As future academicians, it is very helpful to engage in a scholarly community, highly specialized to your discipline, and relevant at a more general level so you can learn from similar or parallel disciplines. Plus, when it comes time for getting a job, membership in scholarly societies shows that you show an active interest in the state of the research of your field. So, I am trying to join societies that seem pertinent to my NT studies, as I can afford it – some socities are rather pricey!
Here are some helpful societies:
Society of Biblical Literature – this is kind of a no-brainer; it boast a massive membership role and the most well attended conference for biblical studies; it is a key place for hearing the best scholars present and a great place to be able to offer a paper as a student. Their US meeting partners with the American Association of Religion and accumulates about 10,000 each year for the conference.
The International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies – If you work with the NT, chances are you do some interaction with the LXX. This society is quite small compared to, say, SBL, but it is the only society focusing on the Greek Scriptures.
Tyndale Fellowship – a british evangelical-ish society that is not limited to biblical studies, but certainly has a strong OT/NT component. The Tyndale Fellowship holds conferences at the Tyndale House (Cambridge) and publishes the Tyndale Bulletin.
Evangelical Theological Society – The most-American group of scholars from biblical studies, theology and church history that holds an annual meeting in conjunction with SBL. The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society is quite popular, but the quality of the conferences and the direction and vision of the society depends quite a bit on its current leadership.
Institute for Biblical Research – a small evangelical group that also coordinates conferences during SBL (as an ad hoc session). They also publish a periodical.
British New Testament Society – they hold a conference annually and it is well attended by UK staff and postgrad students. Unfortunately, the webpage is sorely out of date and lacks information on membership. If you know more about how to become a member, please let me know.
For short descriptions and links to many of the above check out: http://ntgateway.com/scholars/soc.htm.
I am currently a member of SBL, ETS, and IBR with pending membership with Tyndale Fellowship. Now, how long I will be able to afford membership fees is unknown!
Hope this helps. If any of you know other useful societies for NT, please add a comment.