Reading the New Testament for the First Time


The purpose of this book is to introduce the New Testament to those who have never read it. Ronald Allen offers a truly elementary guide to the New Testament's world, its story, and its message. Reading the New Testament for the First Time walks readers through the New Testament, covering key topics like these:
  • how to find one's way around the New Testament
  • how and when the ...
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Reading the New Testament Again for the First Time

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The purpose of this book is to introduce the New Testament to those who have never read it. Ronald Allen offers a truly elementary guide to the New Testament's world, its story, and its message. Reading the New Testament for the First Time walks readers through the New Testament, covering key topics like these:
  • how to find one's way around the New Testament
  • how and when the New Testament was written
  • important characters like Jesus, Paul, and the twelve disciples
  • big ideas found in the New Testament such as love, righteousness, and the realm of God
  • how to apply the New Testament to our lives today
  • and much more!
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Allen's concise introduction is a good resource for all people interested in learning more about the history, content, meaning, and use of the New Testament. . . . An excellent resource.”

Presbyterian Outlook
"An ambitious and useful book. It provides context and method for first-time readers of the New Testament, so that they can develop the confidence to be more systematic and efficacious in their reading, and solidify a developing faith. . . . This is what every first-time reader needs."

Catholic Library World
“In this unique work, Ronald Allen writes about the New Testament for those who may have never experienced its message before. What is surprising is the value this work has for those who know something about the New Testament, but are not as familiar with the background, history and ways of understanding these works. . . . A good study for anyone just beginning to read the Bible and attempting to understand its message.”

Congregational Libraries Today
“Readers will appreciate Allen's conversational tone, scope of knowledge, and openness. While he intends his book for first-time readers of the New Testament, its cultural history, chronological presentation, maps, tables, charts, and significant points highlighted in boxes make it a recommended resource for any student of scripture. It is particularly recommended for pastors, teachers, and church libraries.”

The Bible Today
“A wonderfully practical book.”

It is a rare book that delivers more than its title promises. This one does -- and then some! Ronald Allen has produced the cleanest, clearest, humblest, most non-doctrinaire, accessible, and absorbing general work on reading the New Testament that I have ever seen. It should be required reading for all of us.
-- Phyllis Tickle founding editor of Religion Department of Publishers Weekly

"At last! A first-rate Bible scholar has put together a book that makes the New Testament accessible. Reading the New Testament for the First Time grows out of Allen's years of teaching experience. He covers every question that is likely to arise when a 'first-timer' wants to read the New Testament. Like a good and trusted friend, he walks the novice down a spiraling staircase into the wonders of this ancient and strange book, pointing out the most provocative, profound, and inspirational aspects of the New Testament. Strongly recommended."
-- John S. McClure
Vanderbilt Divinity School

"Clear, engaging, and genuinely helpful! This is the first book I would recommend to anyone who wants a basic and informed guide into the rich but sometimes confusing terrain of the New Testament."
-- Matthew L. Skinner
Luther Seminary

"Here is a book that respects both Bible and reader, providing basic information for both the serious reader and the merely curious without talking down to them. A good first step into deeper Bible study."
-- M. Eugene Boring
Brite Divinity School,
Texas Christian University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802867353
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 6/28/2012
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 1,248,994
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

RONALD J. ALLEN is professor of preaching and New Testament at Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, where he has taught since 1982. He is the author of almost forty books, including the popular lay study guide A Faith of Your Own: Naming What You Really Believe.
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Table of Contents

Introduction vii

1 What Will I Find When I Open the Bible? 1

2 The World of the New Testament 17

3 The Content of the New Testament: Two Mini-Surveys 37

4 The Story of Jesus 55

5 The Early Church before Paul 67

6 Paul: Apostle to the Gentiles 81

7 The Letters of Paul 93

8 The Four Gospels 105

9 The Letters of Paul's Disciples (?) 119

10 Other New Testament Writings 129

11 Some Big Ideas in and around the New Testament 141

12 Some of the Most Famous Passages in the New Testament 153

13 Using the New Testament in the Church Today 167

Appendix A Choosing a Translation of the New Testament 179

Appendix B Resources for Further Study 182

Appendix c Three Plans for Reading through the Entire New Testament 186

Appendix D The Names "Old Testament" and "New Testament" 201

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