I often start these book logs with a few sentences on my life, since I don’t generally write anything personal on my blog. As I started writing it this time around though, it got a bit long and I decided to just do a separate personal post in the coming days. Up until very recently my life was pretty static and unexciting….but things are a-changin!! Now onto the month in books.
- Paul and Union with Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study – Constantine Campbell. This book received the Christianity Today 2014 Book Award in biblical studies. It really is a must-read for all serious students of the NT, especially if you have special affection for the topic of union with Christ. Hear Dr. Campbell talk about this book in this short (3:40) interview.
- Is there A Doctor in the House?: An Insider’s Story and Advice on Becoming a Biblical Scholar – Ben Witherington III. Written by one of the most accomplished and renowned evangelical NT scholars of our time, this is an enjoyable and helpful read for any with interest in pursuing academia in biblical studies. It doesn’t have as much practical advice as I had expected (Nijay Gupta’s Prepare, Succeed, Advance is probably more straightforward guidelines) and is instead more anecdotal. You feel like you’re having a conversation with him.
- Hidden But Now Revealed: A Biblical Theology of Mystery – G. K. Beale and Benjamin L. Gladd. This book starts with a study of the use of mystery in the book of Daniel that provides background for the rest of the book, a study of every occurrence of mystery in the NT. Because of the key NT doctrines to which the concept of mystery is connected, as well as implications on hermeneutical issues concerning the NT use of OT, this book is an important and fruitful one to read. Full review here.
- The Unbelievable Gospel: Say Something Worth Believing – Jonathan Dodson. This is a helpful and refreshing book on evangelism for Christians disillusioned by traditional conceptions and methods. It’s marked by a sensitivity to the culture, an awareness of the importance of relationship, and an emphasis on the Holy Spirit. Full review here.
- The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus – Michael Bird. The latest from NT Jedi Michael Bird, this book is “concerned primarily with the questions of how the Gospels came to be, what kinds of literature they are, and how they relate to Christian discourse about God” (viii). The Gospel of the Lord covers topics such as models of oral tradition, the Synoptic Problem, the Johannine Question, and the genre and goal of the gospels. This book is a great introduction to critical issues of gospels study, especially for those with academic interest. It provides a fantastic survey of literature and gives the budding scholar a great birds-eye view of the history and current landscape of Gospels study. Full review here.
- Christ, Our Righteousness: Paul’s Theology of Justification – Mark Seifrid. I’ve read a lot on Jesus and the Gospels this year, but I’m returning to my first love – Paul. I don’t care that Gospels is the Lady Gaga of NT studies and that everyone hip in NT is moving over to Gospels – I gotta follow my heart 😛 Anyway, in this volume of IVP Academic’s “New Studies in Biblical Theology” series, Seifrid offers a detailed examination of justification by faith in the Epistle to the Romans followed by a brief survey of the theme in the rest of the Pauline corpus as well as the rest of the NT. Along the way, he ties justification to important themes such as the law and final judgment, interacting critically with the New Perspective on Paul.
- Paul and the Law: Keeping the Commandments of God – Brian Rosner. Rosner rejects the sacred partitioning of the law into moral, ceremonial, and civil; “the question is not which bits of the law Paul is referring to in a given instance of nomos, but the law as what” (p.29, emphases original). His thesis is that Paul understood the law as three moves: repudiation (as law-covenant), replacement (by ethics arising from the gospel), and reappropriation (as prophecy and wisdom). This is a helpful and accessible book on an important and perennially debated topic.
- Heaven (Theology in Community series) – Christopher Morgan and Robert Peterson, ed. The latest in Crossway’s Theology in Community series, Heaven like its predecessors, brings together an all-star team of evangelical biblical scholars and theologians who love the church and are involved in various forms of ministry. The book is lay-accessible, practical, and free from technical jargon while biblical and theological. Great book about heaven for laypeople. Full review here.