Anatomy of the New Testament

This introduction to the New Testament is different from most others in that it gives greater emphasis than usual to the actual contents of the various books of the New Testament. Discussion of issues such as authorship, date, place of origin, addressees, occasion and purpose are kept to a minimum, and the bulk of the work is devoted to summaries of each book, with special attention being given to the exegesis of selected passages.

The book is well formatted, with clear headings, boxed texts (to explain points of particular importance or interest), highlighted key words, suggestions for further reading, a glossary, and indexes covering subjects and scripture references. The book is also illustrated with photographs, diagrams and maps. Moreover many of the passages treated are clearly and helpfully explained.

On the negative side, the book is clearly aimed at an American readership, and the references to American history and geography may not be so helpful to British readers. Some of the exegetical sections will, I suspect, be regarded as too superficial, and the choice of passages selected for more detailed comment arbitrary. Above all, MET readers will probably find the book too liberal in its theological outlook. The authors explicitly differentiate themselves from ‘modern evangelicals’, locate divine revelation in the events of redemptive history rather than also, and equally, in the biblical interpretation of those events, and betray an unnecessary scepticism concerning the historical reliability and doctrinal coherence of the New Testament as a whole.

In summary, this book has some value, but MET members looking for an introduction to the New Testament would probably be better served by other books, such as D.A. Carson, D.J. Moo, and L. Morris’ An Introduction to the New Testament (Leicester: Apollos, 1992) or R.H. Gundry’s A Survey of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 20034).