Discovering the New Testament is a new and comprehensive introduction to the New Testament in three volumes, reflecting current research and scholarship in New Testament studies. Each volume provides a thorough discussion of background issues as well as treating theological themes and practical application. Ideal for college or seminary students, the volumes provide numerous maps and charts, as well as discussion questions for each chapter and a focus on real-life relevance and application.
The first volume on the Gospels and Acts covers Jewish and Greco-Roman backgrounds, critical methodologies, the synoptic problem, and surveys each of the four gospels and Acts. It concludes with three chapters that explore the key theme of the kingdom of God, including its Old Testament background, the place of miracles, and an examination of Jesus’ parables.
Mark Keown’s New Testament introduction sorts through a myriad of New Testament issues and themes, giving readers a solid acquaintance with the views and ideas this text raises and the background to its construction. The options are presented and analyzed with care, making it a worthy guide to these crucial first five books of the New Testament.
—Darrell Bock, Executive Director for Cultural Engagement, Howard G. Hendricks Center for Christian Leadership and Cultural Engagement and Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
We are living at a time when students enter learning with questions: Why? When? How? Show me! Mark Keown’s Discovering the New Testament: Volume 1 is a detailed and text-based approach to the Bible. It is a book that allows students an excellent opportunity to ask their questions and have them answered.
—Sarah Harris, New Testament Lecturer, Carey Baptist College
This lucid and illuminating Introduction is everything one would want in a book that aims to help us to read the New Testament. It gives a clear guide to historical setting, to methods of interpretation, and to key theological issues. It also shows us how the centre of the New Testament is Jesus Christ and how the New Testament needs to be read in the light of Christ. All those who read this Introduction will be grateful to Mark Keown for this accessible and engaging book.
—Paul Trebilco, Professor of New Testament, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Otago
“In some Jewish traditions, the temple was supposedly built on the stone where God first created Adam, where Abraham bought Isaac for sacrifice (Mount Moriah) and where Jacob wrestled with an angel.” (Page 36)
“After the Gospels comes the Acts of the Apostles, which is part two of the story told in Luke’s Gospel. It is a first-century historical document narrating the story of the expansion of the church because of the mission and work of the Spirit through Christ’s followers. The geographical, three-part shape of Acts is an explication of Acts 1:8: (1) the development of the Jerusalem church (Acts 1–8:4); (2) the missional expansion of the church into Judea, Samaria, and the beginning of its impact in the Gentile world, particularly by members of the Jerusalem church and especially Peter (Acts 8–12); (3) the extension of the faith to ‘the ends of the earth,’ primarily focusing on the ministries of Paul and others (Acts 13–28).” (Page 3)
“If we want to know Christ and the purposes of God, then the Gospels are the starting point. Acts and the letters that follow show us how the first followers understood this Christ. They show us how to live the ‘in Christ’ life.” (Page 1)
“The Jewish historian Josephus estimated the population in Galilee at the time of Christ was between 200,000 and 300,000.4 The population of Jerusalem was about 80,000,5 but increased dramatically during the festivals. The overall Jewish worldwide population was approximately seven million, with more than five million living outside Israel in the diaspora (the dispersion). The Jewish population of Israel was around one- to one-and-a-half million, but the total population of Israel was around two million; only half of the population was Jewish. Most of the Jewish population lived in Judea, including Jesus and his disciples, in a pocket of Galilee in the north.” (Page 16)
Mark J. Keown (ThD, Laidlaw College) is a Senior Lecturer in New Testament at Laidlaw College in Auckland, NZ and is the author of Philippians: Evangelical Exegetical Commentary and Congregational Evangelism in Philippians as well as numerous essays and journal articles. He is also an ordained minister and served at Greenlane Presbyterian Church from 1997–2003.