The best New Testament books

3 authors have picked their favorite books about New Testament and why they recommend each book.

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The First Edition of the New Testament

By David Trobisch,

Book cover of The First Edition of the New Testament

Trobisch is a highly respected Net Testament scholar, and his insights are on full display in this short, but important, work. The exact origins of the New Testament have long been shrouded in mystery. Many people think of the New Testament as a collection of independent writings. Here Trobisch provides an important framework for understanding the New Testament as a whole. He reveals many important clues about who, when, how, and why the first edition of the New Testament was created. Trobisch shows the overall unity of the editorial features of the New Testament.


Who am I?

I have been fascinated by the Bible since my earliest days in Sunday school, coloring pictures of Noah’s Ark. Yet, even as a young child I was very skeptical of the Christian interpretation of biblical stories, seeing that they couldn’t possibly be true. But I’ve always respected the Bible as a literary work and sought to understand its details. In my years of researching the Bible and Christian origins, several works stand out as being particularly important in shaping my understanding of Judaism and Christianity. These are those books.


I wrote...

Deciphering the Gospels: Proves Jesus Never Existed

By R.G. Price,

Book cover of Deciphering the Gospels: Proves Jesus Never Existed

What is my book about?

The Christian Bible is one of the most fascinating and important literary creations ever produced. Like many ancient works, the Bible is filled with literary puzzles, secret codes, hidden references, and masked allegory. Deciphering the Gospels examines many aspects of the Gospel of Mark to show that the story is a fictional allegory, based not on the life of Jesus, but rather on the life of Paul. It goes on to show how understanding the fictional scenes in the Gospel of Mark changes our understanding of everything we think we know about Jesus.

Nelson's Bible Encyclopedia for the Family

By Arthur Cundall, Rosemary Mellor, Arthur Rowe, Frederick Fyvie Bruce

Book cover of Nelson's Bible Encyclopedia for the Family: A Comprehensive Guide to the World of the Bible

As its title implies, this book is accessible to the entire family and would be a great resource for Sunday school teachers who want to provide their students with a larger understanding of the life and times of peoples in ancient Palestine and Rome. The book is broken down into easy-to-find categories such as "The Home," "Warfare," and "Travel and Communication," to name a few. There are stunning photographs on every page with detailed and clear explanations. The back of the book has timelines of the Bible and a map of Palestine in New Testament times with highlights of key events in the New Testament. There is also an alphabetical index that makes it easy to find information on specific topics.


Who am I?

I have been an avid reader of historical fiction since I was very young, and I love learning about the life and times of different periods of history. One might describe me as a "research junkie." My desire to know more about the everyday lives of my historical characters has taken me on many wonderful adventures, and my personal library is full of books I use for research. I write fiction, creative nonfiction, and novels. I am currently completing a new novel about a family of downwinders, people who contracted cancer from government-sanctioned radioactive fallout from the atomic bomb tests in Nevada during the 1950s and 1960s.


I wrote...

Blood of a Stone

By Jeanne Lyet Gassman,

Book cover of Blood of a Stone

What is my book about?

Set in first-century Palestine on the fringes of the Roman Empire and the Jesus movement, Blood of a Stone is a sweeping story of murder, betrayal, love, and the search for redemption. Faced with the brutality of slavery, Demetrios murders his abusive Roman master and flees to Galilee to create a new life and a new identity.

However, freedom has its price. Secrets cannot remain secret forever. When Demetrios is betrayed by a close friend, he risks everything to silence those who would enslave him again. His quest leads him to startling discoveries and dire choices, and Demetrios must answer the question we all face: Can we ever be free of our past?

Mark Canonizer of Paul

By Tom Dykstra,

Book cover of Mark Canonizer of Paul: A New Look at Intertextuality in Mark's Gospel

In this book Tom Dykstra provides an extensive background into the scholarship of the Gospel of Mark, explaining how so many people have misunderstood the work for so long and why other interpretations of the Gospel were sidelined. While my book reaches many similar conclusions to Dykstra’s regarding the relationship between the Pauline letters and Gospel of Mark, our approaches are very different and Dykstra provides important scholarly context.  


Who am I?

I have been fascinated by the Bible since my earliest days in Sunday school, coloring pictures of Noah’s Ark. Yet, even as a young child I was very skeptical of the Christian interpretation of biblical stories, seeing that they couldn’t possibly be true. But I’ve always respected the Bible as a literary work and sought to understand its details. In my years of researching the Bible and Christian origins, several works stand out as being particularly important in shaping my understanding of Judaism and Christianity. These are those books.


I wrote...

Deciphering the Gospels: Proves Jesus Never Existed

By R.G. Price,

Book cover of Deciphering the Gospels: Proves Jesus Never Existed

What is my book about?

The Christian Bible is one of the most fascinating and important literary creations ever produced. Like many ancient works, the Bible is filled with literary puzzles, secret codes, hidden references, and masked allegory. Deciphering the Gospels examines many aspects of the Gospel of Mark to show that the story is a fictional allegory, based not on the life of Jesus, but rather on the life of Paul. It goes on to show how understanding the fictional scenes in the Gospel of Mark changes our understanding of everything we think we know about Jesus.

The Liars' Gospel

By Naomi Alderman,

Book cover of The Liars' Gospel

Naomi was raised as an Orthodox Jew. I can’t remember whether she told me herself, or I read it somewhere, but she once said that she struggled to see how people who weren’t steeped in the Judaic tradition could even understand the Christian Bible. There is something in this: The ‘New Testament’ rests upon and relies upon Judaism for all of its authority. And yet it is simultaneously incredibly antisemitic. It’s a paradox that Christian scholars and theologians have struggled with for millennia, frequently with devastating and bloody consequences. I read The Liars’ Gospel as Naomi’s quite beautiful attempt to examine and unravel this paradox.


Who am I?

I’m the author of five extremely different novels: Boy A (which was made into an award-winning film), Cham, Genus, The Tongues of Men or Angels, and Under Country. They share almost nothing in subject or setting. Ranging from first-century Judaea to a future London. From ski resort workers in France to young offender prisons in Britain. My latest work - Under Country - is about the 1984 Miners’ Strike and its still lingering scars in the North East pit villages. Yet, I suppose, if there were a unifying theme between them, it would be that each, in its own way, is influenced by and fascinated with Christianity.


I wrote...

The Tongues of Men or Angels

By Jonathan Trigell,

Book cover of The Tongues of Men or Angels

What is my book about?

The Tongues of Men or Angels was my first ever hardback and the hardest book I’ve ever written. The research alone almost killed me, quite literally a couple of times in the Middle East. But in some ways, it is the novel that I’m most proud of, because it is my own committed ‘truth’ about the birth of a religion. The Mail on Sunday put it better than I could:

“This daring novel tells the story of Jesus and his followers in the years leading up to and following the Crucifixion. Trigell's interpretation of the origins of Christianity, particularly the factional struggle between the disciple Cephas (Peter) and the convert Saul (Paul), will spark controversy, but there's no denying the raw power of the writing.”

The New Testament in Its World

By N. T. Wright, Michael F. Bird,

Book cover of The New Testament in Its World: An Introduction to the History, Literature, and Theology of the First Christians

A one-stop shopping introductory textbook that covers every angle. I use it for MA students who can only take one semester of New Testament studies, but it is designed for upper-division undergraduates as well. This multi-color work is filled with stunning photography, helpful charts and diagrams, fascinating sidebars, goals for reading each chapter and questions for review. Oxford-based Wright may be the world’s leading New Testament scholar and Bird is a prolific Australian with a great sense of humor. Both are good friends and Christians with integrity.


Who am I?

I have just retired after teaching 35 years in the New Testament department at Denver Seminary. I have authored, co-authored, or co-edited thirty books related to New Testament studies and more than 150 peer-reviewed journal articles or chapters in multi-author books. I have learned that most of the reasons people don’t believe in part or all of the Bible is because they don’t understand it properly, so my passion is to try to rectify that. The New Testament changed my life for the better, as it has hundreds of millions of other people. I just want to help that number continue to grow.


I wrote...

Making Sense of the New Testament

By Craig L. Blomberg,

Book cover of Making Sense of the New Testament

What is my book about?

Can I believe the contents of the Christian New Testament or is it just religious fiction? A careful historical analysis yields a resounding affirmation of reliability. Wasn’t St. Paul rather than Jesus the real founder of the Christian religion? No, despite superficial differences, there is a lot in common between the teachings of these two men. If I do believe in the New Testament and want to apply it to my life, what do I do? Realize that it is made up of all kinds of overall genres and embedded literary and rhetorical forms. Each has some special keys to its interpretation and application. This book is short, to the point, has stayed in print, and has been translated widely.

Paul

By David Wenham,

Book cover of Paul: Follower of Jesus or Founder of Christianity?

Nothing has superseded this in the twenty-seven years since it was published. Wenham has spent his entire career returning again and again to the issue of Jesus and Paul, showing that despite many superficial differences, the core messages of these two crucial figures at the beginning of Christianity mesh well with each other. It contains discussions as well of all the places where Paul actually quotes or alludes to Jesus’ teaching, though many scholars have not always recognized these. Despite frequent claims to the contrary, Paul is most decidedly not the true founder of Christianity but a faithful follower of Jesus. Now retired, Wenham has been a great encouragement to me at key stages of my scholarly career.


Who am I?

I have just retired after teaching 35 years in the New Testament department at Denver Seminary. I have authored, co-authored, or co-edited thirty books related to New Testament studies and more than 150 peer-reviewed journal articles or chapters in multi-author books. I have learned that most of the reasons people don’t believe in part or all of the Bible is because they don’t understand it properly, so my passion is to try to rectify that. The New Testament changed my life for the better, as it has hundreds of millions of other people. I just want to help that number continue to grow.


I wrote...

Making Sense of the New Testament

By Craig L. Blomberg,

Book cover of Making Sense of the New Testament

What is my book about?

Can I believe the contents of the Christian New Testament or is it just religious fiction? A careful historical analysis yields a resounding affirmation of reliability. Wasn’t St. Paul rather than Jesus the real founder of the Christian religion? No, despite superficial differences, there is a lot in common between the teachings of these two men. If I do believe in the New Testament and want to apply it to my life, what do I do? Realize that it is made up of all kinds of overall genres and embedded literary and rhetorical forms. Each has some special keys to its interpretation and application. This book is short, to the point, has stayed in print, and has been translated widely.

Can We Trust the Gospels? Investigating the Reliability of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

By Mark D. Roberts,

Book cover of Can We Trust the Gospels? Investigating the Reliability of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

Written at a much more basic level than the first three books on my list, Roberts boils the issues down into easy-to-read, bite-size chunks that any thoughtful layperson can digest. After my own book on the historical reliability of the Gospels, it’s the next one I would hand to anyone ‘off the street’ and the first one I would give to someone ‘on the street’! Mark is an apologist with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, who has remained a person of impeccable integrity during their recent rough waters. While many writers tackle Matthew, Mark and Luke together, because they are more similar than different, Roberts includes John, who is more different than similar. A great read.


Who am I?

I have just retired after teaching 35 years in the New Testament department at Denver Seminary. I have authored, co-authored, or co-edited thirty books related to New Testament studies and more than 150 peer-reviewed journal articles or chapters in multi-author books. I have learned that most of the reasons people don’t believe in part or all of the Bible is because they don’t understand it properly, so my passion is to try to rectify that. The New Testament changed my life for the better, as it has hundreds of millions of other people. I just want to help that number continue to grow.


I wrote...

Making Sense of the New Testament

By Craig L. Blomberg,

Book cover of Making Sense of the New Testament

What is my book about?

Can I believe the contents of the Christian New Testament or is it just religious fiction? A careful historical analysis yields a resounding affirmation of reliability. Wasn’t St. Paul rather than Jesus the real founder of the Christian religion? No, despite superficial differences, there is a lot in common between the teachings of these two men. If I do believe in the New Testament and want to apply it to my life, what do I do? Realize that it is made up of all kinds of overall genres and embedded literary and rhetorical forms. Each has some special keys to its interpretation and application. This book is short, to the point, has stayed in print, and has been translated widely.

Taking the Guesswork Out of Applying the Bible

By Jack Kuhatschek,

Book cover of Taking the Guesswork Out of Applying the Bible

The most practical book I’ve ever encountered for applying the Old Testament in the New Testament age and for dealing with culturally foreign parts of the New Testament as well. Outlines a process for extracting timeless principles from culture-specific passages and then finding equally concrete contemporary applications, even if we might not literally ‘greet one another with a holy kiss’! Jack was an editor with three major Christian publishers, a personal encouragement when I was writing my commentary on 1 Corinthians and his approach was the most influential resource I had when I was writing on application for my co-authored Introduction to Biblical Interpretation.


Who am I?

I have just retired after teaching 35 years in the New Testament department at Denver Seminary. I have authored, co-authored, or co-edited thirty books related to New Testament studies and more than 150 peer-reviewed journal articles or chapters in multi-author books. I have learned that most of the reasons people don’t believe in part or all of the Bible is because they don’t understand it properly, so my passion is to try to rectify that. The New Testament changed my life for the better, as it has hundreds of millions of other people. I just want to help that number continue to grow.


I wrote...

Making Sense of the New Testament

By Craig L. Blomberg,

Book cover of Making Sense of the New Testament

What is my book about?

Can I believe the contents of the Christian New Testament or is it just religious fiction? A careful historical analysis yields a resounding affirmation of reliability. Wasn’t St. Paul rather than Jesus the real founder of the Christian religion? No, despite superficial differences, there is a lot in common between the teachings of these two men. If I do believe in the New Testament and want to apply it to my life, what do I do? Realize that it is made up of all kinds of overall genres and embedded literary and rhetorical forms. Each has some special keys to its interpretation and application. This book is short, to the point, has stayed in print, and has been translated widely.

The Book of Revelation (New International Greek Testament Commentary)

By G. K. Beale,

Book cover of The Book of Revelation (New International Greek Testament Commentary)

G. K. Beale, now at Reformed Theological Seminary in Dallas, TX, is probably the premier authority on the book of Revelation. His massive The Book of Revelation (NIGTC) is over 1100 pages long and, I believe, is without question the most scholarly and detailed treatment of Revelation currently available. Anyone who is seriously interested in the book of Revelation needs to interact with this book. Beale’s treatment of Revelation is enhanced by his deep understanding of the Old Testament (he is co-editor, with D. A. Carson, of Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament). In short, serious students of Revelation should get this book. Its depth of detail will be worth it and will lead the reader to see biblical connections not previously imagined. 


Who am I?

I am the director of Equipping Church Leaders-East Africa. East African church leaders (and most Christians everywhere) are interested in eschatology (the study of the “last things”). I have been fascinated by this subject for decades, particularly since I attended a church that took eschatology seriously. After a time, however, I realized that something was amiss in that pastor’s understanding of eschatology. That motivated me to study eschatology on my own and begin compiling an extensive library on the subject. While pursuing my M.Div. at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, I wrote two major papers on the subject and now have written the most comprehensive synthesis on biblical eschatology currently available.


I wrote...

Biblical Eschatology, Second Edition

By Jonathan Menn,

Book cover of Biblical Eschatology, Second Edition

What is my book about?

Biblical Eschatology, 2nd ed. provides what is not found in any other single volume on eschatology: it analyzes all major eschatological passages (including the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation), issues (including the second coming of Christ, the millennium, the rapture, and Antichrist), and positions (including all the major views of the millennium) in a clear, but not superficial, way. The book concludes with a chapter showing how eschatology is relevant for our lives. Clarity and understanding are enhanced by multiple comparative tables and appendices. Subject and Scripture indexes are included. The book interacts with the best of Evangelical and Reformed scholarship. The extensive bibliography provides an excellent source for the reader's further study.

Jesus and the Eyewitnesses

By Richard Bauckham,

Book cover of Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony

Bauckham is a world-leading Biblical scholar who shows in this ground-breaking book how direct eye-witness testimony underlies what we read about Jesus in the gospels, which should therefore be treated with the utmost seriousness. Particularly significant for Bauckham is the witness of the early second-century writer Papias, who had known and interacted with persons very close to the gospel events in his youth and explains how and by whom the gospels were put together. Eyewitness testimony is fundamental to forming our beliefs and can make the seemingly incredible totally credible. Bauckham draws a startling comparison with the Holocaust. We are convinced it happened only because we have eyewitness reports. Likewise with the resurrection of Jesus.


Who am I?

I believe that the most important questions one can possibly ask are, ‘Is there a God?’ and ‘Is Jesus God in human flesh?’ Since becoming a Christian at University in Cambridge the answers I have found to these questions have been the bedrock of my life. They have been confirmed by experience and I have wanted to share them. My academic work has been devoted to them. I am an astrophysicist as well as a priest and find, contrary to popular conceptions, that these vocations fit wonderfully neatly together. I am persuaded that there is a wealth of evidence for the truth of Christian beliefs, including from science itself.


I wrote...

Ramified Natural Theology in Science and Religion: Moving Forward from Natural Theology

By Rodney Holder,

Book cover of Ramified Natural Theology in Science and Religion: Moving Forward from Natural Theology

What is my book about?

Natural theology is about arguments for the existence of God. Certain features of the universe are much more likely to be present if there is a God than if not, and that fact enhances the probability that God exists. Ramified natural theology uses a similar form of argumentation for the specific claims of Christianity, e.g. that Jesus rose from the dead and is God in human flesh. The historical evidence for the life, death and resurrection is extremely powerful and we are much more likely to have it if Jesus is God incarnate than if not, and that enhances the probability that Jesus is indeed God incarnate. With reasonable assumptions, putting the two together makes it overwhelmingly likely that God became flesh in Jesus.

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