A Companion to the New Testament draws readers deep inside the New Testament by providing a basic orientation to its literary contours and its ways of talking about theological matters. Designed especially for students learning to navigate the Bible as Christian Scripture, the Companion serves as an accessible, reliable, and engaging guide to each New Testament book’s contents. It explores these books’ capacity for informing Christian faith and life—among ancient audiences and also within Christian communities through time.
Individual chapters offer thorough overviews of each New Testament book, helping readers consider its historical setting, cultural assumptions, literary dynamics, and theological points of view. The Companion consistently illustrates how social conditions and community identities left their marks on the particular theological rhetoric of the New Testament. Author Matthew Skinner draws on his extensive teaching experience to orient readers to theological convictions and social realities reflected in Scripture. He pays special attention to the New Testament’s use of the Old Testament, the Roman Empire’s influence on Christian ideas and practices, the place of women in the early church’s life and teachings, the influence of Jewish apocalyptic themes on the New Testament, and ways that certain New Testament emphases have shaped basic Christian beliefs.
This second volume of the Companion focuses on Paul and the thirteen letters in the New Testament attributed to him. Readers learn that the letters provided specific pastoral and practical instruction to ancient Christian communities. The letters make their case by relying upon and appealing to a range of theological convictions, usually focusing on who God is, what God accomplishes through Jesus Christ, and the new existence that believers now inhabit. Studying the letters alongside one another, as a collection, allows readers to consider the ways in which Paul attempted to provide pastoral care to various congregations, as well as how Paul’s widespread influence may have prompted his admirers to carry his legacy forward after his death.
Matthew Skinner’s impressive new three-volume companion to the literature of the New Testament offers readers a welcome travel guide through the sometimes-rough terrain of the New Testament world. A respected scholar and seasoned teacher, Matthew Skinner has listened carefully to the questions and concerns raised by his students—online and in the classroom, in faith communities and in the public square. As a result, these volumes offer not only scholarly signposts for understanding the ancient world, but also sage advice for those roadblocks that often leave contemporary readers stranded. Reading the New Testament is an exciting adventure; you will want this companion by your side the entire way.~Michal Beth Dinkler, Assistant Professor of New Testament, Yale Divinity School
Teachers who share Skinner’s concern for opening the meaning of the New Testament for their students will want to consider these volumes.~The Bible Today
Skinner writes for an audience that includes especially students (theological schools, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates), but the work will be useful, and accessible, to others who have interest in exploring the content and contemporary relevance of the New Testament. The three volumes reflect the breadth and depth of knowledge and the skill of a superb exegete and master teacher.~John T. Carroll, Interpretation: Journal of Bible and Theology