Table of Contents—How to Understand and Apply the New Testament

How to Understand and Apply the New Testament: Twelve Steps from Exegesis to Theology by Andrew David Naselli


List of Figures   ix

Analytical Outline   xi

Foreword by D. A. Carson   xxiii

Preface   xxv

Acknowledgments   xxvii

Abbreviations   xxix

Introduction   1

1. Genre
Establish Guidelines for Interpreting a Passage’s Style of Literature   15
2. Textual Criticism
Establish the Original Wording   36
3. Translation
Compare Translations   50
4. Greek Grammar
Understand How Sentences Communicate by Words, Phrases, and Clauses   82
5. Argument Diagram
Trace the Logical Argument by Arcing, Bracketing, or Phrasing   121
6. Historical-Cultural Context
Understand the Situation in Which the Author Composed the Literature and AnyHistorical-Cultural Details That the Author Mentions or Probably Assumes   162
7. Literary Context
Understand the Role That a Passage Plays in Its Whole Book   188
8. Word Studies
Unpack Key Words, Phrases, and Concepts   206
9. Biblical Theology
Study How the Whole Bible Progresses, Integrates, and Climaxes in Christ   230
10. Historical Theology
Survey and Evaluate How Significant Exegetes and Theologians Have Understood the Bible and Theology   264
11. Systematic Theology
Discern How a Passage Theologically Coheres with the Whole Bible   283
12. Practical Theology
Apply the Text to Yourself, the Church, and the World   309


Conclusion – Look at the Book!   332

Appendix A – Why You Should Organize Your Personal Theological Library and a Way How   335

Appendix B – Why and How to Memorize an Entire New Testament Book   338

Glossary   343

Selected Bibliography   351

Index of Scripture   367

Index of Subjects and Names   373


Author Interview — Dan Zuidema

This week’s author interview is with Daniel R. Zuidema. He is the author of the Faithful Learning booklet, Chemistry.

  • Question #1—Tell us a little bit about yourself: where you’re from, family, job, personal interests, unique hobbies, what you do in your spare time, etc.

Zuidema_DanI grew up in Grandville, Michigan. My first encounter with the South was when my wife and I moved to North Carolina for graduate school—and we have never looked back!

I have been married to my wife Tami for sixteen years and we have four children: Lauren, Nathan, Joseph, and Jacob. During the summers we enjoy traveling to Michigan to visit family and go to the Lake Michigan beaches. I teach full-time at Covenant College and also part-time at Chattanooga Christian School. I love teaching at each of these schools because of the way the Lord has used them to provide opportunities to form deep, meaningful relationships with both students and colleagues.


  • Question #2—Which writers inspire you?

I have always loved John Calvin’s style. I find his Institutes of Christian Religion to be particularly inspiring, especially a lot of the passages in Book I where he writes of our knowledge of God the Creator.


  • Question #3—Have you always enjoyed writing?

Yes! When I was in 7th grade, my English teacher required us to keep a journal. I loved the way it enabled me to process and express my own ideas through writing. I was one of those peculiar kids who actually enjoyed working through Strunk and White’s Elements of Style in my 12th grade English class. I also loved the challenge of crafting the perfect sentence—it is exciting when you think of just the right word with just the right connotations to perfectly capture the thought you wanted to communicate! Writing a PhD dissertation in organic chemistry and various scientific journal articles presented other interesting and unique writing challenges that I also enjoyed. Although it’s stuff that will put most people to sleep, I see a certain elegance in the simplicity and succinctness of scientific writing.


  • Question #4—What inspired you to write this book, about this topic?

Jay Green approached me a few years back asking if I’d be willing to write this volume in the Faithful Learning series. I jumped at the chance to do so. The Lord has allowed me to be a part of the Christian education community ever since pre-school. I teach at a Christian college and high school now. I have a heart for Christian young people, whether they attend Christian schools or not. We need our Christian young people thinking about what it looks like to “do” chemistry in a way that is faithful to their calling to follow Christ and serve him in all aspects of life. I want to help them be intentional about this and to realize the way they pursue the discipline of chemistry is, in a sense, an act of worship. I want them to see that studying chemistry can be a way God deepens their understanding and knowledge of him and, by extension, their relationship with him.


  • Question #5—Do you have a specific spot where you enjoy writing most?

The Overlook at Covenant College on top of Lookout Mountain! You can see for miles on a clear day from there—it’s especially inspiring when thinking about God’s self-disclosure in Creation.


  • Question #6—Other than the Bible, do you have a favorite book?

Yes; it is The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum. I like the way it weaves an intriguing tale recounting the connection between poisons, murder, and the development of forensic science near the turn of the 20th century in New York City. I find it fascinating to think about how God’s sovereign hand has directed the course of history to allow forensic methods to be developed for detecting the presence of various poisons.

We know our God is a God of justice. Forensic science has been useful in bringing many criminals to justice. Also, we can see how God, in his common grace, uses forensic science to restrain evil. In comparison to a century ago, now, people are going to be a lot less likely to attempt murder by poisoning simply because it is so hard to get away with it. Society is safer as a result of the discoveries our Lord has allowed us to make in analytical detection of poisons.


  • Question #7—Do you have an interesting writing quirk?

When I am in the middle of a writing project, I keep a flashlight, notepad, and pencil next to my bed. That way if I happen to come up with just the right way of putting something in the middle of the night I can write it down! (If I wait until morning, the thought will be gone.)


  • Question #8—Favorite sport to watch? Why?

I love watching basketball! I am a high school basketball fanatic. As a high school student, I went to all but 11 of our school’s 104 games. (Don’t ask me how I remember that.) Division III college basketball is good too… as a college student, I did not miss a single home game in four years. It probably helped that I went to schools that won state and national championships. I still love going to games—I go to them with my children now. The atmosphere is so intense, and it is fun when you know the players as either your friends or as your students.

  • Question #9—How can readers discover more about you and your work?




Sean Michael Lucas (BA, MA, Bob Jones University; PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He is the author of 5 P&R titles and the contributor of one.


1. For a Continuing Church:The Roots of the Presbyterian Church in America

368 pages | Direct Price: $19.99 $15.00 | Paperback | SAMPLE CHAPTER

Summary—The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is the largest conservative, evangelical Presbyterian denomination in North America. And yet ministers, elders, and laypeople know only the barest facts concerning the denomination’s founding. For a Continuing Church is a fully researched, scholarly yet accessible account of the theological and social forces that brought about the PCA.

Drawing on little used archival sources, as well as Presbyterian newspapers and magazines, Lucas charts the formation of conservative dissent in response to the young progressive leadership that emerged in the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) in the 1920s and 1930s. Their vision was to purify the PCUS from these progressive theological elements and return it to its spiritual heartland: evangelism and missions. Only as the church declared the gospel with confidence in the inspired Scriptures would America know social transformation.

Forty years after its founding, the PCA has nearly 400,000 members and is still growing in the United States and internationally.

2. On Being Presbyterian: Our Beliefs, Practices, and Stories

288 pages | Direct Price: $14.99 $11.50 | Paperback

Summary—Pastor and seminary professor Sean Michael Lucas suggests that being Presbyterian means embracing distinctive beliefs, practices, and stories as one’s own. As new members, church officers, and potential Presbyterians read about beliefs, practices, and stories, they will understand and move to embrace this way of being Christian.

Written in a nontechnical style, On Being Presbyterian is a unique resource for equipping believers and introducing them to Presbyterian church practice.

3. Robert Lewis Dabney: A Southern Presbyterian Life

296 pages | Direct Price: $24.99 $3.00 | Hardcover | American Reformed Biographies series

Summary—Robert Lewis Dabney (1820–1898) was a Presbyterian theologian and educator who served on the faculties of Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, the University of Texas, and Austin Theological Seminary. Those who knew him—both friends and foes—viewed him as larger than life, “closer to a biblical prophet than a theological professor,” writes Sean Lucas.

As this biography explains, “Dabney was far more complex than either historians or admirers concede.” He was “in many ways a representative man, one who embodied the passions and contradictions of nineteenth-century Southerners.” As such he “provides a window into the postbellum Southern Presbyterian mind” and a reminder of how important nineteenth-century theology is for contemporary issues and debates.

Dabney has been described as an “apostle of the Old South,” a perception that may explain why this biography is the first of this key nineteenth-century leader in more than one hundred years. It is also the inaugural volume in the American Reformed Biography series.


4. What is Church Government?

32 pages | Direct Price: $4.99 $4.00 | Booklet | Basics of the Faith series

Summary—Many Presbyterians have never thought through what stands at the very heart of Presbyterianism: the church’s organization both locally and on a wider scale.

This booklet is a basic introduction to Presbyterian church government, examining it in light of the example set by Christ and his headship. Useful for new members, officer-training classes, and those investigating Presbyterianism for the first time, this biblical look at the church and its function in the world can help to meet the deep needs of our postmodern generation.

Basics of the Faith booklets introduce readers to basic Reformed doctrine and practice. On issues of church government and practice they reflect that framework—otherwise they are suitable for all church situations.

5. What Is Grace?

32 pages | Direct Price: $4.99 $4.00 | Booklet | Basics of the Faith series | SAMPLE CHAPTER

Summary—The doctrine of grace is at the heart of the Reformed faith. It is at the center of our best hymns, our truest expositions of Scripture, and our theological systems. Yet, even though it is such an important word, many people use it with little understanding of what it means. Even Christians familiar with the idea sometimes fail to grasp all that grace implies.

Here Sean Michael Lucas cuts through popular misconceptions about grace and exposes inadequate definitions of the word. He turns to the authority of the Bible to understand what grace truly is and all that it entails. This theologically rich and pastorally sensitive approach to grace is accessible to all Christians—pastors and laypeople alike.

Basics of the Faith booklets introduce readers to basic Reformed doctrine and practice. On issues of church government and practice they reflect that framework—otherwise they are suitable for all church situations.

6. The Problem of Good: When the World Seems Fine without God – Contributor

192 pages | Direct Price: $14.99 $11.50 | Paperback | SAMPLE CHAPTER

Summary—The problem of evil is one we’re all familiar with . . . but what about the problem of good?

If Christianity is true, why do many people seem to live moral, fulfilling lives outside the gospel? Do such moral non-Christians really need the gospel, or will their good deeds save them? Is the traditional view of hell really justified? And if it is, how do we evangelize people who seem more upright than we are? Can we legitimately benefit from their contributions to culture and society?

Many of the answers to these questions lie in the doctrine of common grace. Here authors from a variety of backgrounds tackle these questions and others by exploring God’s common grace and its daily implications.

Includes discussion questions.

BOOK HIGHLIGHT—The Genesis Flood by John C. Whitcomb & Henry M. Morris

The Genesis Flood, 50th Anniversary Edition: The Biblical Record and its Scientific Implications by John C. Whitcomb & Henry M. Morris

560 pages | Direct Price: $16.99 $13.00 | Paperback | SAMPLE CHAPTER


Over fifty years ago Henry Morris and John Whitcomb joined together to write a controversial book that sparked dialogue and debate on Darwin and Jesus, science and the Bible, evolution and creation—culminating in what would later be called the birth of the modern creation science movement.

Now, fifty years, forty-nine printings, and 300,000 copies after the initial publication of The Genesis Flood, P&R Publishing has produced a fiftieth anniversary edition of this modern classic.


The Genesis Flood is as timely, thought-provoking, and helpful as ever. A tour de force and a must-read resource for pastors, teachers, scientists, and anyone who is troubled by the conflict between the biblical account of creation and the ever-changing claims of modern evolutionary theory.”

—John MacArthur

“The publishing of The Genesis Flood fifty years ago is the recognized birthdate of a movement blessed by God, and this classic work is also now recognized as a monumental milestone in the fight against compromise in the church and for biblical inerrancy in general during our skeptical modern era.”

—Ken Ham

“This book remains a classic work that is a must-read for those who would be informed and equip themselves both to stand on the authority of God’s Word in every area of life and knowledge and to defend their Christian faith.”

—Andrew Snelling

About The Authors

John C. Whitcomb studied at Princeton University and has a PhD from Grace Theological Seminary.

Henry M. Morris was president of the Institute for Creation Research, Santee, California. He studied at Rice University, obtained his PhD from the University of Minnesota, and served on the faculties of several major universities.

Excerpt taken from Heart Aflame: Daily Readings from Calvin in the Psalms

The following is an excerpt taken from page 38 of Heart Aflame: Daily Readings from Calvin in the Psalms.

FEBRUARY 7     Day 38

PSALM 16:1–2

Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. This is a prayer in which David commits himself to the protection of God. God is ready to succour all of us, provided we rely upon him with a sure and stedfast faith; and that he takes under his protection none but those who commit themselves to him with their whole heart.

You are my Lord, my well-doing cannot extend to you.* David begins by stating that he can bestow nothing upon God, not only because God stands in no need of anything, but also because mortal man cannot merit the favour of God by any service which he can perform to him. At the same time, however, he takes courage, and, as God accepts our devotion, and the service which we yield to him, David protests that he will be one of his servants.

Two things are distinctly laid down in this verse. The first is, that God has a right to require of us whatever he pleases, seeing we are fully bound to him as our rightful proprietor and Lord. David, by ascribing to him the power and the dominion of Lord, declares that both himself and all he possessed are the property of God.

Let men strive ever so much to lay themselves out for God, yet they can bring no advantage to him. Our goodness extends not to him, not only because, having in himself alone an all-sufficiency, he stands in need of nothing, but also because we are empty and destitute of all good things, and have nothing with which to show ourselves liberal towards him.

It is impossible for men, by any merits of their own, to bring God under obligation to them, so as to make him their debtor. The sum of the discourse is, that when we come before God, we must lay aside all presumption. When we imagine that there is any good thing in us, we need not wonder if he reject us, as we thus take away from him a principal part of the honour which is his due. On the contrary, if we acknowledge that all the services which we can yield to him are in themselves things of nought, and undeserving of any recompense, this humility is as a perfume of a sweet odour, which will procure for them acceptance with God.

Excerpt taken from page 38 of Heart Aflame: Daily Readings from Calvin in the Psalms by John Calvin, copyright 1999, P&R Publishing.