Here’s my attempt to explain how to interpret and apply the Bible:
Andrew David Naselli. How to Understand and Apply the New Testament: Twelve Steps from Exegesis to Theology. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2017. xxx + 384 pages.
- 57-page sample PDF. That PDF begins with 43 generous endorsements and includes Don Carson’s Foreword and the book’s Introduction.
- Available from Amazon and Westminster Bookstore. Currently, Westminster Bookstore is offering the best deal.
- Available for Kindle and Logos Bible Software
- Available at a discount in a bundle with Jason DeRouchie’s companion volume from Westminster Bookstore and Logos Bible Software.
The book’s structure is simple. It begins by introducing exegesis and theology, which I break down into twelve steps. Those twelve steps are the book’s twelve chapters.
Whom Is This Book For?
Three groups of people:
- Students. This book could be a textbook for a college or seminary course on interpreting the Bible. (My school uses it for a course that our seminary students take during their first semester.)
- Pastors and people with theological training. This book could refresh and enhance how you understand and apply the New Testament.
- Thoughtful men and women who have little or no formal theological training. This book is also for thoughtful Christian laypeople. As I drafted this book, I requested feedback from some men and women who don’t have any formal theological training. I incorporated many of their suggestions because I want this book to serve everyone who is eager to understand and apply the Bible. A few parts of the book may be challenging for you if you do not have a lot of theological education, but if you are convinced that it is worth the effort (and it is!), then you can rise to meet that challenge. Tim Challies thinks so. (Tim gave me valuable feedback on a draft of my book, part of which led me to write this three-point list to specify the book’s target audience.)
The Story behind My Book (It’s a Fraternal Twin)
The long story is the story of my life and all the people God has used to influence me. (I highlight some of those people in the Acknowledgements.)
The short story is that I didn’t plan to write it.
I drafted it in summer 2015 as I prepared to record the course New Testament Exegesis for Logos Mobile Ed in a studio at the Faithlife headquarters in Bellingham, Washington. At the end of that process, John Hughes from P&R casually asked me whether I had any book ideas in mind, and it occurred to me that I could serve the church by taking the course notes I had drafted for a teleprompter and revising them as a book. My book maintains the informal tone and personal anecdotes from those lectures.
While I was recording the course New Testament Exegesis, my colleague Jason DeRouchie was recording the course Old Testament Exegesis. It was an honor to collaborate with Jason as I prepared my book and he prepared the companion volume How to Understand and Apply the Old Testament: Twelve Steps from Exegesis to Theology.
Our books are fraternal twins:
Both books have the same look, the same theological method, the same theology, and a Foreword by D. A. Carson.
It’s sweet to team up with my brother like this. We’ve already teamed up as professors at Bethlehem College & Seminary and as elders of Bethlehem Baptist Church. Now we’ve teamed up in print.
- Jason’s book is available from Amazon, Westminster Bookstore, and Logos Bible Software.
- Our books are available at a discount in a bundle from Westminster Bookstore and Logos Bible Software.
- Logos bundles our Logos Mobile Ed courses at a discount.
Here’s a 4-minute video with my brother Jason:
That video felt awkward to record, but it gives viewers a little taste of our camaraderie. (Background here.)
Not just two but three faculty members of Bethlehem College & Seminary recently wrote books on how to read the Bible, and those books just happen to release within a month of each other:
- Naselli, How to Understand and Apply the New Testament. Releases March 31.
- DeRouchie, How to Understand and Apply the Old Testament. Releases March 31.
- John Piper, Reading the Bible Supernaturally: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017). Releases April 30.
We didn’t plan that. It just happened. John Piper, our school’s chancellor, thought that was so remarkable that he suggested our school host a conference featuring these three books. It’s on the calendar for September 22–23 at Bethlehem Baptist Church’s downtown campus.
[Update: The three talks and two Q&As from the conference are available here.]
And it just so happens that I dedicated my book to John. I write in the Acknowledgements,
I dedicate this book to John Piper, who inspires me to look at the Book—and to keep looking. He influenced me so deeply that when I started dating my wife-to-be, I lent her my marked-up copies of The Pleasures of God, Desiring God, and Rediscovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and I asked her to read them to make sure that we were on the same page theologically. (She loved them.) John models how to look at the Book and exult in it.
This 3-minute video explains why I dedicate my book “To John Piper, who inspires me to look at the Book—and to keep looking.”
Exegesis and theology are thrilling because they help you know and worship God. I pray that God would use these books to help people know and worship him more deeply.
More about the Book
- Tim Challies review (3/21/2017)
- Steve Wellum review (of both DeRouchie and Naselli) for Books at a Glance (3/27/2017). Wellum is my favorite living theologian.
- Fred Zaspel interview (of both DeRouchie and Naselli) for Books at a Glance (3/27/2017)
- Calvinist Batman interview (3/30/2017)
- Tim Challies condenses part of my chapter on ST: “10 Strengths (and 10 Dangers) of Systematic Theology” (5/10/2017).
- Dave Jenkins interview (6/11/2017)
- How Not to Argue about Which Bible Translation Is Best—That TGC article condenses a section from my chapter on Bible translation (6/13/2017).
- Larry Rogier review (6/23/2017)
- Paul S. Jeon review in Themelios (August 2017)
- Sam Storms, “Top Ten Books of 2017” (12/25/2017)
- Jeff Purswell, “Significant Books for Pastors in 2017” (1/2/2018)