The New Testament-Its Background and Message

by Glen H. Jones

 

This conservative volume is an excellent handbook for an introductory course in the New Testament, or equally good as a reference tool for pastors and other Bible teachers. The authors have given us brief introductions to the religious, political, historical, and social backgrounds that have a bearing on understanding New Testament times.

The political section of the book enlightens "the fulness of the time" concept that rendered the world receptive to the gospel. Greek political hegemony had long passed from the scene but had left its lasting social influence through universal use of the Greek language. Roman military might made travel fairly safe through the empire, thus aiding the spread of the gospel message. Pagan Rome generally allowed the colonies to practice their native religions. 

The social section of the book discusses everyday life in New Testament times. Lea and Black discuss home construction, food, social classes, transportation, and occupations. In the religious section the authors give us insight into pagan religions as well as Jewish religious parties and practices of the day.

In the commentary section we have the life of Jesus with discussions on the so-called synoptic problem. Book outlines for the four Gospels are combined to give a fuller view of the life of Jesus Christ. The chapters on the life of Christ are most exhaustive and complete. Each of the other New Testament books has separate outlines. Applicable black and white maps provide a sense of geography to the section being discussed.

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