This book aims to make the New Testament simple without simplifying this vastly complex text. The New Testament reports with candor and conviction the astonishing events that stunned the world through the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. Imagine sitting in a wayside inn and listening for the first time as Matthew or John recounted with fervent testimony what they knew.
Unfortunately, such live, original performances are no longer available to us. What remains for us to know about the early decades of Christianity is a collection of books and letters written at different times, by different people, to different audiences, and for different purposes.
This compilation includes many types of information about hundreds of people, scores of events, a multitude of places, and a host of details. Charting this material has not been easy, but in the process many features of the New Testament have become clearer and more meaningful.
This project began several years ago. Modeled largely after the charts in the successful Charting the Book of Mormon (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1999), the charts in this book have been developed, tested, and used in a number of settings. We appreciate what we have learned by using these charts in our university classes, during public lectures, at conferences and workshops, and on travelstudy tours in many parts of the Mediterranean world.
We hope that these charts will be useful to readers in many contexts: in classrooms, in family settings, and for personal scripture study. These charts are packed with more information than automatically meets the eye. They usually follow the King James Version but sometimes are based on the ancient Greek text.
Conceptualizing and distilling into charts the extensive and complex world of New Testament scholarship is a daunting task, as anyone who has tried to produce a few charts will quickly realize. For this reason, all these charts invite further research and reflection. Various sources are listed to encourage continued study. We hope that the broad range of subjects covered by these charts and references, including items on doctrinal and textual topics, in addition to geographical or chronological materials, will inspire study in many directions.
This collection of favorites, like any other sampling of graphic aids, is by no means complete. Many more charts could easily be added to this volume, on a wide variety of subjects and displayed in many different layouts.We encourage readers to create charts of their own, as well as to add further details or nuances to the charts included in this volume. As the rising generation of students is increasingly visually oriented, scholars and teachers may find chart presentations more and more useful.
We express our deep appreciation to all who have helped bring this book to completion. In particular, we thank James Gregory Welch for his organizational effectiveness and graphic expertise. Important research and valuable editorial contributions were also made by Amy Osmond Bingham, Katy Worlton Pulham, Victoria Franklin Johnson, other research assistants, and members of the Institute editorial staff.
We dedicate this book to our students who have traveled with us down the paths and through the pages of the world of the New Testament.
John F. Hall