New Testament writers offer varied and persuasive pictures of Jesus that seek to draw people into faith.
For David Bartlett, New Testament Christology is “not so much a set of doctrines as a variety of stories, songs and scriptural interpretations that help Christian believers and Christian churches follow the Jesus they read about, hear about, and praise.“ Early Christians framed and told stories, shared teachings, testified to encounters, found solutions to problems, acted out in faith and love, and sang songs about and to Jesus Christ– the resurrected one who represents and shares God’s very self to repair and redeem a broken world.
Baptized by John the Baptist. Embarrassingly crucified. Teacher and interpreter of Torah. Reformer. Messiah. Proclaimer and agent of a new Kingdom era. Lord above and beyond Caesar’s empire. And most of all, a suffering, resurrected savior addressed through poetry, songs, stories, titles, and ongoing encounters with the community gathered by and in his name. Bartlett takes readers on a quick look journey through the New Testament writers’ understanding of Jesus and his saving significance. In the process, he reminds Christians and those who would understand their founding documents that these differing, context-dependent portraits of Jesus are vehicles of a practical, living faith. They don’t just say something, they do something, revealing an underlying conviction: somehow God was in Jesus Christ reconciling the world to God’s very self (2 Corinthians 5:19).
“David Bartlett’s substantial experience as a teacher and a scholar has yielded an accessible and compelling overview of how Jesus Christ was remembered and how his ancient followers proclaimed his significance. In this most useful book, Bartlett guides us into how to read the New Testament and understand the various ways it articulates a truly Christian faith.”
—Matthew L. Skinner, Professor of New Testament, Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, MN
“In this helpful addition to the Core Biblical Studies series, David Bartlett offers a clear, accessible, and penetrating ‘way in’ to the topic of New Testament Christology. Rather than starting with dogmatic claims, Bartlett traces the contours of story and hymn found in these earliest written reflections on Jesus the Christ. Students and professors alike will benefit from this book’s sensible combination of mainstream scholarship and fresh readings of key texts.”
—Suzanne Watts Henderson, Associate Professor of Religion and Director of the Center for Ethics and Religion, Queens University of Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
“The New Testament testifies to Jesus's identity and significance in rich and diverse ways. With clear writing and judicious reasoning, David Bartlett proves a most trustworthy guide through the challenging questions that attend New Testament Christology.”
—Greg Carey, Professor of New Testament, Lancaster Theological Seminary, Lancaster, PA
“I can imagine no better guide to lead us through the landscape of the varied New Testament writings concerning the identity and significance of Jesus of Nazareth. With a professor’s mastery and a preacher’s heart, Bartlett highlights distinct details of each portrait without ever losing sight of their common views. Clear, accessible, filled with insight—an illuminating read for every student of the New Testament, no matter where they are along the journey.”
—Audrey L. S. West, Adjunct Professor of New Testament, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, Chicago, IL