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Constantine R Campbell & Jonathan T Pennington – Reading the New Testament as Christian Scripture: A Literary, Canonical, and Theological Survey

Baker ISBN 978 0 8010 9792 8 416 pages Price £40

This a beautifully produced book on good quality paper with an easy to read layout and a generous sprinkling of illustrations.

Campbell and Pennington are to be congratulated for packing so much into what is a comprehensive and well-written guide to reading the New Testament as Christian Scripture.

The title is intriguing but is based on the philosophy that the New Testament needs to be read from the perspective of a disciple. By this the authors mean someone who has a personal stake in the message that it as the heart of the New Testament, and an active commitment to Jesus as Lord and the Church as the community of faith and witness.

The authors believe that that Scripture is not afraid of questions, so they have a system of five query categories that assist truly Christian reading of the whole Bible. These five categories are scattered like precious gems throughout this book in colour-coded side bars:

Historical Matters / Literary Notes / Theological Issues / Canonical Issues / Reception Issues

The book begins with five introductory chapters, three general sections on the New Testament, and two on Jesus and the gospels. This is followed by a brief chapter devoted to each of the 27 books of the New Testament (the pastoral letters and 1-3 John are both treated in one chapter each). Each section concludes with key verses from those biblical books and helpful questions for further reflection.

The book ends with a chapter on Reading the New Testament in the 21st Century.

Who might benefit from this book? Any student, A-Level and beyond, who is studying the New Testament, church leaders and anyone who want to learn how to read the New Testament more fruitfully.

John Woods is a writer and Bible teacher based in West Sussex

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