Book Review: The Later New Testament Writers and Scripture

posted in: Book Review, New Testament | 0

At the time of writing this review, I had not been employed by SPCK for two years. At your time of reading this, you should know that I’ve worked there, but don’t any longer. 

The Later New Testament Writers and Scripture Book Review

By way of introduction, this is a book continuing the authors mini-series of books about the usage of Scripture within Scripture. He’s written books on the place and role of the Old Testament in the New, and this book follows on from his (also published by SPCK) “Paul and Scripture” and “Jesus and Scripture”. Moyise gives great overview – in these two volumes, on Paul’s epistles and the Gospels respectively – of the usage, quotation and importance of Scripture in the New Testament. This volume, then, continues this trend, looking at the usage of scripture in Acts, Hebrews, James, 1+2 Peter, 1+2+3 John, Jude and Revelation.

First off, this is a technical book, though relatively accessible. For the undergraduate, lay theologian, or Church leader looking to understand  how the Old Testament is viewed and used by the New Testament authors. This makes it incredibly helpful – and very useful. Christians believe that the Canon of Scripture holds together, and is sufficient and authoritative. This book can aid us in understanding and defending the meaning of that. As a simple example of just how relevant a study this book is, Moyise points out early on that Acts itself has around 40 explicit quotations of Old Testament Scripture – it is clear that a real, full understanding of Acts MUST take into account its Old Testament links and context.

The book is divided clearly, logically and simply into six sections. The first two deal with Acts and 1 Peter, and their explicit relation to Scripture and Old Testament usage. The chapter on 1 Peter includes an interesting section on the Enoch Literature and how it can be seen to relate to 1 Peter. The third section deals with Jude, 2 Peter and the little, oft-maligned book of James. A useful note on the canon of scripture is found here – with the section on James having the three-fold focus of Justification by Works, Wisdom, and Prophets. The fourth section deals with Hebrews and Scripture – which is particularly helpful, and a resource I am likely to use in the future, especially if I were ever to have the privilege of preaching on Hebrews. The penultimate and fifth chapter deals with the book of Revelation and Scripture – with plenty of useful explanations of the biblical imagery in this eschatological drama. The sixth chapter, unsurprisingly, is Moyise’s conclusion – and I love a particularly element of the language of his conclusion;

“what we see in the later writings of the New Testament is both tradition and innovation. Some texts turn up again and again while others occur only in the one document. It could be likened to a musician who has first to learn the basic scales but then has the freedom to improvise”

I’d recommend this book to the groups mentioned above for a variety of reasons. It is clearly and enjoyably written, comprehensive and well laid out, and covers a decent range of issues across the slightly strange collection of awesome texts that is the Canonical New Testament.

 

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