We’ve seen a recent uptick in introductions to the Bible, so now is a good time to briefly take stock.
New Testament Introduction
1.Blomberg has now written a two-volume intro to the NT. It’s strong on the historical Jesus.
Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey (B&H Academic; 2nd edition, 2009)
by Craig L. Blomberg
From Pentecost to Patmos: Acts to Revelation: an Introduction and Survey (Inter-Varsity Press, 2006)
by Craig L. Blomberg
2.This is a big, conservative, well-formatted, up-to-date intro to the NT. A bonus point are sections on the inspiration and canon of the NT. Between this work and Blomberg's (see above), you’d be very well served.
The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament (B&H Academic, 2009)
by Andreas J. Kostenberger, L. Scott Kellum, Charles Quarles
3.This is not quite as detailed or up-to-date as (2), but it’s a highly competent, conservative intro to the NT. Useful for ready reference.
An Introduction to the New Testament (Zondervan; 2nd edition, 2005)
by D. A. Carson, Douglas J. Moo
4.Metzger updated this classic work a few years before his death. It has a decidedly apologetic thrust.
New Testament: Its Background, Growth and Content (Abingdon Press; 3rd edition, 2003)
by Bruce M. Metzger
5.This wouldn't be my first pick. Porter is one of Carson’s star students. McDonald is less reliable. It’s a bit to the left of some other titles listed here. But it’s also very well informed, with lots of useful information.
Early Christianity and its Sacred Literature (Hendrickson Publishers, 2000)
by Lee Martin McDonald, Stanley E. Porter
6. This is somewhat dated, but the scholarship is rock solid up to the time of the last edition. More of a reference work than ready reference. A monument to conservative scholarship.
New Testament Introduction (InterVarsity Press; Rev Upd Su edition, 1990)
by Donald Guthrie
7.Obviously dated, but the quality of the scholarship endures. Zahn was the most erudite NT scholar of his generation. Generally conservative. And this is available online.
Introduction to the New Testament (1917)
By Theodor Zahn
Old Testament Introduction
1.This is probably the best all-around intro to the OT. Full coverage. Up-to-date. Well formatted. Generally conservative. A bit to the left of Archer, but not by much.
A Survey of the Old Testament (Zondervan; 3rd edition, 2009)
by Andrew E. Hill, John H. Walton
2.This is the most conservative Old Testament intro. Archer was a great scholar. Strong on higher criticism, but weak on literary/theological analysis. It’s the logical successor to E. J. Young’s venerable introduction.
A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Moody Publishers, 2007)
by Gleason Archer
3.This is the opposite of Archer. Strong on literary/theological analysis, but weak on higher criticism.
An Introduction to the Old Testament (Zondervan; 2nd edition, 2006)
by Tremper Longman III, Raymond B. Dillard
4.To the right of Longman/Dillard, to the left of Archer. Somewhat dated. Strong on higher criticism. Harrison was a representative of the Albright school.
Introduction to the Old Testament (Hendrickson Publishers, 2004)
by R. K. Harrison