I have posted below the textbooks I am requiring for BIB 210: Biblical Literature II (New Testament Survey) which starts next Wednesday. Both this and OT survey "Bib Lit I" are required for all Taylor University students.
I have 45 students in the course. I have 30 freshmen, 8 sophomores and 7 juniors. They represent 17 different majors including accounting, chemistry, economics, engineering, environmental science, sociology, and visual arts. (Reminds me of a church). There are 15 different states and three countries represented.
1. Elwell, Walter A. and Robert W. Yarbrough. Encountering the New Testament: A Historical and Theological Survey. 2d ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005. I assigned a different book last semester but I used this one for lecture preparation. What I most appreciate about the book is its scholarly simplifying. Elwell and Yarbrough weigh issues as they are normally weighed in recent scholarship. For example, the four-source vs. two-source synoptic gospel hypotheses are not given much time at all. This is not crucial information for undergraduates nor is there a particularly helpful scholarship consensus to pass on to them. This was a huge question in the 1960's when source criticism was at its height. Furthermore this is an incredibly well-organized and well-written work. It is colorful and has great summaries.
2. Fee, Gordon and Douglas Stuart. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. 3d ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003. Make sure you get the third edition. Though not always crystal clear, this book engages the difficult questions about reading the Bible that trip up the sharpest readers. Later in life, students who wrestle with this material will be much better Bible study leaders and lay church leaders because they have wrestled with some important hermeneutical issues.
3. Bible. If you do not yet have a study Bible, I recommend the Zondervan TNIV Study Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006. (It costs $24.99-79.99 on Zondervan.com depending on the size and cover you choose among 9 choices). The TNIV is the updated version of the 1978-1984 NIV. It includes a number of improvements based on 25 years of scholarship since the NIV was published. I really think it has made the NIV obsolete though many churches are slow to change. It is famous or infamous for its inclusive language. I think they have been responsible and judicious in their use of inclusive language in the TNIV (see here) but there are definitely some conservative evangelicals who beg to differ. I recommend it to my students as an outstanding version to use in their reading through the New Testament during the semester. In my sermon preparation, besides consulting the original languages, I will consult the ESV, NRSV, NLT, The Message, and HCSB. See my description of the best Bible study tools on the web and more about Bible versions at my post here.