A Popular Survey of the New Testament: Book report
A Popular Survey of the New Testament
Norman L. Geisler is an outstanding theologist and a well-thought-of voice in the on-going argument with respect to Christianity in America. He is an complete vindicator and a committed evangelical who is non intimidated by public contention. Apparently, Geisler became known as an excusatory upon attesting in the Scopes II creation/evolution instance which was held in 1981 in Arkansas. From that clip, he has worked indefatigably to defend the cause of Christianity in the 21stCentury.
Born in 1932, Geisler did his college preparation at Wheaton College and William Tyndale College. From 1963 to 1966, he taught at Detroit Bible College and was responsible for the section of doctrine of faith at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Later on upon traveling to Dallas Theological Seminary, he became a lector in systematic divinity. He has since held many places including that of dean of Liberty Center for Research at Liberty University in Virginia. He is a Ph.D. holder and is soon the dean of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina.
As an writer, Geisler has written over 40 books which include “When Critics Ask” and “When Cultists Ask.” His passion is for apologetics and can be summed by 1 Peter 3:15: “In your Black Marias set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an reply to everyone who asks you to give the ground for the hope that you have. But do this with gradualness and regard. . .”
Geisler’s book, “A Popular Survey of the New Testament, ” trades with wide topics without giving a batch inside informations. This book addresses both the ordinary church-goer and the Bible pupil. In an effort to do the reading of the New Testament an enriching experience, Geisler uses simple tabular arraies to compare and contrast the New Testament books. This attack helps the reader to hold a better apprehension of the books of the New Testament.
In the debut, Geisler clearly demonstrates that the chief subject of the New Testament is the individual of Jesus Christ. He is besides the chief character and the 1 who determines the flow of the New Testament disclosure. In fact, Jesus is non merely the subject of the New Testament but besides of the Old Testament. “Christ is inexplicit in the Old and explicit in the New … the whole Bible is about Jesus” ( p. 10 ) . Geisler’s chief statement, hence, is the centrality of Christ in the Bible.
As for the construction of the book, Geisler uses a six point inquiry construction as a agency to study each book of the New Testament. First, he answers the inquiry: Who wrote the book? Here he looks at both the internal and external grounds of each book refering the writing.
Second, he answers the inquiry: When was the book written? To reply this inquiry he lists the different possible positions for the reader to see. He so gives the reader the day of the month that is agreed upon by most bookmans.
Third, he answers the inquiry: To whom was the book written? This is an of import facet of the books being discussed as it gives the reader the context of the book’s first audience. It gives him or her a better apprehension of the sort of people that to whom the original message was written to.
Fourth, he asks the inquiry: Where were the readers located? Apparently the location of the book helps us to understand why the book was written. It besides enables the reader to hold an apprehension of the geographical, cultural and historical scene of the original audience.
Fifth, he answers the inquiry: What is it about? In replying this inquiry he deals with the content of the book. The replies to this inquiries form the chief subdivision of the book. It looks at the subject, the cardinal poetry, the cardinal words and phrases, other features, Christ’s relationship to the church, the excusatory value, and the lineation.
Sixth, he suggests how one can react to critics with respect to the hard inquiries of a peculiar book. Based on sound hermeneutical rules, Geisler handles a figure of controversial issues as they emerge in each book. These responses equip the reader to be able to competently confront those who would desire to misdirect him or her by misusing certain poetries of Scripture. For case, Galatians 3:13 which negotiations about Christ being cursed. Geisler responds that “Christ is blessed in Eden, but he became a expletive for us on earth” ( p. 189 ) .
Furthermore, Geisler ends each book subdivision with a set of inquiries which are utile for reenforcing what the reader or pupil has learnt. As one interacts with these inquiries, he better understands the content and all the facts, whether geographical, cultural or historical, that surround the book. This information, in fact, makes the work of Bible translators to go reasonably easier.
When compared with the other two books, “Gospel and Spirit: Issues in New Testament Hermeneutics” and “Scripture and the Authority of God” by Gordon Fee and Norman L. Geisler severally, the three authors build on each other’s statements to consolidate the fact that before any reading is deemed acceptable, it must foremost be subjected to the right hermeneutical procedure. The commonalty of the three authors is based on the statement is that without good hermeneutics, the Bible’s authorization and relevancy is greatly endangered.
Having read Geisler’s book, I have learnt rather a figure of lessons. But first and foremost, I must acknowledge that Geisler has done a great occupation in showing Christ as the cardinal figure of the Bible. He has handled it in such a manner that even the mean reader can happen it simple plenty to understand. He highlights the subjects to give an apprehensible overview of the accents of each book. I peculiarly appreciate the comparison and contrast attack that is used by Geisler to distinguish between the differences and the similarities of each book. His usage of initial rhyme, cardinal poetries and other informative tools within the book gives us a really utile model.
I have besides learnt that the books of the Bible were written in a cultural and historical context. Therefore, before one can construe a peculiar transition of the Bible, he or she must foremost appreciate both the cultural and historical context in which it appears. This makes it easy for the original or intended message to be discovered and to hold an thought of how the original audience understood it.
Looking at how Geisler has presented the stuff in the book, I do non believe I can believe add any other examples other than the 1s he used. His pick of illustrations ties in really good with his thought patterned advance in the book. Besides, for every book, Geisler has competently dealt with those issues that have the potency for controversial.
However, there are besides some other things that I have a few jobs with. First, while I like Geisler’s Christ-centered position of the Bible, I wonder whether each book has that as its intended message. A instance in point would be the book of Esther. Is it true, harmonizing to Geisler, that Christ is one of the major subjects of that book?
My position is that the book of Esther is a historical narration and must be treated as such. I besides hold the same position for the book of Judges. It is a historical narration and it would non be right to learn certain truths out of it that do non clearly come out of the book. In fact, Wright and Fee think good hermeneutics must let the Bible to talk for itself.
Additionally, I think the patterned advance of the book, due to its stiff manner, makes the book humdrum at some point. This rigidness about makes Geisler’s points appear apparently insistent as he handles book after book. However, it is must be noted the book is written with admirable simpleness.
As respects my hermeneutical accomplishments, reading Geisler’s book has been such an eye-opener. Not to be insistent, I have learnt three major lessons from Geisler. First, the demand to ever detect the cultural and historical background of the text. Second, the demand to detect the intended message of the transition ; and 3rd, the demand to see of the relevance of the application. Is the rule being taught a comparative or a normative? This inquiry must ever function as a usher before using a peculiar transition.
For a truth, my apprehension of the New Testament has improved in more ways than one. I think I enjoyed reading the book because of how it has been spiced with beautiful colour exposure, maps and charts in add-on to being written in an easy and informal manner. In fact, I am even believing of shiping on a series of instructions on the books of the New Testament that will be tailored for church seniors. Geisler’s book will decidedly be such a timely resource.
Another lesson that I have learnt is that hermeneutics is difficult work. It requires a batch of subject in footings of carry oning research and detecting the intended message that was given to the original listeners. Unlike what most sermonizers believe, good hermeneutics calls for a consistent and systematic survey of the books of the Bible. It is non about acquiring a poetry and doing it state what we want or what the people want to hear.
Furthermore, I have besides been impressed at how Jesus has been presented throughout the books of the New Testament. The image that Geisler paints has created a desire in me to desire to cognize him more ; to hold a closer walk with him. Paul says, “I want to cognize Christ and the power of his Resurrection and the family of sharing in his agonies, going like him in decease, and so, someway, to achieve the Resurrection from the dead” ( Philippians 3:10 – 11 ) . Mentioning an anon. poet, Geisler summarizes this beautiful truth as follows:
I find my Lord in the Bible
Wherever I opportunity to look,
He is the subject of the Bible
The centre and bosom of the Book …
Wherever I open my Bible
The Lord of the Book is at that place ( p. 16 )
Geisler’s book has a batch to learn the church today. In position of the rich lessons that we find in his book, the church needs to revisit her committedness to the ministry of learning the Word of God. Deliberate stairss must be taken to develop those who are involved in learning and sermon of God’s Word. It is non a affair to be taken lightly. In the book of Acts the apostles had to divide themselves from take parting in the helping of tabular arraies in order to give their full attending to the ministry of the Word and supplication ( Acts 6:4 ) . Convinced of this truth, Paul would subsequently compose to his boy in the religion to promote him to analyze and be such a 1 who “correctly handles the word of truth” ( 2 Timothy 2:15 ) .
It is astonishing that after many old ages of the church’s being, we still have some people who do non believe in the importance of theological preparation. They argue that the Holy Spirit teaches them and gives them disclosure depending on the topographic point and clip. This sort of thought has led many guiltless and unthreatening trusters astray. Most of the so called “revelations” are really adult male made and, frequently times, are intended to lead on the unsuspecting. In fact, it is covered with false spiritualty and presented in the name of the Holy Spirit.
A twosome of old ages back, there came a sermonizer ( name withheld ) who had a field twenty-four hours “selling” miracles in the major metropoliss of Malawi. The earnestness of the state of affairs notwithstanding, one could merely be prayed for upon the production of an envelope packed with seed-money for the awaited healing. This was a clear presentation that most trusters are nescient of the word of God. The inquiry is: How many more trusters will be taken advantage of by self-acclaimed work forces and adult females of God who care more about their bellows and non about the psyche of those come to them for aid?
Recently we besides seen the rise of Prophetss and prophetesses all over the topographic point. Inasmuch as some of them are sincere and unthreatening, the bulk of them leave much to be desired. Their instructions boundary line on nil but hocus-pocus and misrepresentation.
Imagine a prognostication claiming that God wants a certain womon to disassociate her hubby because he is the incorrect one. Such a prognostication decidedly does non hold with the clear instruction of the Scriptures. And yet, unusual as this may be, matrimonies have been lost in the procedure as a direct consequence of such prognostications. The truth is that more injury than good has been done in the name of prognostication and the “anointing.” And may be now is the clip for person to stand up and state, “Enough is enough.”
This province of personal businesss predominating in the church today can merely be corrected with sound Bible based instructions. “My people, ” God told Israel, “are destroyed from deficiency of knowledge” ( Hosea 4:6 ) . And so what the church needs is cognition that comes from learning “all the advocate of God” ( Acts 20:27 ) and non some crazy truths. We allow the Bible, as argued by Wright, to talk for itself one time once more. We have had sufficiency of human doctrines and small of God’s word coming from our daiss.
However, this cognition calls upon us to near the Word of God with the enablement of the Holy Spirit and good sharpened hermeneutical accomplishments. We can non afford to let our people to stay nescient when we have the chance to learn them the truths of the Word of God. I do non believe there could be a better clip than now.
Another thing worth mentioning is the deficiency of apologetics on the portion of today’s instructors and sermonizers. We have really few work forces and adult females who are postulating for the Bible in the face of all signifiers of erroneous philosophies and instructions. Geisler makes it a point to foreground those issues that are combative in the books of the New Testament. He does a good occupation in demoing us how to manage them.
In recent times, Malawi has seen the rise of secular humanitarianism onslaught that has attacked some of the cardinal instructions of the Christian religion. It is besides on record that really few of us have chosen to take a base. The ground for this because we do non cognize how to counter such onslaughts apologetically. Again, like mentioned earlier on, our chief challenge is deficiency of information and the needed hermeneutical accomplishments.
Geisler has set before us such a powerful illustration. He has taken clip to seek the Scriptures and develop the sort of responses that we can utilize to support the religion without acquiring physical about it. And as clip goes on, there is demand to go calculated about covering with the emerging false instructions that are designed to pervert the pure philosophy of the church.
In decision, I must squeal that Geisler has given us a enchiridion that we can all utilize to learn the incorruptible word of God to our church members. As instructors and sermonizers we are now have no alibi for go oning to present instructions that are non to the full processed both exegetically and hermeneutically. “A Popular Survey of the New Testament” is easy to utilize and can travel a long manner in turn toing most of the issues that confront in footings of philosophy and pattern. As a affair of fact, this is one book that can assist to better the quality of both our Sunday School and Bible survey stuffs. Furthermore, Geilser has besides given us a list of helpful mention texts which we can utilize when covering with controversial poetries in the Bible.
It is my supplication that Geisler’s book will happen its rightful topographic point in the church and be used to reply most of the inquiries that have ne’er been answered. I can merely trust that we will be low plenty to let the Holy Spirit to learn us new things as we continue to read Geisler’s book. This book has come to remain on my book shelf non merely as a mention book but besides as a beginning of inspiration.