An Introduction to the New Testament (2nd ed.)—David A. deSilva

An Introduction to the New Testament (2nd ed.)—David A. deSilva January 14, 2021

deSilva, David A. An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods, & Ministry Formation, 2nd Ed. (InterVarsity Press Academic, 2018). 896 Pages; List Price, $65.00. 

Book Description: Many introductions zero in on the historical contexts in which the New Testament literature was written. This introduction goes further—to give particular attention to the social, cultural, and rhetorical contexts of the New Testament authors and their writings.

Few introductions to the New Testament integrate instruction in exegetical and interpretive strategies with the customary considerations of authorship, dating, audience, and message. This introduction capitalizes on the opportunity, introducing students to a relevant facet of interpretation with each portion of New Testament literature.

Rarely do introductions to the New Testament approach their task mindful of students preparing for ministry. This introduction is explicit in doing so, recognizing as it does that the New Testament itself—in its parts and as a whole—is a pastoral resource. Each chapter on the New Testament literature closes with a discussion of implications for ministry formation.

These integrative features alone would distinguish this introduction from others. But in addition, its pages brim with maps, photos, points of interest, and aids to learning. Separate chapters explore the historical and cultural environment of the New Testament era, the nature of the Gospels and the quest for the historical Jesus, and the life of Paul.

Distinctive Features: David deSilva says:

Two features probably most distinguish this textbook from others. First, in the context of each chapter on a New Testament book, I introduce readers to one or two particular exegetical skills (with some discussion of the fruit these skills bear when applied to the interpretation of some passage from that book).  Second, I draw out several ways in which each New Testament text potentially contributes to our thinking together about the shape of Christian identity, practice, community, ministry, and mission.  Treating each of the New Testament writings as documents written by their authors with essentially pastoral goals in mind leads quite naturally into thinking about this – and in ways that, I hope, model how to move soundly from reading the New Testament in context to deriving wisdom and vision from it for new contexts.

A Word from the Author: David deSilva says:

I’ve tried to bring together all of the elements that facilitate a complete immersion into the New Testament, its world, and its interpretation – the historical, cultural, and religious environment of the early church; the ways in which each NT text contributes to the formation of Christian identity and theology; the ways in which each text seeks to position its readers to address a wide variety of challenges in their environment; the skills needed to examine these texts closely and reliably for ourselves; and the formational and pastoral “so what” of each text.  I’ve also supplemented these discussions with perhaps a hundred photos that invite readers visually into the realities of the world of the New Testament, from archaeological sites to the artifacts and spaces of daily life to the competing ideologies represented on the coins of everyday currency.  InterVarsity has done a superb job laying all of this out in a visually pleasing way.

Nijay’s Notes:

I love this textbook. It is the perfect balance of academic information, methodological discussions, and reflections on ministry and formation. This is easily my go-to NT introduction when I want to look something up. I have used this textbook numerous times with students.


About the Author: David A. deSilva (PhD, Emory University) is Trustees’ Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ashland, Ohio. He is the author of over twenty-five books including An Introduction to the New Testament; Day of Atonement; Unholy Allegiances; The Jewish Teachers of Jesus, James, and Jude; Introducing the Apocrypha; and Perseverance in Gratitude. He is also an ordained elder in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church.


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