This book has been hailed as an essential textbook for seminarians, and certainly it has its place at such schools and among such scholars. Despite the adamant praise the book has received, however, I think the book was sadly misnamed. This textbook is far less “an introduction to the New Testament” than it is “an introduction to textual criticism of the New Testament.” What information they present about the actual Bible can be gotten anywhere, from any good study Bible. The meat of their text is a record of who says who wrote or did not write what portions of the Scriptures! Although understanding the many angles of textual criticism and their dangers to the authority of Scripture might be necessary for many students of the Bible, all this debate over who did or did not write what and when gets really old. In fact, I found Carson and Moo’s textbook to be at once necessary, but ultimately very annoying.
Since “no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2Peter 1:21), the debate over textual criticism—to the common man—is a moot point and nothing but a red herring diverting him away from the true Truths that Scripture holds. I’m glad I have this book in my reference library, in case some liberal wants to come by and challenge my understanding of the Word’s authenticity. But beyond that eventuality, I don’t think the book will get much use from me. I would hate to get so bogged down in the history of the Word as to lose faith in the Word itself.