The following brief bibliography is intended to suggest the first references  a seminary student engaged in theological interpretation of the New Testament will want to consult; the bibliographies and notes of these works will in turn lead the student to other significant resources. Occasional annotations suggest a work's particular value. Commentaries are identified only by author's name.


I welcome suggestions for augmenting the bibliography; please email with "NT Bibliography" in the subject line.


Historical Setting of Early  Christianity

E. P. Sanders, Judaism: Practice and Belief 63 bce-66 ce. Best and clearest account of

Judaism at the time of Christian beginnings, especially in Palestine.

Hans-Josef Klauck, The Religious Context of Early Christianity.  Most accessible

introduction to the pagan milieu of the early church.

Everett Ferguson, Backgrounds of Early Christianity. Encyclopedic guide to the first-

century historical, cultural, and religious environment.

Everett Ferguson, Early Christians Speak (2 vols.). Traces aspects of religious practice

from the first Christian century into the second and third.


Introductions to the New Testament and Early Christian Literature

Luke Timothy Johnson, The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation.  Best one-

stop introduction to the texture of the documents composing the NT.

Lee Martin McDonald and Stanley E. Porter, Early Christianity and Its Sacred Literature.

Evangelical in orientation; superior to Johnson in its consideration of historical


Raymond Brown, Introduction to the New Testament. Unexciting but solid; virtually

defines the current consensus in historical interpretation.


Theological Interpretation of the New Testament

N. T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God. The most important work from

this prolific author, now the Anglican Bishop of Durham.

Richard Bauckham, James. An exemplary theological exegesis of one letter which also

includes an illuminating comparison of the ethics of James with Jesus' sayings,

Paul, and 1 Peter (pp. 93-108, 113-57).

Nils Dahl, Jesus the Christ

Bruce M. Metzger, The Canon of the NT: Its Origin, Development, and Significance



Dale Allison, Jesus of Nazareth

Markus Bockmuehl, This Jesus: Martyr, Lord, Messiah

John Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical  Jesus (4 vols.; 1991-)

E. P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus


The Gospels

Richard Bauckham, ed., The Gospels for All Christians

E. P. Sanders and Margaret Davies, Studying the Synoptic Gospels

Mark S. Goodacre, The Synoptic Problem: A Way Through the Maze

Philip S. Turner, Hidden Gospels

Nils Dahl, Jesus in the Memory of the Early Church



Robert Gundry

W. D. Davies and Dale Allison (3 vols., International Critical Commentary)

Paul Minear, Matthew: The Teacher's Gospel

Paul Minear, The Gospel According to Matthew: A Handbook for Prophets



Robert Gundry. Largely misses the big picture, but a valuable source of information on

each pericope of the Gospel.

Larry W. Hurtado (New International Commentary). Best overall guide to the

interpretation of the Gospel.

Austin Farrer, St Matthew and St Mark. Suggestive approach, if unconventional.



Robert Tannehill, The Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts: A Literary Interpretation,  vol. 1

Joel Green The Gospel of Luke (New International Commentary on the NT)

Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke



Raymond Brown (2 vols., Anchor Bible)

Martin Hengel, The Johannine Question.

Rudolf Schnackenburg (3 vols.)



Robert Tannehill, The Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts: A Literary Interpretation,  vol. 2

Colin Hemer, The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History

Luke Timothy Johnson,  The Acts of the Apostles

Bruce Winter, The Book of Acts in Its First Century Setting (6 vols.)



Nils Dahl, Studies in Paul: Theology for the Early Christian Mission

Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Paul and His Theology: A Brief Sketch

E. R. Richards, The Secretary in the Letters of Paul

E. P. Sanders, Paul



C. E. B. Cranfield

James D. G. Dunn (2 vols., Word Biblical Commentary)

Joseph Fitzmyer (Anchor Bible)

Luke Timothy Johnson, Reading Romans


1 Corinthians

Richard B. Hays (Interpretation)

Anthony Thiselton (New International Greek Testament Commentary)

Gordon D. Fee (NICNT)


2 Corinthians

Victor Paul Furnish (Anchor Bible)

John T. Fitzgerald (Abingdon)



Sam K. Williams (Abingdon)

J. Louis Martyn (Anchor Bible)



Markus Barth (Anchor Bible)

Nils A. Dahl (in Harper's Bible Commentary)



Gordon D. Fee

Markus Bockmuehl



Markus Barth and Helmut Blanke (Anchor Bible)


1-2 Thessalonians

Abraham J. Malherbe (Anchor Bible)


1-2 Timothy, Titus

Luke Timothy Johnson, Letters to Paul's Delegates



Joseph Fitzmyer

Markus Barth and Helmut Blanke



Harold Attridge (Hermeneia)

Craig Koester (Anchor Bible)



Luke Timothy Johnson (Anchor Bible)

Richard Bauckham, James


1 Peter

Paul Achtemeier (Hermeneia)


2 Peter, Jude

Richard Bauckham (WBC)


Letters of John

Raymond Brown (Anchor Bible)

Stephen Smalley (WBC)



David Aune (3 vols., Word Biblical Commentary)

Richard Bauckham, Theology of the Book of Revelation

Austin Farrer, A Rebirth of Images

Austin Farrer, The Revelation of St John the Divine