Everything we do, say and think is, in some sense, emotional. We describe ourselves and our experiences in terms of how we feel.In the New Testament, Jesus and Paul displayed a wide range of emotions in their lives and teaching. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards and others have recognized the vital importance of emotion in Christian experience. However, in recent times, many preachers and theologians have pushed emotion to the sidelines. The relationship between reason and emotion can be confused or obscure in much of our thinking. We need to look afresh at the causes, nature and role of felt experience in Christian living.
In this significant new study, Matthew Elliott asks 'What is an emotion?', and applies recent studies of emotion to the New Testament. While he discusses the vocabulary of emotion - love, joy, hope, jealousy, fear, sorrow, anger - his primary concern is with emotion itself, how it was perceived by the New Testament writers in their cultural context, and what role they thought it should play in the lives of Christian believers. He argues that our feelings play an essential role in Christian faith, theology and ethics.