The use of current, reliable sources in our study and teaching is important. A study of the background and customs in Bible times is essential if we want to come to an understanding of the original meaning of the biblical text. One set of books that are helpful in this area is entitled New Testament Documents Illustrating Early Christianity. I think Eerdmans now handles the complete set of 9 volumes.
This is not to say, however, that older works are without value in our study. I have observed that some important material, after being noted by several scholars, will then be overlooked by later writers. Eventually few people have the original book and are unaware of the material.
One of the valuable older works is Light From the Ancient East by Adolf Deissman which was published originally in English in 1910. Deissman is the scholar who informed us that the Greek of the New Testament was the koine, common, vernacular Greek of everyday communication. Soon I plan to share a comment from Deissman about travel and preaching.
Listen to one of the parables of Jesus:
Then he said to them, “Therefore every expert in the law who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and old.” (Matthew 13:52)