A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?

I am writing this ongoing blog series on Reflections to encourage Christians to read more vigorously and enrich their lives with Christian classics in such fields as theology, philosophy, and apologetics. Hopefully, a brief introduction to these important Christian texts will motivate today’s believers to, as St. Augustine was called in his dramatic conversion to Christianity, “take up and read” (Latin: Tolle lege) these excellent books.


This week’s book, An Introduction to the New Testament by D. A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo, is arguably the best work of its kind written by evangelical scholars. As a critically acclaimed standard historical introduction to the New Testament, this volume has had a big influence on the way many evangelical students and pastors have come to think about the New Testament.

Why Are the Authors Notable?

D. A. Carson is research professor of the New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and has written or edited over 50 books. Carson also serves as a guest lecturer at church and academic conferences around the world. Douglas J. Moo is professor of New Testament at Wheaton College. Moo has written many commentaries and other works on the various books of the New Testament.

What Is This Book About?

This volume provides a thorough introduction to the New Testament, with a special emphasis on understanding the books within their proper historical setting. The authors explore authorship, date, sources, audience, purpose, destination, and more for each New Testament book. They also summarize each book’s central theological content, discuss its contribution to the New Testament canon as a whole, and address controversies concerning particular books.

Helpful aspects of this volume include an extensive chapter that provides an explanation of traditional interpretive approaches to the New Testament, as well as an introduction to the controversial topic of biblical higher criticism. A very important section of this work includes an evangelical evaluation and response to the so-called “new perspective” on the apostle Paul (a significant shift in the way some Protestant scholars interpret the writings of the apostle Paul, especially concerning the role of good works in salvation).

Carson and Moo briefly explain the basic accuracy and integrity of the Greek New Testament:

Whatever the ongoing scholarly disputes, serious Christian readers today are equipped with astonishingly accurate and detailed information in their printed Greek New Testaments. The overwhelming majority of the text of the Greek New Testament is firmly established. Where uncertainties remain, it is important to recognize that in no case is any doctrinal matter at issue.1

Why Is This Book Worth Reading?

If I were to recommend one book that introduces a Christian to all the textual issues and questions relating to the New Testament, this Carson and Moo volume would be my unquestioned choice. The authors are careful scholars who possess a deep grasp of the New Testament content and an understanding of the critical challenges frequently raised about the New Testament. This work should be read and studied by all students of Scripture.

  1. A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), 31.

Check out more from Dr. Kenneth Samples @Reasons.org

About The Author

Kenneth R. Samples

I believe deeply that "all truth is God’s truth." That historic affirmation means that when we discover and grasp truth in the world and in life we move closer to its divine Author. This approach relies on the Christian idea of God’s two revelatory books - the metaphorical book of nature and the literal book of Scripture. As an RTB scholar I have a great passion to help people understand and see the truth and relevance of Christianity's truth-claims. My writings and lectures at RTB focus on showing how the great doctrinal truths of the faith (the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Atonement, creation ex nihilo, salvation by grace, etc.) are uniquely compatible with reason. This approach reflects the historic Christian apologetics statement - "faith seeking understanding." I work to help myself and others fulfill Peter's words in 2 Peter 3:18: "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." As an RTB scholar I have a great passion to help people understand and see the truth and relevance of Christianity's truth-claims. • Biography • Resources • Upcoming Events • Promotional Items Kenneth Richard Samples began voraciously studying Christian philosophy and theology when his thirst for purpose found relief in the Bible. He earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy and social science from Concordia University and his MA in theological studies from Talbot School of Theology. For seven years, Kenneth worked as Senior Research Consultant and Correspondence Editor at the Christian Research Institute (CRI) and regularly cohosted the popular call-in radio program, The Bible Answer Man, with Dr. Walter Martin. As a youth, Kenneth wrestled with "unsettling feelings of meaninglessness and boredom," driving him to seek answers to life's big questions. An encounter with Christian philosophy in Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis led Kenneth to examine the New Testament and "finally believe that Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God, the Lord and Savior of the world." From then on, he pursued an intellectually satisfying faith. Today, as senior research scholar at Reasons to Believe (RTB), Kenneth uses what he's learned to help others find the answers to life's questions. He encourages believers to develop a logically defensible faith and challenges skeptics to engage Christianity at a philosophical level. He is the author of Without a Doubt and A World of Difference, and has contributed to numerous other books, including: Lights in the Sky and Little Green Men, The Cult of the Virgin, and Prophets of the Apocalypse. He has written articles for Christianity Today and The Christian Research Journal, and regularly participates in RTB's podcasts, including Straight Thinking, a podcast dedicated to encouraging Christians to utilize sound reasoning in their apologetics. He also writes for the ministry's daily blog, Today’s New Reason to Believe. An avid speaker and debater, Kenneth has appeared on numerous radio programs such as Voice America Radio, Newsmakers, The Frank Pastore Show, Stand to Reason, White Horse Inn, Talk New York, and Issues Etc., as well as participated in debates and dialogues on topics relating to Christian doctrine and apologetics. He currently lectures for the Master of Arts program in Christian Apologetics at Biola University. Kenneth also teaches adult classes at Christ Reformed Church in Southern California. Over the years Kenneth has held memberships in the American Philosophical Association, the Evangelical Philosophical Society, the Evangelical Theological Society, and the Evangelical Press Association. The son of a decorated World War II veteran, Kenneth is an enthusiastic student of American history, particularly the Civil War and WWII. His favorite Christian thinkers include Athanasius, Augustine, Pascal, and C. S. Lewis. He greatly enjoys the music of the Beatles and is a die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan. Kenneth lives in Southern California with his wife, Joan, and their three children.

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