New Testament introduction aims to inform and engage

By Jason Hall

Two Southeastern New Testament professors, along with a colleague from a Baptist college, have written a book that aims to introduce pastors and students to the world of New Testament scholarship while also nurturing their faith.
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Southeastern scholars Andreas Köstenberger and Scott Kellum, along with Charles Quarles from Louisiana College, have written The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament. It was published by B & H.

New Testament introductory texts are commonplace in seminary classrooms. Köstenberger said that while this book fulfills all of the functions of a classic New Testament introduction, it goes beyond those functions in two ways.

“In teaching New Testament survey courses for many years, we have found that New Testament intros are often rather dry and academic,” said Köstenberger, professor of New Testament and Greek and director of Southeastern’s Ph.D. program. “We wanted to create a classroom text that is more engaging and spiritually nurturing, without sacrificing academic excellence. For this reason we also included devotionals for each of the 27 New Testament books.”

Kösteberger said that while most New Testaments introductions focus only on questions of authorship, dating, and so forth, The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown goes beyond those matters to discuss literary and theological themes as well. Kellum, associate professor of New Testament and Greek, noted that the book also contains valuable information about discussions of the Second Temple Period, the nature and scope of Scripture, the unity and diversity of the New Testament and more. These sections do not appear in other conservative New Testament textbooks.

“Since the book has these offerings the student has to buy only one resource to cover the basics of New Testament intro,” Kellum said. “It will be cheaper on him or her in the long run.”

Köstoeberger said that while the authors hope the book will be used in college and seminary classrooms, they also hope it will be a tool for pastors and other students of Scripture in the church.

“Ideally, the book will be used in conjunction with Scripture and a good study Bible and an Old Testament intro,” Köstenberger said. “In a day when biblical illiteracy is on the rise, a tool such as this can impart to readers the important core knowledge about the Bible that is essential if we want to live in keeping with God’s Word.”

The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown is available now from bookstores and online retailers.

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