First, let’s mention what this book is not. It is not a one-volume commentary on the New Testament. If you are looking for analysis of difficult issues and texts you will be largely disappointed. Nor is this a Bible handbook giving copious details about authors, dates, outlines and the like. If you need that kind of information you would be wise to look elsewhere.
What you will find in The Message on the New Testament are twenty-eight transcribed and edited sermons, one on each book plus an overview message. There is much to commend in Dever’s volume: it gives solid exposition of the biblical texts, presents excellent overviews of the New Testament books, sets forth a great example of how to preach this type of sermon and is edifying to the reader.
There are also some negatives—mostly unavoidable due to the nature of the project:
- Difficult issues are mostly skipped.
- By necessity, the subjects covered within each sermon are selective—these messages are an overview, not detail-oriented.
- Some of the sermons are date sensitive (e.g. when preaching at Christmas or New Year the sermons are adjusted to those events).
- Dever’s covenantal theological bias occasionally shows up—which is to be expected.
Each chapter ends with a prayer and a number of questions for reflection or small group Bible studies. The Message of the New Testament serves as a good source for private study and as a model for preachers and teachers.