Why I Wrote 15 New Testament Words of Life

Why I Wrote 15 New Testament Words of Life September 19, 2022

There are many books in the library about “New Testament theology.” I read dozens of them in seminary, many of them are good, some are great. But I wrote this book because too many academic books reserve this discussion for abstract ruminations, whereas the NT documents were written to everyday people to shape them for living everyday life—real life. Below is an excerpt from the book introduction that explains why I wrote this book.

Why I Wrote 15 New Testament Words of Life: A New Testament Theology for Real Life

…[W]hy write a book about these words? Because the goal of the New Testament writers was not to wax eloquently about “theology,” but to prepare Christians to live well in the real world. Of course, they did talk about “theology,” the study of the things of God, but the endgame all along was formation. When I tried to describe this book project to friends over the year I was writing it, I referred to it as a “New Testament theology for real life.” So many of the books I have read on New Testament theology keep the discussion focused on the ancient past or talk about “theology” in an abstract way. Can we connect this “theology” to life today? Real life today?

I get frustrated when my students, friends, or neighbors refer to the Bible as irrelevant or antiquated. Just because something is old or relates to a previous generation doesn’t mean it can’t be captivating, thought-provoking, or worldview-shaping. Take Hamilton: The Musical. From one perspective it is a tale of politics, skirmishes, and legal debates from over a century ago. From another perspective it is all about family, ambition and hope for a better world, love, friendship, and forgiveness. This book, Words of Life, is my attempt to make a case that the New Testament is a riveting, divinely inspired collection of writings on love, peace, hope, friendship, generosity, and more. The stuff we most prize in life—beauty, justice, goodness—this is the stuff that fills the onion-skin pages of our Bibles. Is the gospel a timeless message of eternal salvation and eternal life? Yes, of course. Is it a message about and for real life—making a difference in the little things like shopping, dealing with health and wealth, and mending broken relationships? It is!

[excerpt used by permission from Zondervan Academic]


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