The World of the New Testament

Why would Paul, A Hebrew speaking Jew, writing to Latin speaking Romans, use Greek? Why was the liberating message of the crucified messiah considered "foolish?" What did the first Christians look like to outsiders? Did Paul really endorse slavery and male headship? So many aspects and difficult issues of the NT are overlooked or misunderstood in the 21st century for the very simple reason that we don't know much about the world of the text. This course takes a look at the culture, customs, and values of the first century, especially as they relate to the NT. It asks the question "What was that world like?" and "How does the NT challenge it?" It shows how radical this minority group were in the face of the Roman Empire and invites the student to be challenged in their own convictions and values as 21st century Christians.

Quick Info

  • Currently offered by Alphacrucis: Yes
  • Course code: BIB254
  • Credit points: 10
  • Subject coordinator: Adam White


The following courses are prerequisites or corequisites:

Awards offering The World of the New Testament

This unit is offered as a part of the following awards:

Unit Content

Curriculum Objective

This unit locates the New Testament text within the Social and Historical context of the first century. It examines the various cultural factors that helped to shape the gospels and the epistles, as well as identifying the many points of difference between the gospel message and the Graeco-Roman worrldview.


  1. Explain the first-century culture surrounding the NT;
  2. Illustrate the role and function of Christians as members of the body of Christ and the broader community based on a similar understanding of the first-century church;
  3. Analyse various NT passages and themes through historical-critical exegesis and engagement with a wide variety of primary and secondary sources;
  4. Analyse the historical background and social context of the NT.

Subject Content

  1. The Intertestamental Period
  2. The Roman Empire and the first Christians
  3. The Layers of Graeco-Roman Society
  4. Life in the Empire
  5. Ancient Education
  6. Ancient Religion

This course may be offered in the following formats

  • Face to Face (onsite)
  • Distance/E-learning (online)
  • Intensive (One week: 7 hours per day for 5 days = 35 class hours + approx 85 hours out of class time for research, writing, exam preparation and execution, ancillary activities associated with completion of assigned tasks)

Please consult your course prospectus or enquire about how and when this course will be offered next at Alphacrucis University College.

Assessment Methods

  • Reading Responses (20%) 
  • Contemporary Presentation (30%) 
  • Major Exegesis (50%) 

Prescribed Text

  • Primary readings provided