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 first volume of the Companion explains that the Gospels are the results of the early churches’ efforts to preserve memories about the life and teaching of Jesus, his character, and his enduring significance. Readers discover that Jesus’ followers told their stories about him because of their desire to give testimony to him as the Christ and the agent of divine salvation. Likewise, the Companion’s treatment of Acts underscores that book’s understanding of God as active in the world, a God who continues the ministry Jesus began but does so now in and around the churches formed by Jesus’ followers. The earliest churches’ narratives about their Lord and their origins were theological narratives—stories meant to communicate believers’ convictions about God and God’s commitment to the world.
1. What Is the New Testament?
2. The New Testament World
3. The Gospels
4. Jesus of Nazareth
5. The Gospel according to Matthew
6. The Gospel according to Mark
7. The Gospel according to Luke
8. The Gospel according to John
9. The Acts of the Apostles
Recommended Resources for Ongoing Exploration of the New Testament
Matthew Skinner provides masterful orientation to the landscape of New Testament study that is both succinct and carefully nuanced, and informed by recent currents in biblical scholarship. Engagement with this perceptive volume will provide a grasp of both the diversity and coherence of the Gospels’ fourfold witness and will equip interpreters to continue the conversations—to consider anew what it means to live faithfully in their own particular contexts.~Frances Taylor Gench, Herbert Worth and Annie H. Jackson Professor of Biblical Interpretation, Union Presbyterian Seminary
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
While respecting the historical roots of the gospels and Acts, Skinner deftly illustrates the theological content and evangelical purpose of these biblical texts. This is a solid introduction suitable for use in college and seminary courses.~John R. Barker, The Bible Today
The volume is clearly written and is refreshingly uncluttered without footnotes.... The coverage of the primary texts is focused, thorough, and stimulating. Overall, one would be hard-pressed to find anything more balanced and reliable as an introductory companion to the Gospels and Acts for this [student] environment."~Alex Muir, The Expository Times
Matthew Skinner has provided teachers and students with the ideal classroom resource. This publication illuminates Jesus’ place in history, sacred text, and ecclesial impact. Skinner navigates historical, literary, and cultural contexts with aplomb. Readers of A Companion to the New Testament will benefit from Skinner’s erudite treatment of ancient realities and contemporary scholarship.~Anthony Le Donne, Associate Professor of New Testament, United Theological Seminary
Matthew Skinner offers a refreshingly clear resource for students as they begin their journey through the New Testament. A welcome guide to the theological complexity of the Gospels and Acts.~Brittany E. Wilson, Assistant Professor of New Testament, Duke Divinity School