The history behind the New Testament is more than bland "background" information. It prompts us to consider how the Christian message sounded to real people, and how first-century events and developments affected how this message was told and lived.
The New Testament does not deliver "pure" religious ideas disconnected from social realities. That is, it isn't unconcerned with helping its earliest readers make sense of their experiences. Its authors look at the world around them and seek to help readers grasp that God is present in the here and now, still active in the changing realities that affect "everyday living."
23 May 2011
The Bible in Context
Here is a selection from a great piece from Huffpost Religion: