Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 14:1 (Fall 1996)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Biblical Studies

The New Testament: Its Background and Message, by Thomas D. Lea. Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1996. Pp. 630.

Thomas Dale Lea is currently dean of the School of Theology and Professor of New Testament at Southwestern. He is member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Association of Baptist Professors of Religion, The Evangelical Theological Society, and the Society of Biblical Research. Lea’s research primarily focuses on New Testament literature-epistolary pseudepigraphy in New Testament times, the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament, and the principles for interpreting the New Testament.

The book is divided into five major parts. In the first part, which is further divided into four chapters, the author deals with the background of the New Testament, briefly describing the political history of Palestine during the intertestamental era. Lea explains daily life and the religious background of the New Testament. He then deals with the canon, text, and genre of the New Testament writings.

In the second major part of the book, which is divided into seven chapters, the author deals with general aspects of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ-such as, the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus, the geographical areas in which Jesus’ ministry occurred, a brief chronological outline for Jesus’ ministry, major characteristics of Jesus’ ministry, and primary and secondary sources for information on the life of Jesus. The author also discusses the synoptic problem, defending Markan priority. Lea goes on to describe external and internal evidence for issues such as authorship, dating, unique features, purpose, plan, and content of each of the four gospels. He explains the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus in four chapters, titled: The Early Ministry of Jesus, His Ministry in and around Galilee, His Later Judean and Perean Ministry, and The Final Week of Jesus’ Life.

In the third major part, divided into two chapters, Lea describes the growth of the early church in the Book of Acts. He evaluates the evidence for the Lucan authorship of Acts, the date of writing for Acts, its historical reliability, and the significance of Pentecost in the life of the church. He describes the activities and contributions of Peter in Acts 1–12. Lea then explains the role of Paul in the spread of Christianity, listing the major events and locations of each of Paul’s missionary journeys and briefly discussing the reasons Paul changed

the focus of his preaching from the Jews to the Gentiles. Next Lea explains how Paul attempted to relate to the culture of his Gree...

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