This introductory text takes a secular approach to New Testament study. The book begins with a discussion of the differences between analytical and traditional church approaches. It maintains that students can learn to work with both and not feel that they must sacrifice one for the other. Davies does not presuppose students knowledge of biblical text or points of view, and he carefully explains topics such as how New Testament authors selected, edited and embellished sources to address concerns raised by their various communities. His clear and concise style enables students time to read both the book and the biblical text in depth. New to this edition: revised chapter on Paul placed ahead of the Gospels; new introduction to the Gospel of Thomas; new comprehension questions, and updated analytical exercises; comprehensive subject index.