Many Christians assume that the New Testament is historically reliable. This confidence, however, is not universal, and there are many who, especially in light of modern biblical studies, question this claim. Some have also claimed that Paul founded a church quite distinct from the message of Jesus and the Gospels. How can we reconcile their seeming differences? What is the relevance of the New Testament in the world today, in cultures far removed in time and space from the first-century Mediterranean world?
Grounded in sound scholarship but written in an accessible style, this book provides a reasonable, well-informed response to these issues, offering sound introductory guidance to any student of the Bible.
“There are fully credentialed New Testament scholars on the theological ‘far left’ who do bona fide research, but present their opinions as if they reflected a consensus of scholarship when in fact they represent the ‘radical fringe.’” (Page 18)
“But this suggests that detailed knowledge of the actual wording of traditions that would a generation later be written up in the Gospels existed already in the 30s, since Paul’s conversion dates to within two to three years of Christ’s crucifixion!” (Page 63)
“Until the emperor Constantine legalized Sunday as a day off work in the early 300s, Christians fairly uniformly agreed that resting one day in seven reflected heretical ‘Judaizing’!” (Page 93)
“separation between church and synagogue was largely complete” (Page 41)
“More than thirty papyri date from the late second through early third centuries. Some of these contain large portions of entire New Testament books. One of these covers most of the Gospels and Acts (𝔭45); another, most of the letters of Paul (𝔭46). Four very reliable and nearly complete New Testaments date from the fourth (א and B) and fifth centuries (A and C).” (Page 22)
As always, Craig Blomberg is lucid, sensible, and interesting. The book's organization and style are deceptively simple. Even the mature Christian reader will benefit from Blomberg's mastery of so much material nicely summarized and evaluated here. Blomberg offers just enough detail to keep us interested in the hard evidence but not so much as to make us feel swamped by minutiae. This book could be confidently placed into the hands of friends who are generally well read but who are nevertheless biblically illiterate, for Blomberg's mix of sane historical assessment, thoughtful theology, and elementary principles of interpretation open many doors. I hope this book will find many diverse readers and a long life.
—D. A. Carson, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Some New Testament scholars major in minutiae and stay away from the big historical and literary questions, but Blomberg is not one of them. In Making Sense of the New Testament, Blomberg tackles the big issues of the historical reliability of the New Testament—the similarities and differences between the teachings of Jesus and Paul and the various issues of literary criticism—with vim, vigor, and vitality. His study is marked by careful, well-documented scholarship and a well-argued case. This book is an excellent starting place for those who want to discuss the New Testament with a skeptical postmodern audience.
—Ben Witherington III, Asbury Theological Seminary
Craig Blomberg is an ideal scholar to introduce the three crucial questions addressed in this book. He has distinguished himself before in important treatments of these topics, and here he provides an excellent, readable introduction that will profit basic and advanced readers alike. His treatment reflects exceptionally clear, original thinking as well as thorough familiarity with wider scholarly discussion.
—Craig Keener, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary
In addressing three crucial questions, Blomberg has given us an imposing, crisply written apologetic that is at once relevant, fair-minded, and comprehensive. This is a worthy companion to Longman's parallel text for the Old Testament.
—Paul Barnett, former bishop of North Sydney, Australia, and teaching fellow, Regent College
A succinct, easy to read but not simplistic introduction to three crucial issues in NT studies from an evangelical perspective. While aimed at and suitable for a wider readership or undergraduate students, the volume also has its challenges for advanced students.
—Christoph Stenschke, Themelios
With the Logos edition, you can reap the maximum benefit from each Three Crucial Questions volume by getting easier access to the contents of this series—helping you to use these volumes more efficiently for research and sermon preparation. Every word from every book has been indexed and catalogued to help you search the entire series for a particular verse or topic, giving you instant access to cross-references. Additionally, important terms link to your other resources in your digital library, including dictionaries, encyclopedias, commentaries, theology texts, and others. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for because in Logos, your titles will automatically integrate into custom search reports, passage guides, exegetical guides, and the other advanced features of the software. You'll have the tools you need to use your entire digital library effectively and efficiently, searching for verses, finding Scripture references and citations instantly, and performing word studies. With most Logos resources, you can take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps, providing you the most efficient and comprehensive research tools in one place, so you get the most out of your study.