The purpose of this introductory text is to help the interested reader to learn about and engage in critical study of the New Testament. It has been written for students and other lay people with no formal training in New Testament studies. Although it is not intended to be a 'popular' treatment - the kind of book that usually oversimplifies material and presents it so rapidly that it rarely challenges thoughtful readers - it avoids the technical language used in more advanced work. Its aim is to inform, not to convert; to educate, not to indoctrinate, and it has been designed for those willing to go beyond denominational or romantic approaches. First comes a general introduction to subjects important for understanding the settings of the New Testament writings. The three parts which follow deal with Jesus and the first three Gospels; Acts and Paul and his letters; and writings from times of oppression and controversy, the context in which the Fourth Gospel is studied. There are useful figures and diagrams to illustrate points relating to sources and style, and illustrations where these are relevant to the text. The result is a valuable resource book which will enjoy the widest possible use.