For the past several years, I have consistently used Bruce Longenecker’s historical-fiction textbook The Lost Letters of Pergamum in my NT survey course. It blends engaging plot with expert insight from the Jewish and Greco-Roman world of the first century. I have not found a better textbook that connects students to the world of the earliest Christians. Students – almost without exception – rave about this book.
Recently Baker published a second edition of the book (April 2016) – the book is essentially the same with some light edits. Firstly, the font is more attractive. Secondly, in terms of content, the preface has been re-written to allow the reader to get into the story sooner. Also, in the middle portion of the book some light edits have been made for ease of reading as well. (Someone asked me if this was a sequel – I wish! Alas, no, it is a revised edition)
I would suggest that if you already have the first edition, this new edition is not really necessary (though I dig the new cover!). If you don’t have the book at all, this second edition is the place to go, and I can imagine it also works well in an adult Sunday School as a fun way to teach about the world of the New Testament.
NB: The new edition is now in perfect alignment with the audio version of LLP – this is helpful to know if you assign LLP as a textbook and some students opt for the audio version. Or simply if someone with the audio wants to check the wording of something.