4.5 of 5
The bottom line: An excellent introduction to the New Testament basics with some extra theological lessons as an added bonus.
On the New Testament is the second book in the Testament series by Mark Driscoll. Basically, this is a succinct, brief, and concise introduction to the NT that first lays a solid biblical foundation, and then serves as a launching pad to guide further and more comprehensive study. This book is not a comprehensive resource, nor does it proclaim to be. The book thoroughly answers common questions and reservations critics have about the bible, and also provides clear and direct structure to approach study of the NT’s 27 books.
Similar to On the Old Testament, the book begins with answers to nine common questions about the NT and the second part gives a brief synopsis of each of the NT’s books. Each synopsis—detailing the category, mission, and theological orientation—also gives enough historical detail to prepare the reader’s mind to learn and better understand the biblical texts.
Additionally, the author does dabble into some general theological critique and commentary throughout the text that I found adds value to understanding his description of major themes. For example, in answering “What is the Central Point of the New Testament?” Driscoll makes a clear distinction between the true message of the gospel and the often-deviant proclamations of institutionalized religion. The discussion of biblical principles versus methods (pg. 42) is also very enlightening.
The book concludes with two appendices. The first provides details on how to build a theological library and gives suggestions based on genre (e.g., How To Study The Bible, Atlases, Surveys, Concordances, and Commentaries). The second is a reading checklist. All of the author’s suggestions for further study are helpful and will serve as a go-to resource in order to guide subsequent book purchases.
In short, On The New Testament is a great way to introduce people to the NT, and seasoned bible readers as well will also find the information insightful and thought provoking. Both audiences will develop a greater theological fluency and familiarity with the NT books.
Dr. C. H. E. Sadaphal