I think that the best way to describe the purpose of the book is to steal the first paragraph from the author's preface to the first edition: "A former New Testament colleague was once asked by a student how he could learn to do exegesis, intending that his teacher should suggest a book. My colleague answered, 'You will just have to take a course.' That answer is the tacit admission of what all of us who teach NT know to be true: There simply is no book that serves either as a textbook or a guide for students to learn the exegetical process, from the opening of their Bibles to the writing of the paper. This book hopes to fill that lacuna."
This book's target audience is an academic one whose end to exegesis will be a paper (or an expository sermon), but as a layman I have found it to be extremely helpful, even indispensable, in my exegetical endeavors to better learn and therefore accurately apply the Word of God. Also, the book is written primarily for those who know Greek (I do not know enough to even be dangerous); however, in the new edition Fee has made the attempt to provide alternative exercises (such as compare many different versions and maybe use a textual commentary to try to determine as close as possible the original) for the English only student.
CHAPTER 1: Guide for Full Exegesis
Chapter 1 basically organized in outline form, providing first the "initial steps for all genres," first naming the major exegetical step that must be performed and then providing more and more detailed information and guidance on each step. Then moving past the steps that are the same for all genres, Fee gives the steps necessary for various genres (i.e. Epistles, Gospels, Revelation, etc). Finally the chapter ends with a section on moving from interpretation to application.
CHAPTER 2: Exegesis and the Original Text
Also arranged in outline format with the following sections (1) Structural Analysis, (2) Establishing the Text, (3) Analysis of Grammer, (4) Analysis of Words, (5) Historical-Cultural Background, and (6) Analysis of Pericope. Just as in the other chapters, the outline works from very general headings and general paragraphs of information to very specific and technical subheadings.
CHAPTER 3: Short Guide for Sermon Exegesis
I find myself often in Chatper 3 as I study as Fee uses this chapter to show how good, solid exegesis will move into the most powerful, Word-filled sermons. If you teach from the Word (as a pastor, small group leader, youth group leader, whatever) I recommend this book and this chapter in addition to Rediscovering Expository Preaching by MacArthur et al.
CHAPTER 4: AIDS & RESOURCES FOR THE STEPS IN EXEGESIS
Fees ends in referring the student to othe very useful resources organized by type.
I would be amiss if I did not address the one downside to this book which I believe is the temptation to "do the steps" and skip the prayer, the heartsearching, the repentance, the awe, the worship. An unregenerate person can "do the steps" and if done responsibly come up with an exegetical position, maybe even a correct one. We cannot know God through human wisdom (1 Cor 1:21). Fee mentions this temptation, but it is by no means the focus of the book, nor should it be. The temptation to be purely academic in Bible study is a great one, and a "how to" book on the subject could propagate this error in some. However the book should not be condemned simply because the method of presentation (which is a highly effective one) could be taken by the cold hearts of some to their folly. Rather, understand the evil of your own heart which is always beside you (Romans 7:21), crucify your flesh, repent where necessary, and seek the truth of God which is found in the Bible with a disciplined, passionate fervor. It is in this final endeavor that "New Testament Exegesis" is invaluable.
Finally, if you use Libronix Digital Library System, I would STRONGLY recommend you go ahead and buy this along with Stuart's Old Testament Exegesis book for Logos. If not you will find yourself with a dog-eared and bookmarked book as you flip back and forth as Fee makes extensive use of referencing other portions of his text.