Urban Legends of the New Testament: 40 Common Misperceptions is an impressive work by David A. Croteau that discusses 40 "commonly circulated myths, repeated throughout the culture as common knowledge, but which isn't true."
But we're talking about the infallible Word of God, right? That is correct. But according to the author, certain passages of the New Testament have become victims of the notorious Urban Legend phenomena.
The titles of each chapter are the actual legends and are presented as if the author really believes what he is writing to be true. The reader will soon find out that is not the case. Croteau goes on to discuss the incorrect interpretation versus an accurate interpretation and then ends the chapter with his opinion of what the text means, followed by a practical application section.
The presentation and discussion of each myth is clear, although some are harder to piece through than others. The length of the chapters vary according to the history of the myth and depth of the discussion. Topics vary from the birth, life, and crucifixion of Jesus to Paul's profession, the plan of salvation, hell, divorce, money, pastors and their families, and cults. You can pick up the book and read only the chapters that interest you, although I do encourage you to read the introduction and epilogue.
The prologue discusses two types of legends: a mistaken-contains wrong information; misleading-those that need clarification. The cause and solution for urban legends of the New Testament come down to three components: Context, Greek, and Backgrounds. Croteau clearly discusses this at the end of the book and my only criticism is that I would have liked that information in the introduction. I believe it would have aided in my overall structure for comprehension.
Overall, the research was fascinating and I learned—a lot.
This quote from the final conclusion summarizes the purpose of this book:
"In the end our goal should be to interpret Scripture as accurately as possible, to apply that interpretation to our own lives, and to be transformed by God's Word so that our lives may bring glory to the One who rescued us from an eternal destiny in hell."
I highly recommend this book to all readers. Don't plan to read it in one sitting. Use it as a study guide and tool to inspire you to dig deeper into God's Word.
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.