Urban Legends of the New Testament surveys forty of the most commonly misinterpreted passages in the New Testament. These “urban legends” often arise because interpreters neglect a passage’s context, misuse historical background information, or misunderstand the Greek language. For each New Testament text, professor David Croteau describes the popular, incorrect interpretation and then carefully interprets the passage within its literary and historical context. Careful attention is given to sound principles of biblical interpretation to guide readers through the process and reach a more accurate understanding of each text’s meaning. QR codes have been inserted at various points throughout this book. By scanning the code with your mobile device, you can view a video of David Croteau addressing a specific urban legend.

With examples from the Gospels, Acts, the Epistles, and Revelation, Urban Legends of the New Testament will not only help readers avoid missteps in these forty texts but also provide a model for engaging in correct interpretation of other New Testament passages.

Part One: Urban Legends in the Gospels
1. There Was No Room at the Inn
2. We Three Kings of Orient Are
3. Shepherds Were Societal Outcasts
4. Jesus Was a Carpenter
5. Jesus Died When He Was Thirty-Three
6. All Giving Must Be Done in Secret
7. Do Not Judge Others
8. Jesus’ Most Famous Quote Is John 3:16
9. Hell Referred to a First-Century Garbage Dump near Jerusalem
10. The Gospel of John Never Refers to Repentance
11. The “Eye of a Needle” Was a Gate in Jerusalem
12. When Two Are Gathered in Prayer, God Will Be There
13. Jesus Sweat Drops of Blood
14. Jesus Was Flogged Once
15. Agapē Is a Superior Love to Phileō
16. “Go” Is Not a Command in the Great Commission
Part Two: Urban Legends in The Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles, and Revelation
17. Repent Means “to Change Your Mind”
18. The Philippian Jailer “Just Believed” and Was Saved
19. Paul Was a Tent Maker
20. Jews (and Jesus) Primarily Spoke Hebrew in Jesus’ Day
21. The Gospel Is Dynamite
22. Just Say You Believe in Jesus and You Will Be Saved
23. Synagogues Had Men and Women Seated Separately
24. Grace Is Unmerited Favor
25. Good Works Are Optional for Christians
26. Pastors Are Required to Do the Ministry of the Church
27. Jesus Emptied Himself of the Glory of Heaven
28. We Can Do Anything Through Christ Who Gives Us Strength
29. Abstain from All Appearance of Evil
30. Hell Is the Absence of God
31. A Divorced Man Cannot Be a Pastor
32. Money Is Evil
33. A Pastor’s Children Must Be Saved
34. Christians Are Commanded to Tithe
35. Christians Are Commanded to Go to Church
36. Women Should Not Wear Jewelry
37. First John 1:9 Is a Formula for Salvation
38. Christians Should Not Allow Cults into Their Homes
39. God Would Rather You Be Cold Toward Him than Lukewarm
40. Accept Jesus into Your Heart to Be Saved


David A. Croteau

David A. Croteau (Ph.D., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Professor of New Testament and Greek in the Seminary and School of Ministry at Columbia International University. He is co-editor (with Andreas J. Köstenberger) of Which Bible Translation Should I Use? (B&H Academic, 2013) and author of Tithing after the Cross (Energion, 2013).


Evangelicals rightly insist that 'Scripture only' is our source of truth. Yet our interpretations of Scripture sometimes owe more to tradition than to the Bible itself. David Croteau unmasks some common interpretations that have only dubious biblical support. But he does more than debunk these 'myths' of interpretation: he also helps us understand what these passages really are saying and why they matter. Perhaps just as importantly: he encourages all of us to be more careful and attentive readers of Scripture.

—Douglas Moo, Kenneth T. Wessner Professor of New Testament, Wheaton College

Urban Legends of the New Testament

40 Common Misconceptions
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Urban Legends of the New Testament

40 Common Misconceptions
List Price: $14.99
Buy Now