Three tips for studying the New Testament (for beginners)
Not necessarily the most important nor in order of importance:
- Purchase a couple of NT Introduction books and make sure that they represent two different perspectives. For example, you could try the Carson & Moo volume, An Introduction to the New testament (conservative evangelical - inerrancy, Peter wrote 2 Peter-or-our-faith-is-in-vain sort). But if you get that one also purchase David deSilva's volume of the same title (moderate evangelical - wouldn't want to cause offence sort) or even try Raymond E. Brown's equally imaginatively titled book, An Introduction to the New testament (foaming mouthed Catholic with a liberal bent sort).
- This will sound trite but is more important than anything else that could be said here: read the New Testament! An old German NT scholar, Adolf Schlatter, used to say that people tend to miss what is right in front of their eyes (the NT!). It is best to start there before darting to commentaries, word studies, pseudepigraphal parallels etc. Prayerfully read the NT of course, but don't just get hung up in holy meditation on your favourite verse. Also read thinkfully! I believe God loves it when we seek to love him with all our minds.
- Start to learn the habit of enjoying NT related books that are more informed about matters of exegesis, historical background, hermeneutical subtelty etc. Have a look at catalogues of such publishinghouses as, e.g., T & T Clark, Eerdmans, Hendrickson, IVP Academic, Paternoster, SPCK, Baylor, WJK, etc.
So many more points could be added. But what other tips would you offer (for beginners)?