New Book Enriches NT Study
A new book from FARMS offers a world of information about the New Testament and its background. Charting the New Testament contains scores of charts, tables, and graphs, each with helpful explanatory and reference materials in a reader-friendly format. Covering a wide array of topics - from the ancient Jewish setting of the New Testament and the world of the Greeks and Romans in which the activities of Jesus and his apostles took place to detailed analysis of the scriptural text itself - the book offers an extensive overview of matters doctrinal, literary, and historical. A companion volume to Charting the Book of Mormon, this handy resource is designed with both the student and the teacher in mind.
"The charts used in this book have been developed, tested, and used in a number of settings," BYU professors John F. Hall (classics) and John W. Welch (law) write in the preface to their book. "We appreciate what we have learned by using these charts in our university classes, during public lectures, at conferences and workshops, and on travel-study tours in many parts of the Mediterranean world."
The historical background in the first sections of the book ranges from broad overviews of events to detailed chronologies. Interesting, for instance, are explanations of aspects of daily life that are encountered throughout the New Testament yet are often puzzling to modern readers. Understanding the culture and daily life of the period is key to grasping the significance of a myriad of New Testament verses that refer to the objects and customs of the time.
The exposition of Jesus' life and teachings comprises a main component of the book. Analysis of the Savior's sermons reveals the often underlying doctrinal significance of his teachings. For example, the parable of the good Samaritan lays out the plan of salvation, and the Sermon on the Mount encapsulates the requirements for entering into temple covenants that hold the secrets of life eternal. The miracles and other acts of Jesus are depicted in their relation to the teachings of his ministry. The events of Jesus' life are outlined in detail and set in their historical perspective, as in the case of the contemporary legal setting for the prosecution and crucifixion of the Savior.
The apostles' and other disciples' courageous lives of service devoted to the Master's cause constitute an exciting portion of the book. The lives and teachings of Peter, John, and Paul are treated extensively. Confusing situations are sorted out, including questions like, Who are all the different Johns in the New Testament? Who is James the brother of the Lord? How many Marys appear in the gospel accounts? The book also presents charts on the apostolic era and the post-apostolic age, introducing the first stages of the apostasy that would involve the loss of many plain and precious things.
Also included are detailed maps of various regions mentioned in the New Testament and bibliographic notes that lead the most interested readers to scholarly treatments of the topics contained in the charts. Charting the New Testament can be the means to initiate further investigation into this exciting scripture or a way to share LDS perspectives with others who also value this sublime book of scripture. Its primary aim, the authors write, is "to make the New Testament simple without simplifying this vastly complex text." To order a copy of this book, use the enclosed order form or visit the bookstore section of the FARMS Web site.