Logos Bible Software
Sign In
Products>Reading the Gospels Wisely: A Narrative and Theological Introduction

Reading the Gospels Wisely: A Narrative and Theological Introduction

Logos Editions are fully connected to your library and Bible study tools.



In Reading the Gospels Wisely, Jonathan Pennington examines the theological and ethical aims of the Gospel narratives, helping students see the fruit of historical and literary study. He contends that we can learn to read the Gospels well from various vantage points, among them the premodern, modern, and postmodern.

This textbook can stand on its own as a guide to reading the Gospels as Scripture. It is ideally suited to supplement conventional textbooks that discuss each Gospel systematically. Most textbooks tend to introduce students to historical-critical concerns but may be less adequate for showing how the Gospel narratives, read as Scripture within the canonical framework of the entire New Testament and the whole Bible, yield material for theological reflection and faithful practice. Pennington neither dismisses nor duplicates the results of current historical-critical work on the Gospels as historical sources. Rather, he offers critically aware and hermeneutically intelligent instruction in reading the Gospels in order to hear their witness to Christ in a way that supports Christian application and proclamation. This text will appeal to professors and students in Gospels, New Testament survey, and New Testament interpretation courses.

Resource Experts
  • Lays a basic foundation for reading the Gospels, making the book ideal for any level of theological background
  • Provides a guide to reading the Gospels as Scripture
  • Explains the idea of the Gospel as a genre, as well as reasoning the necessity for the Gospel
  • Part 1: Clearing Ground, Digging Deep, and Laying a Good Foundation
    • What Are the Gospels? Defining “Gospel”
    • What Are the Gospels? Understanding the “Gospel” Genre
    • Why Do We Need the Gospels? (Or Why Saint Paul Is Not Enough)
    • The Joy and Angst of Having Four Gospels
    • Texts and History: The Testimony of the Fourfold Witness
    • Reading Holy Scripture Well: Three Avenues
    • Reading Holy Scripture Well: Intent, Meaning, and Posture
    • Foundations for Reading the Gospels Well
  • Part 2: Building the House through Wise Reading
    • Reading the Gospels as Stories: The “Whatever Strikes Me” (WSM) Hermeneutic versus Narrative Analysis
    • Reading the Gospels as Stories: Circles of Contextual Meaning
  • Part 3: Living in the Gospels House
    • Summing It All Up: Applying and Teaching the Gospels
    • The Gospels as the Archway of the Canon

Top Highlights

“A fourth reason we need the Gospels is that in them we get a more direct sense of the Bible’s great story line.” (Page 43)

“A second reason we need the Gospels is because Paul and the other New Testament writers presuppose and build on the story and teaching of Jesus.” (Page 39)

“Finally, we need the Gospels because in the Gospels alone we have a personal, up-front encounter with Jesus Christ.” (Page 48)

“An eighth reason we need the Gospels is because encountering Jesus in narrative helps us grow in experiential knowledge and realize that reality does not always fit into neat little boxes of ‘truth.’” (Page 48)

“First, we need to study the Gospels because they have been central to the church throughout its history.” (Page 38)

This is a book that could transform many people’s reading of the Gospels. Jonathan Pennington has a wide knowledge of the specialist literature, and he skillfully distills what matters most for the task of reading the Gospels wisely. He is especially concerned that we read the Gospels in ways that are appropriate to the sort of texts they are. What comes across is a powerful sense that the Gospels are not only historical but also life-changing.

Richard Bauckham, emeritus professor of New Testament studies, University of St. Andrews

Many books on the Gospels slog through source criticism, form criticism, and redaction criticism—important topics to be sure. How refreshing it is, however, to find a book with a new approach, one that reads the Gospels as literature and sees their importance theologically. This book is like a cool drink of water in what is too often the desert of Gospel studies. . . . his arguments must be reckoned with, and they further the conversation in productive and stimulating ways. I believe this is the best introductory book on the Gospels. Both students and professors will find it to be invaluable.

Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Reading the Gospels can be tricky, but it is important to read them with a full appreciation of their theology. Jonathan Pennington’s study helps you get there—and get there well, as well as wisely.

Darrell Bock, research professor of New Testament studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

Few academic enterprises of recent generations have been as chaotic and contradictory as the study of Jesus and the Gospels. . . . This learned yet lively volume attempts to transcend past miscues and cash in on lasting insights going back to patristic times. Pennington shows how the fourfold canonical Gospel ought to be read: as the proper entrée to becoming Jesus’ disciple for the sake of loving God by the work of the Spirit. Few works explain more.

Robert W. Yarbrough, associate professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Trinity International University

Jonathan T. Pennington

Dr. Jonathan T. Pennington is the associate professor of New Testament interpretation at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He also served as a visiting professor at Southeastern Seminary, as well as the Institute of Biblical Studies in Orlando, Florida and Melbourne, Australia.

He earned a BA in history and his teaching certificate from Northern Illinois University, and his MDiv from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he also taught Greek for two years as an NT fellow. For five years, he also served as the associate pastor at the Evangelical Free Church of Mt. Morris in northern Illinois.

He holds a PhD in New Testament studies from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland (in St. Mary’s College), where he wrote his thesis, “Heaven and Earth in the Gospel of Matthew,” under the supervision of professors Richard Bauckham and Philip Esler. Dr. Pennington is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Tyndale Fellowship (Cambridge), the Institute for Biblical Research, and the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies. He’s published a variety of articles, reviews, and Greek and Hebrew language tools, as well as books like Heaven and Earth in the Gospel of Matthew (Brill),Cosmology and New Testament Theology (T&T Clark), and Reading the Gospels Wisely: A Narrative and Theological Introduction (Baker Academic).


2 ratings

Sign in with your Faithlife account

  1. Stephen Ian Morgan
  2. Randy Barlow

    Randy Barlow


    Hey fellas, this is $10 cheaper on Kindle. Could someone tel me why that is?
  3. Terri Young

    Terri Young