Which New Testament scholars should we trust?

Books about Jesus

I was asked by a reader recently to outline why I recommend and refer to certain New Testament scholars and not others. I refer to historical scholars often enough, and other websites do too, she said, so how do we know who to trust?

I thought this was a good question. So here’s how I determine who I should take most notice of.

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Struggling with church

Book: Finding Church

About two years ago, this book was published. I reported on it here because I am one of 37 christians who relate some of their experiences of church in the book. (My chapter is copied on this site, at Church and me.)

When I received my copy of the book, I read a number of the chapters, but never finished it and never reviewed it here, and other books became higher on my reading list.

But these summer holidays I went back to it and read every story. It was well worth the read.

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Book review: Alister McGrath’s biography of CS Lewis

CS lewis book

CS Lewis was probably the biggest influence on my young christian faith. I read virtually everything of his I could get hold of, especially enjoying Mere Christianity, Miracles, The Pilgrim’s Regress, That Hideous Strength, The Last Battle and his essays Is Theology Poetry? and Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism. I read his autobiography, Surprised by Joy and the first book of his letters.

As I grew older I moved onto other writers, and only occasionally went back to Lewis, but I remain a fan. So I was very pleased to receive this book for a Christmas present, and had read it before New Year.

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How could some Jews believe Jesus was God?

Last Supper

Two years ago I wrote about the progression we can see in the New Testament of the disciples’ belief in Jesus (see How did Jesus become God?), how they seemed to go from incomprehension to belief he was the Messiah, to belief in him as the unique son of God. In particular, I referenced New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman’s then view that this process took 60 years (from Jesus’ death to the writing of John’s Gospel).

Not long ago Ehrman published his book on this topic (How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee), and he has changed at least some of his conclusions on this matter.

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Book review: The King Jesus Gospel

Book cover

Last week (Close to understanding Jesus?) I outlined how I came to see that much of the evangelical teaching I had received about Jesus didn’t really explain Jesus and his ministry in accurate terms historically.

It seems that many people are coming to similar conclusions, for example New Testament scholar NT Wright and the philosopher, the late Dallas Willard.

New Testament scholar and theologian, Scot McKnight’s 2011 book, The King Jesus Gospel, takes up the same theme, but from a theological rather than historical perspective. So I guess it is hardly surprising that Wright and Willard both contributed Forewords.

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Book review: ‘I love Jesus and I accept evolution’ by Denis Lamoureux

Book cover

Last year I posted about how christians are gradually becoming more accepting of the theory of evolution.

As part of that post, I reviewed the work of Denis Lamoureux, Associate Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Alberta in Canada, based on some online slideshow teachings he has produced.

I have now read his book on the same subject. What’s it like?

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