In his book, Introduction to the New Testament, Louis Berkhof investigates the history and purpose of the Gospels and Epistles in the New Testament. Berkhof’s sections begin with a brief outline followed by a comprehensive look at the characteristics, authorship, composition, and canonical significance of each New Testament book. Preceding his discussion of the Gospels, Berkhof discusses the nature and inspiration of the Gospels in general, and introduces the Johannine problem, in which the first three Synoptic Gospels are set apart from the latter Gospel, John. Berkhof’s Introduction relies on the findings of a wide range of New Testament scholars including the early Church Fathers. Berkhof’s references are very easy to navigate which makes Introduction to the New Testament a prime text for student study. In fact, Berkhof intended this work to be utilized in the classroom at Calvin Theological Seminary where he taught for nearly 30 years until becoming its president in 1944.
Introduction to the New Testament is designed for students and general readers, and directs its readers toward a greater appreciation for New Testament writings. This book includes an extended analysis of literature on the New Testament, including Berkhof’s own appraisal of the most influential 19th century New Testament scholars. Although Berkhof’s subject is the Bible, his pursuit is unapologetically theological: he aims to explain why the church reads and honors the New Testament as the Word of God, and to vindicate the claims of the canonical books against the criticism of modernist skeptics.