One of the trickiest things about the study of the New Testament is that every textbook seems to presume you know some things about the subject matter. But that’s not really a fair assumption upon which to build a class. You all come from different contexts with different relationships to the New Testament. So even if you all showed up to class knowing some things about the New Testament, I’m not sure what the common denominator would be.

Gif of a man looking at a lot of abstract mathematical expressions.

This leaves us to do what countless New Testament courses have done…dive right in.

Man on a Kayak launching off of a diving board into a pool and falling flat on his face.

For this reason, I’m going to leave you the flexibility to develop your notes in whatever way you see fit. But I have three suggestions to guide you as you study Daniel Lynwood Smith’s second chapter, “The Kingdom of …God?”

First, read to make sure you see the forrest for the trees. What does the “Kingdom of God” mean in the New Testament? As you reflect upon this central idea, make note of the artifacts, texts, and social world details that inform your gleanings. Use the glossary in the back to help you make sense of words you don’t know.

Second, define the following terms:

  • Hebrew,
  • covenant,
  • tetragrammaton,
  • scriptures,
  • crucifixion, 
  • resurrection,
  • basileia (p. 26),
  • temple,
  • Hellenism,
  • Second Temple, 
  • Seleucids,
  • Ptolemies,
  • Torah,
  • Maccabean Revolt,
  • Hasmonean,
  • Messiah,
  • Eschaton

As you use the chapter and glossary to look these terms up, always make sure to bring the term back to the concept of “Kingdom of God” in your notes.

Lastly, jot down a list of academic questions regarding (a) what you don’t know about the “Kingdom of God” and (b) any of the key terms/covered material that you want to gain clarity on during our class time.