An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods, and Ministry Formation (Second Edition)
By David A. deSilva
Reviewed by Clint Walker
There are a lot of New Testament textbooks out there. Some are more entry level in nature. Some are more academic. None is as good as deSilva's Introduction to the New Testament at both equipping ministers to understand and live in the word, as well as training students of the word to be academically engaged in understanding key issues of biblical scholarship. As deSilva says in his introduction that he "seeks to nurture this kind of integrated approach to Scripture, attend both the methods and results of the academic, critical study of the New Testament and to the ways in which these text continue to speak a word from the Lord about discipleship, community, and ministry" (xx).
Throughout the text, deSilva endeavors to teach the content of the material, while at the same time introducte exegetical methods to the reader. For instance, in Luke attention is paid to interpreting parables, and in John the reader is introduced to narrative criticism.
Each study of each Biblical book ends with a way of taking a theme from the book that has been introduced in the rest of the chapter, and relating it to ministry formation. Sometimes readers are challenged to lead themselves and congregations with integrity. Other times it reminds us that the gospel has a "communal context" that we should pay attention to (337).
In my opinion, this book would be great for academic classrooms in college and seminary, but it would also be helpful for pastors leading a church. For some of us, there is material that is review. However, I think the author does a good job at making the readers experience both formational and informational.