Monday, July 27, 2009

A Twofold Dynamic to Understanding the NT

There is a twofold dynamic to understand the NT. It is important to read each individual book within its own context and frame of reference. In this regard, the critical issues of author, date, purpose, and so on (the standard fare for NT Introductions) are important foundational issues in interpreting the NT. But the book must also be read within its larger canonical framework. In this way, attention can be given to all the major elements of a given piece of writing: (1) the unique set of historical circumstances that occasioned a given book; (2) its own narrative development or flow of argument; (3) significant theological themes; and (4) the way in which a particular NT document sustains a variety of historical, literary, and theological interrelationships with other books included in the biblical canon.102

102 The preceding observations provide the underlying rationale for why the material is treated in the remainder of this volume the way it is (note especially that the book follows a chronological, rather than canonical, order of Paul's letters). The present remarks also provide the foundation for the final chapter on the subject of the unity and diversity of the NT.

(Köstenberger, Andreas J., L. Scott Kellum and Charles L. Quarles. The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament. [Nashville: B&H Academic, August, 2oo9], p. 29-30.)