gloag, Paton – Introduction to the Catholic Epistles 1887 455 pp.
“A detailed introductory work which contains a series of informative essays on such topics as ‘the anointing of the sick’, ‘Pauline and Jacobean views of justification’, ‘Peter’s residence in Rome’, ‘Petrine theology’, and a very scholarly treatment of the ‘Relation Between II Peter and Jude’.” – Cyril J. Barber
Ebrard, John – Appendix on the Catholic Epistles 1860 7 pp.
Ebrard discusses the historical question of what the label ‘catholic’ originally meant in relation to these epistles.
Hiebert, David – Introduction to the Non-Pauline Epistles and Revelation Buy 1962
Hiebert was Premillinnial.
“A lucid, accurate and reliable introduction to the background, and content of the General Epistles.” – Cyril J. Barber
Background & Introduction to the Letters of John
Gloag, Patton – Introduction to the Johannine Writings 1891 465 pp.
“A scholarly introduction which may profitably be consulted even by those who have access to the more recent works by Guthrie and Harrison.” – Cyril J. Barber
See also Archaeology on the Whole Bible
F.F. Bruce – Archaeological Confirmation of the New Testament 1959 13 pp.
Unger, Merrill – Archaeology and the New Testament Buy updated 1975
Unger was a professor of Old Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary.
The Synoptic Question
The Synoptic Question tries to resolve the authorial order and development of Matthew, Mark and Luke, in explaining how and why they share much of the same information (verbatim sometimes) in common.
Aramaic Background to the Gospels
Dalman, Gustaf – The Words of Jesus Considered in the Light of post-Biblical Jewish Writings and the Aramaic Language Buy 1902 374 pp. Reprinted by Klock & Klock