The Story We Live By (PDF Download)

A reader's guide to the New Testament

R Alastair Campbell

£12.99 Add to basket Buy now


At the heart of Christianity is a story - not a code nor a creed, but the story of Jesus. Christians have lived by this story for centuries and return to it again and again to renew faith and deepen understanding. This book is an accessible introduction to how that story is presented in the New Testament, firstly in the four different accounts of Jesus' life, death and resurrection, followed by the early years of the Church and the ensuing series of letters and commentaries on those events.

Starting with an analysis of the four Gospels, The Story We Live By shows how the New Testament writers shaped their material to communicate the truth of Jesus' teaching to their audiences and how their writings arise from and still maintain continuity with the Old Testament. It also covers issues such as authorship, textual dating and the different literary forms used from sermons to apocalypse.

The book contains a prologue and 15 chapters divided up as follows:

  • Prologue: The Story behind the Story (relationship between Old and New Testaments)
  • Part 1: The Story of Jesus (the four gospels - 5 chapters)
  • Part 2: The Church's Story (Acts, Paul, Paul's letters - 8 chapters)
  • Part 3: Living by the Story (Hebrews, letters of James, Peter, John, Jude; Revelation)


Endorsements for The Story We Live By (PDF Download) have not yet been added.

Author info

The Revd Dr R Alastair Campbell is a Baptist minister. After fourteen years of church work in Northampton, he taught New Testament at Spurgeon's College, London, from 1987 to 2000. He is now Lecturer in Biblical Studies at the United Theological College of the West Indies in Jamaica. Dr Campbell has also written The Elders: Seniority in Earliest Christianity, an exploration of New Testament church order (T&T Clark, 1994).


From Church Times 23 July 2004
R Alastair Campbell aims to provide 'readable and satisfying' answers to questions about the New Testament writings: 'How did they come to be written? What do they say to us today?' and to do so in such a way that the reader is able to 'see the New Testament as a whole', and not fragmented. He offers a guidebook to the New Testament room by room.

His structural image is the storyline: the Creed is a story; the Gospels are four versions of the story of Jesus; the church's story is revealed in Acts and in Paul's letters; the apostolic letters and Revelation show what it means to live by the story; the Old Testament (selectively Abraham, Moses, David, the exile and the Servant of the Lord, Daniel and the Son of Man) is the story behind the story; and all this becomes our story.

Campbell copes with the diversity of four Gospels in terms of portrait-painters - for example, the portraits of Winston Churchill at Chartwell, or the different uniforms selected by theological-college principals for their formal portraits. He also uses two versions of an anecdote about Spurgeon and the lamplighter, showing not only differences in detail, but more importantly in the moral of each story. The reader should respect the lesson of each Gospel, and not strive to harmonise them.

This is a guidebook that relies on such verbal illustrations, and offers some independent ideas. It has five pages of endnotes, but it has no index.
Reviewed by Dr John M Court , Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Theology and Religious Studies, in the University of Kent at Canterbury.

Book details

  • ISBN: 9781841017556Z
  • Published: 01 March 2009
  • Status:
  • Format: PDF Download
  • Pages: 280
Messy Church resources
Bible Reflections for Older People - Subscription