Logos Bible Software
Sign In
Products>Contagious Holiness: Jesus’ Meals with Sinners (New Studies in Biblical Theology, vol. 19 | NSBT)

Contagious Holiness: Jesus’ Meals with Sinners (New Studies in Biblical Theology, vol. 19 | NSBT)

, 2005
ISBN: 9781844740833

Digital Logos Edition

Logos Editions are fully connected to your library and Bible study tools.
Save 25% off during the Memorial Day Sale!


Digital list price: $27.99
Regular price: $19.99
Save $5.00 (25%)


One of humanity’s most basic and common practices—eating meals—was transformed by Jesus into an occasion of divine encounter. In sharing food and drink with His companions, He invited them to share in the grace of God. He revealed His redemptive mission while eating with sinners, repentant and unrepentant alike. Jesus’ “table fellowship” with sinners in the Gospels has been widely agreed to be historically reliable. This consensus, however, has recently been challenged, for example, by the claim that the meals in which Jesus participated took the form of Greco-Roman symposia—or that the “sinners” involved were the most flagrantly wicked within Israel’s society, not merely the ritually impure or those who did not satisfy strict Pharisaic standards of holiness.

Craig L. Blomberg engages with the debate and opens up the significance of the topic. He surveys meals in the Old Testament and the intertestamental period. He then examines all the Gospel texts relevant to Jesus’ eating with sinners. He concludes with contemporary applications.

Get the newest volumes in the NSBT series with the New Studies in Biblical Theology Upgrade (2 vols.)

Resource Experts

Key Features

  • Contains scholarly and accessible volumes written by well-respected Biblical scholars
  • Includes notes that interact with the best of recent research and significant literature
  • Engages the immense challenges facing today’s church
  • Offers new insights and challenges established positions
  • Encourages Christians to better understand their Bibles through biblical theology


  • The Current Debate
  • Forming Friendships but Evading Enemies
  • Contagious Impurity
  • Jesus the Conummate Party Animal
  • Pervasive Purity
  • The Potential of Contemporary Christian Meals

Top Highlights

“Jesus thus defies the conventions of his world by his intimate association with a group of people deemed traitorous and corrupt in his society. Still, he does not condone their sinful lifestyles but calls them to repentance, transformation and discipleship.” (Page 102)

“There King observes that ‘the two basic obligations of hospitality are to feed and to protect the guest or stranger’ (53).” (Page 32)

“‘It is a story about saving grace, for there are no penalties, and no demands, except to follow Jesus’ (Hooker 1991: 94). Or, more expansively, ‘It may also entail summoning them to repentance in the moral sense of that term. What is nonetheless striking is that Jesus appears to not require repentance in advance of having table fellowship with sinners and tax collectors’ (Witherington 2001: 123, italics mine). Perhaps most strikingly of all, ‘Jesus is not defiled by his contact with impurity but instead vanquishes it through the eschatological power active in him’ (Marcus 2000: 231). We might thus speak of holiness for Jesus, rather than sin, being that which he views as ‘contagious’ (cf. also Borg 1984: 135).” (Pages 102–103)

“As to the meaning of Jesus’ behaviour, the unifying theme that emerges is one that may be called ‘contagious holiness’. Jesus discloses not one instance of fearing contamination, whether moral or ritual, by associating with the wicked or impure. Rather, he believes that his purity can rub off on them, and he hopes that his magnanimity toward them will lead them to heed his calls to discipleship.” (Page 167)

“In short, the criterion suggests that when an element of the Gospel tradition (1) makes sense in the first third of the first century in Israel, yet (2) depicts Jesus challenging conventional Jewish thinking in some respect and (3) shows signs of having been followed by early Christianity either inside or outside the New Testament, yet (4) seems to have changed in some significant way in that later context, then we have powerful support for believing it to be authentic.” (Page 28)

Praise for the Print Edition

[Offers] an enlightening analysis of Jesus’ table fellowship for Christian academics and laypersons alike. . . . Citing his own experiences overseas, the outreach efforts of the ‘Scum of the Earth’ church in Denver (of which he is a member), and other Christian ministries, Blomberg’s application of ‘contagious holiness’ is a promising resource for Christians living in a post-9/11 age.

—Linda MacCammon, Theological Studies

Dr. Blomberg not only addresses current disputes about the ‘table fellowship’ practices of the historical Jesus, but also traces out the historical and theologically laden implications of table fellowship across the canon of Scripture, and issues a call to contemporary Christians to reform their habits in this matter.

—D.A. Carson, research professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

  • Title: Contagious Holiness: Jesus’ Meals with Sinners
  • Author: Craig Blomberg
  • Series: New Studies in Biblical Theology
  • Volume: 19
  • Publishers: Apollos, IVP
  • Print Publication Date: 2005
  • Logos Release Date: 2015
  • Pages: 216
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Jesus Christ › Friends and associates; Bible. N.T. › Criticism, interpretation, etc; Dinners and dining in the Bible
  • ISBNs: 9781844740833, 1844740838, 0830826203, 9780830826209
  • Resource ID: LLS:NSBT19
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-09-30T01:53:54Z
Craig Blomberg

Craig Blomberg is distinguished professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary, where he has been teaching since 1986. Blomberg earned degrees from Augustana College, Trinity Divinity School, and Aberdeen University in Scotland. He previously taught at Palm Beach Atlantic College and spent one year in Cambridge as a research fellow with Tyndale House. He has been on translation committees for the New Living Translation, English Standard Version, and the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

Blomberg is the author, coauthor, or co-editor of numerous books and more than 80 articles in journals or multi-author works. A recurring topic of interest in his writings is the historical reliability of the Scriptures, and he has also covered such diverse issues as wealth and poverty, hermeneutics, and women in ministry. His books include Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey, 2nd ed., Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: James, A Handbook of New Testament Exegesis, Making Sense of the New Testament, Preaching the Parables, and The NIV Application Commentary: 1 Corinthians.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


2 ratings

Sign in with your Faithlife account

  1. Matthew



  2. Glenn Crouch

    Glenn Crouch


    I have enjoyed many of Blomberg's books, and still see him as one of my favourite modern day authors. Of course with his Baptist background and my Lutheran background, there will be areas that I don't agree with, there is much to be said for that fact. The Author here does quite a scholarly approach to examining both the Meals and the people with whom he eat (ie Sinners from the title), and that alone makes the book worthwhile. I did appreciate the Author's stated objective to avoid turning this book into another study on the Lord's Supper but rather to concentrate on the other meals that Jesus was involved in or talked about. He of course does show that the two areas are in no way disjoint. Whilst I found great value in his analysis of the Roman / Greek Symposium, and found a discussion on how this related to Second Temple Judaism, and especially how it related to the time of Jesus and the time of the Gospels being written, I found that this topic was used too much. It almost comes across as the main theme of the book, which is a little disappointing given the many other fine areas the Author touches upon. The Final Chapter - and especially the Applications section of that - do redeem the book. Though it also makes me wish that more of this Application was discussed throughout the book. This is very well referenced - which is always a plus! I do recommend it as a worthwhile read for Christians who want a more scholastic approach to this topic, though feel this could have been better.
Save 25% off during the Memorial Day Sale!


Digital list price: $27.99
Regular price: $19.99
Save $5.00 (25%)