B&H Academic’s Urban Legends of the New Testament book – rating 8.9

B&H Academic's Urban Legends of the New TestamentWe often take things either for granted or out of context and assume they are the truth. This book gives 40 common misconceptions about what people think the Scriptures say.  I appreciate the opportunity to review “Urban Legends of the New Testament: 40 Common Misconceptions” written by David A. Croteau.  I received a copy of this book from B&H Academic in exchange for my honest review.  I think that a majority of people who study the Scriptures diligently, will already likely know a good portion of these topics, however, it is still a very interesting read in my opinion.  The main takeaway that I think people should walk away with from reading this book would be the need to really take context into consideration when studying the Bible.  This book would be on my list of recommended books to have in your library.

I received a copy of this book from B&H Bloggers / B&H Academic for me to do a review on it. In full disclosure, I was not required or requested by B&H Academic to write a positive review.


I would give this book an 8.9 out of my normal 10 point rating scale.  On a “5 star” scale that some websites use, I would give it a 5-star rating.

The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
<http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html>: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


**See all sections below for full detailed review**

So the key take away for me in this book can be easily summarized by saying that it is imperative for Christians to read and study the Bible in context on their own and not just take what someone is saying as being the truth. I have seen many times where you hear someone speak on a topic and they sound authoritative on the subject, but in reality, they may be just passing down something they have heard once before without the due diligence of checking into it themselves.

Urban Legends of the New Testament: 40 Common Misconceptions is written very well and provides an interesting look into some common misconceptions that people have about the Scriptures. I would say that a majority of these misconceptions I have heard before – only a handful that I have not heard of previously.

The author does a nice job with each of the 40 topics by first explaining the legend in a way to present it as if he actually believes the legend. Giving the reader an interpretation in a presentation that they may have heard it in before. Then the author provides his interpretation in an attempt to prove the invalidity of the legend. Finally, he provides an application of what he feels is the correct interpretation that the reader can apply to their daily lives.

He categorizes these legends into one of two basic categories. First, we have some legends that can be traced as to the history of the legend but not have details as to why the incorrect legend was started. Kind of a non-provable legend if you will. The second category of legends is one where it has some partial truth to it, but it does not tell the entire story. In my opinion, one of the more common types of these legends would be when someone takes Scripture out of context to force some meaning into a Scripture that doesn’t belong.

This book is a very interesting read and very well written. Please keep in mind that the author very strongly does not want people to use this information “as a sledgehammer upon hearing someone preach one of these legends” as he states in the Prologue of the book. Rather, he provides guidance in his Epilogue on how we should be gracious and non-judgmental toward people if we hear them speaking of the urban legends as though they were the truth.

The goal of this book is to provide help to the reader to avoid falling into the trap of some of these legends, but more importantly, the author’s desire is to motivate his readers to pay more attention to the context when reading or studying the Bible. I feel that the author did a very good job of doing just that.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


Type of Book: Religion / Biblical Studies / Exegesis & Hermeneutics
Publisher: B&H Academic / Lifeway
Author: David A. Croteau @dacroteau
Publication Date: August 1, 2015
ISBN-13 of Book Reviewed: 978-1433680120
Price for the Book:  At the time of writing this review, the cheapest place to get this book is from Christianbook.com. They have it for $7.49 – suggested retail from the publisher is $14.99. Please note that these prices do not include any potential shipping charges.

If you would like to purchase this book, please support my page and purchase by clicking any of the links to Christianbook.com on this page like the one below.   

680123: Urban Legends of the New Testament: 40 Common Misconceptions Urban Legends of the New Testament: 40 Common Misconceptions
By David A. Croteau / B&H Academic* A fresh look at 40 commonly misunderstood New Testament passages. Avoiding misinterpretations and incorrect translations of ancient Greek, Croteau offers a brief explanation of each text and then carefully clarifies its historical, cultural, and literary context. Discover the truth about the events surrounding Jesus’s birth, his occupation, hell’s location, and more. 288 pages, softcover from B&H.

Physical Characteristics:

Binding: Paperback
Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
Number of Pages: 272

Typeface and Print:

The ease of reading this book was very good. Good printing and opaque paper make this easy to read the text on every page with very little show-through.

Ease of Use:

Readability of this book was very good.  It has a very nice flow and the author really explains the different legends very well.  The Epilogue is a very important portion of this book as well as it gives an excellent overview of why the author feels the majority of these legends came to be. He provides sound guidance on how to handle these legends with grace when we hear someone speaking on them.

Book Contents

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


Please leave a comment or question and I will try to respond a.s.a.p.
– Michael

This entry was posted in B&H Academic, B&H Publishing, Context, Culture, David A. Croteau, Exegesis, Greek, Hermeneutics, Jewish, Lifeway, Paperback, Scriptures, Spiritual Growth Book Reviews, Spiritual Life, Studying, Word of God and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.