The Story Retold
New Testament introductions fall into two categories: those that emphasize the history behind the text through discussions of authorship, dating, and audience, and those that explore the content of the text itself. Few introductions weave the Old Testament into their discussions, and fewer still rely on the grand narrative of the Old Testament.
But the New Testament was not written within a vacuum. Rather, it stands in continuity with the Old Testament. Israel's story is the church's story.
In The Story Retold, G. K. Beale and Benjamin L. Gladd explore each New Testament book in light of the broad history of redemption, emphasizing the biblical-theological themes of each New Testament book. Their distinctive approach encourages readers to read the New Testament in light of the Old, not as a new story but as a story retold.
"Beale and Gladd concisely survey each book of the New Testament through a biblical-theological lens. I plan to require this book for my seminary course that focuses on the theological message of each New Testament book."
"In a culture of increasing biblical illiteracy, The Story Retold serves the valuable purpose of taking the New Testament use of the Old Testament as the starting point for understanding the message of each New Testament book. In addition to covering the basic territory of authorship, date, recipients, and more, Beale and Gladd use their expertise in the field to show students how deeply rooted the New Testament is in the Old Testament. The numerous pictures and images help bring the text to life. If you want students to understand each New Testament book in light of its place in redemptive history, this is the textbook for you."
"Often students find New Testament introductions to be off-putting as they rehearse in detail the historical circumstances and scholarly theories and debates about each book in the New Testament. Beale and Gladd have written a book that is refreshingly different. They do not ignore historical questions but examine them briefly and concisely. The heart and soul of the book investigates the content of each writing in the New Testament in light of the Old Testament witness, considering the use of the Old Testament that informs the New Testament. Students will not only learn the contents of each New Testament book but also they are treated to a mini-New Testament theology. Students, professors, pastors, and all those who study the Scriptures will turn often to this invaluable resource."
"Greg Beale and Ben Gladd have written an unusual—and unusually good—introduction to the New Testament. It introduces the New Testament analogously to how Brevard Childs (nearly a half-century ago) suggested we understand the Old Testament: as a collection of otherwise-independent works of literature that achieve their unique status as telling the story of a people of faith, or, more accurately, as telling their pre-story, the story that created their story. Gladd and Beale introduce the New Testament writings on the basis of the Old Testament writings that preceded them, grounding all (both Old and New) in the substratum of the narrative of creation-fall-judgment-redemption in Genesis 1–3, through which all subsequent biblical narratives (both Old and New) find their meaning. Despite this overarching unified purpose, the introduction is remarkably sensitive to particular issues of genre, cultural background, and kerygmatic emphasis of each particular part of the New Testament. Finally, all of this is done in a manner that is surprisingly engaging and interesting—something not always achieved by texts on special introduction. I can only wish such an introduction had been available when I began my own academic study of the Bible over forty years ago."
"Many of us are accustomed to reading the New Testament two dimensionally: we simply ask what a text means and how it applies to our lives. This introduction encourages us to read three dimensionally. We discover that reading the New Testament is not only about the text and us; true understanding of the New Testament requires a third dialogue partner—the Old Testament. We discover how deeply immersed the New Testament authors were in the thoughts and themes of the Old Testament. Focusing on the way the New Testament authors incorporated the Old Testament allows the message of the New Testament to come into sharper focus than probably anything else could. I am happy to recommend this new resource."
"Introductions to the New Testament tend to suffer from two consequences. First, they have a tendency to focus on what is behind the text rather than what is in the text. Second, very few of them incorporate the Old Testament explicitly in their analysis and thereby surrender the storyline that started in Genesis. The Story Retold stems these oversights. New Testament authors wrote their works as a continuation of the story of Israel—to understand them we need to keep the big picture in mind and see how they appropriate the Old Testament. This book is an accessible introduction examining the distinctives of each book, but it does not neglect how New Testament authors develop and advance the history of redemption. Pastors, church members, and students will all benefit from this introduction."
"The Story Retold inaugurates an innovation in New Testament introductions where students are introduced to the books of the New Testament in the context of the Old. Beale and Gladd keep each book of the New Testament firmly tethered to the Old Testament narrative, which its authors presume. This new textbook is readable, reliable, and underscores the redemptive-historical threads of the whole Bible, with Christ as the focus."
"With its special focus on biblical theology, this innovative and attractively presented new work by Benjamin Gladd and G. K. Beale should work well in the classroom. While not a conventional New Testament introduction, The Story Retold promises to be a helpful resource by introducing each New Testament book in light of the Old Testament against a redemptive-historical backdrop. Well done!"
"Jonathan Edwards counseled that biblical theology is best understood through the historical lens of God's work of redemption. Here is an introduction to the New Testament that takes that counsel seriously. Beale and Gladd's book brings a lifetime of observation to bear on a project of illumining the narrative plan that unites the apostolic witness to Christ in the New Testament with God's preparatory work in Israel recorded in the Old Testament and related Jewish literature. Embedding text after text within the story by which the prophets and priests of Israel were inspired to give meaning to the light they were called to show to the nations, this survey documents the story's retelling through gospel and epistle in view of its fulfillment in Jesus Messiah. Jesus' apostles wrote with a conviction that creation, kingdom, covenant, temple, exile, promise, and the conquest of sin all reprise their roles in the drama of the Christ event. Jonathan Edwards would take delight in how reliably this book's retelling of the story will rekindle that biblical conviction anew for readers in the church and the academy alike."
"The Story Retold is aptly titled since it is the story of God's grand plan for humanity that began in Eden and culminated in the new Jerusalem told through the eyes of the New Testament writers. Beale and Gladd cover all of the standard features of a New Testament introduction but focus on how each New Testament book highlights the importance of Jesus Christ for the fulfillment of God's story. They patiently demonstrate the Old Testament connections for each key New Testament text. Following in the footsteps of Geerhardus Vos, Beale and Gladd have produced a unique work with its combination of biblical theology and Old Testament background. With superb graphics and wonderful readability, The Story Retold fills a significant void in the field of New Testament introduction, and should be welcomed by those who teach in seminaries as well as by those who teach upper-level college courses."
"This accessible introduction to the New Testament shines in highlighting biblical-theological connections between the New Testament and the Old Testament, and in so doing provides an unassumingly thorough orientation to New Testament theology. The book-by-book approach that highlights each book's redemptive-historical contributions will be particularly useful for students and pastors, and the running interaction with the biblical text ensures that everyone will come away better informed about the rich topographies of the final twenty-seven books of Scripture."
"The Story Retold is an outstanding resource for introducing students to the New Testament. It brings them straight to the fountainhead of New Testament doctrine—the Old Testament Scriptures. It combines profound biblical insight with lucid, readable prose and presents the best of contemporary biblical scholarship in a readily accessible way. I highly recommend this book."
"This volume represents a remarkable achievement, equally suited for classroom adoption and personal use. New Testament introductions can sometimes read like a running commentary on the state of New Testament scholarship, as a dizzying amount of competing theories are enumerated and evaluated. While not entirely ignoring historical-critical issues, Beale and Gladd have given us a refreshing alternative that returns to the text and context of the New Testament itself, working their way through every major passage, always with a view toward the crucial ways in which the Old Testament serves as an indispensable background for rightly interpreting the teachings of Jesus and his apostles. The result is a creative, clear, and compelling work undergirded by a lifetime of faithful scholarship in service of the church."
"The New Testament writers received their theology from the Old Testament and from the revelation of the person and work of Jesus Christ in history. The Story Retold brings together the Old Testament and the person of Christ, providing fresh insight for how the New Testament fulfills the Old Testament. This New Testament introduction will no doubt be a valuable resource for students, professors, and laypeople."
"Biblical illiteracy is perhaps one of the greatest weaknesses of the global church today. Those of us with the vocation of teaching the biblical text to bright and eager university students are given a great responsibility—one rife with eternal consequences. Yet even with the plethora of New Testament textbooks available, the goal of teaching biblical literacy is often still unmet. The triumph of this new textbook is its capacity to teach biblical literature, to explain the New Testament in light of its place within the biblical narrative at-large, without neglecting the first-century historical and cultural backgrounds. The textbook begins where every New Testament author begins: in Genesis 1–3 and with a substantial introduction to the rest of the Old Testament narrative leading up to the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Students journeying through the New Testament are introduced to biblical themes and motifs fulfilled in the New Testament: image of God language, sin and death, temple and presence, exodus and exile, and covenantal promises, to mention just a few. This is a textbook we should all be teaching from, especially if we want our students to be biblically and theologically minded, recognizing Jesus Christ as the New Testament authors did—as the fulfillment of God's long-awaited promise to restore his good creation. In short, it's a brilliant New Testament introduction and one I look forward to using in my classroom."
"Students of the Bible will greatly benefit from this fine volume. While briefly accounting for such issues as authorship and date of composition, the unique strengths of this New Testament introduction are found in its discussion of biblical-theological themes and in its extended summaries (really minicommentaries!) on each biblical book. The authors have an especially keen eye for how the New Testament canon regularly draws from the Old Testament Scriptures and redemptive history. The result is an introduction to the New Testament that assists us to grasp the message of the Bible as a whole."
"Greg Beale and Benjamin Gladd have written a marvelous introduction that not only deftly covers the standard issues of a New Testament introduction but also plugs a significant hole—how each New Testament book fits within the broad sweep of the history of redemption. Most significantly, they draw out the connections between each New Testament book and their important Old Testament antecedents. First Corinthians provides a good illustration of this. Here Beale and Gladd connect the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15) with Old Testament and extrabiblical anticipations and hope. What does all this mean? Biblical revelation no longer needs to be viewed as a fractured collection of independent and unconnected ideas. With this work, the New Testament is seen in its glorious dependence on the Old Testament. And most importantly, the New Testament is now seen as building on and extending the Old Testament. Beale and Gladd are to be congratulated for this stellar job of unpacking and integrating the text. Simply terrific."
"Beale and Gladd have produced a unique resource that moves far beyond what we have come to expect in a New Testament introduction. Students will enjoy studying the literature and theology of the New Testament on its own terms—as the unfolding of the literature and theology of the Old Testament. The authors' expertise is evident throughout; yet the book is accessible, and it avoids the overly cumbersome details about New Testament scholarship that can sometimes frustrate students. Perhaps the greatest value of this book will be in the patterns of thought and interpretive methods it cultivates in readers. Students will grow in their ability to discern the meaningful meshwork of connections between the Testaments while orienting the contents of the New Testament to the grand narrative of Scripture. We needed a resource like this, and two of the best have delivered!"
"Greg Beale and Ben Gladd have written a singular and insightful New Testament introduction that situates each book within a biblical-theological storyline. They concisely cover the usual introductory issues, and then largely treat the books in light of the Old Testament. This volume offers a fresh and savvy approach and is well worth your read."
"Most academic books fit into a genre, but this one defies easy categorization. Part introduction, part commentary, and part theology, this book is most of all a guidebook. It places scholarship on Scripture into the service of an integrated grasp of Scripture. It stresses story, but it is the history of a message with the power to renew our lives and redeem the world. It moves toward repairing the fateful move of biblical scholarship two centuries ago to separate the Old from the New Testament in misleading and harmful ways—with Beale and Gladd we return to one whole Bible! A welcome touch is illustrations—graphic depictions that engage the imagination and remind us that Scripture is not just concepts and controversies but a window on our world in light of the Word of God who made it. Overall, a fresh and compelling exposition of how thirty-nine Old Testament writings intertwine with twenty-seven New Testament writings to yield the single most important narrative ever."
"Christian higher education aspires to apprentice students with wisdom for the lifelong accomplishment of God's calling within the corporate mission of the church in all professions. Strategic to this task, The Story Retold by Greg Beale and Ben Gladd is a guide to be treasured as it convincingly traces God's design for creation, humanity, cosmic reality, covenant relationship, redemption, and eternal life as inaugurated in the saving work of Jesus Christ and to be consummated in the new heavens and the new earth. As it gives students a firm grasp of their place within God's eternal plan, The Story Retold will increasingly serve as a priceless aid to the mission of Christian higher education."
"The New Testament authors are steeped in the worldview and story of the Old Testament, and they continue that story and show its climax in Christ. Shouldn't we address this part of the literary and historical context of the New Testament in our introduction courses? Beale and Gladd fill this gap with a textbook that is accessible to both college and seminary students. The Story Retold introduces each New Testament book through the lens of major biblical-theological themes and then walks through its major sections, drawing attention to Old Testament connections along the way. Even where one might disagree with specific interpretations or intertextual suggestions, the groundwork will be laid for fruitful thought and discussion in class. This book will serve well as a needed supplement to the traditional introduction approach."
1. The Story Line of the Bible
2. The Use of the Old Testament in the New
3. Introduction to the Gospels
4. The Gospel of Matthew
5. The Gospel of Mark
6. The Gospel of Luke
7. The Gospel of John
10. 1 Corinthians
11. 2 Corinthians
15. Colossians and Philemon
16. 1 and 2 Thessalonians
17. The Pastoral Epistles
20. 1 Peter
21. 2 Peter and Jude
22. Johannine Epistles
Ancient Writings Index