Though I didn’t read all the new releases I was excited about in 2014 (but do not worry, the best books will not fall through the cracks and I have reviews coming of some stellar releases from the end of 2014) and I’m trying desperately to have a good balance of old books in my reading diet (to avoid the chronological snobbery C. S. Lewis so famously wrote about), I am already eagerly anticipating quite a few new books scheduled to come out this year. Below are the books I am most looking forward to and that every self-respecting bible/theology nerd should keep an eye out for (actually, you’ll see that the list is quite biased toward my primary interests. I apologize to OT nerds, those not particularly fond of Paul, and Arminians).
Commentary on Hebrews (Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation) – Thomas R. Schreiner (February 2015, B&H Academic). This will be the inaugural volume of a new series that will be very unique, treating every book of the Bible from the perspective of biblical theology as well as relating the content to the life of the believer and the life of the Church. I am very excited about this series and am certain that it will be a great gift for the Church that will be simultaneously academically rich and rigorous as well as edifying and practical. Schreiner is one of my favorite scholars, so I am particularly excited about this first volume. And it’s even better that a review copy is already on its way to me 🙂
Bound for the Promised Land (New Studies in Biblical Theology) – Oren R. Martin (March 2015, IVP Academic). I love IVP Academic’s NSBT series and will probably eventually read every volume. This forthcoming volume demonstrates how, “within the redemptive-historical framework of God’s unfolding plan, the land promise advances the place of the kingdom that was lost in Eden. This promise also serves as a type throughout Israel’s history that anticipates the even greater land, prepared for all of God’s people, that will result from the person and work of Christ and that will be enjoyed in the new creation for eternity” (from publisher’s description).
The Epistle to the Romans (NIGTC) – Richard Longenecker (November 2015, Eerdmans). I am eagerly anticipating this commentary and will be buying it as soon as it’s available, and you should too if you’re looking for a semi-technical commentary on Romans. And if you’re a true Pauline nerd and just cannot wait for this commentary, read Longenecker’s Introducing Romans to hold you over. He basically wrote it as an extended introduction to his forthcoming commentary.
Advances in the Study of Greek: New Insights for Reading the New Testament – Constantine Campbell (July 2015, Zondervan Academic). Publisher’s description: “Advances in the Study of Greek offers an introduction to issues of interest in the current world of Greek scholarship. Those within Greek scholarship will welcome this book as a tool that puts students, pastors, professors, and commentators firmly in touch with what is going on in Greek studies. Those outside Greek scholarship will warmly receive Advances in the Study of Greek as a resource to get themselves up to speed in Greek studies. Free of technical linguistic jargon, the scholarship contained within is highly accessible to outsiders.”
Studies in Paul’s Letter to the Philippians – Hans Dieter Betz (January 2015, Mohr Siebeck). In this study Betz presents “seven chapters of new exegetical investigations focusing on controversial passages and issues of the letter. These chapters represent separate engagements over a period of several years and employ the standard historical-critical methodologies, including rhetorical and literary criticism…the studies offer new proposals for analyzing difficult passages and issues, and lay the groundwork for understanding the letter as a whole” (from publisher’s description).
The Righteousness of God: A Lexical Examination of the Covenant-Faithfulness Interpretation – Charles Lee Irons (February 2015, Mohr Siebeck). I believe this is the revised version of Irons’s dissertation at Fuller Theological Seminary under the supervision of Donald Hagner and Seyoon Kim (I think Mark Seifrid was the external reader). This study “provides a critical examination of Cremer’s chief arguments for the relational, covenant-faithfulness interpretation. The author argues instead for the view that ‘the righteousness of God’ in Rom 1:17; 3:21-22; 10:3; 2 Cor 5:21; and Phil 3:9 is the status of righteousness that comes from God as a gift” (from publisher’s description). Yes, another study challenging something related to the NPP. I can’t get enough of this stuff!
Paul and the Trinity: Persons, Relations, and the Pauline Letters – Wesley Hill (March 2015, Eerdmans). From the publisher’s description: “Paul’s ways of speaking about God, Jesus, and the Spirit are intricately intertwined: talking about any one of the three, for Paul, implies reference to all of them together. However, much current Pauline scholarship discusses Paul’s God-, Christ-, and Spirit-language without reference to trinitarian theology. In contrast to that trend, Wesley Hill argues in this book that later, post-Pauline trinitarian theologies represent a better approach, opening a fresh angle on Paul’s earlier talk about God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Spirit. Hill looks critically at certain well-known discussions in the field of New Testament studies — those by N. T. Wright, Richard Bauckham, Larry Hurtado, and others — in light of patristic and contemporary trinitarian theologies, resulting in an innovative approach to an old set of questions.”
Paul’s Divine Christology – Chris Tilling (April 2015, Eerdmans). This isn’t technically a new book, as it was published by Mohr Siebeck in 2012. But WUNT monographs are a bit inaccessible to most of us, and so there was great rejoicing across the nerdy land the day it was announced that Eerdmans would publish an affordable reprint. For more info read Nick Norelli’s review. And then preorder the book from Eerdmans. (Oh, and I’m supposed to be getting a review copy of this….unless someone forgot. Ahem, Chris 🙂 )
Defending Substitution: An Essay on Atonement in Paul – Simon Gathercole (May 2015, Baker Academic). Granted, it’s only an essay and therefore rather short; and yes, some might feel like any more talk on this topic is truly beating a dead horse; but I never get tired of good words on the (traditional view of the) atonement, and Gathercole is one of the finest NT scholars of our day. I’m excited to read this. I do still find the topic of Pauline soteriology intellectually stimulating (though I know many are tired of it), but even if I didn’t I’d keep reading on this because it’s the gospel. And I want to keep reading, thinking, meditating, and singing (yes, singing!) about it till the day faith becomes sight.
Reading Romans in Context: Paul and Second Temple Judaism – Ben Blackwell (July 2015, Zondervan Academic). Publisher’s description: ” Readers of Paul today are more than ever aware of the importance of interpreting Paul’s letters in their Jewish context. In Reading Romans in Context a team of Pauline scholars go beyond a general introduction that surveys historical events and theological themes and explore Paul’s letter to the Romans in light of Second Temple Jewish literature. In this non-technical collection of short essays, beginning and intermediate students are given a chance to see firsthand what makes Paul a distinctive thinker in relation to his Jewish contemporaries. Following the narrative progression of Romans, each chapter pairs a major unit of the letter with one or more thematically related Jewish text, introduces and explores the theological nuances of the comparative text, and shows how these ideas illuminate our understanding of the book of Romans.”
Gospel of Glory: Major Themes in Johannine Theology – Richard Bauckham (August 2015, Baker Academic). Richard Bauckham. ‘Nuf said.
Reformed Catholicity: The Promise of Retrieval for Theology and Biblical Interpretation – Michael Allen and Scott Swain (January 2015, Baker Academic). “Can Christians and churches be both catholic and Reformed? In this volume, two accomplished young theologians argue that to be Reformed means to go deeper into true catholicity rather than away from it. Their manifesto for a catholic and Reformed approach to dogmatics seeks theological renewal through retrieval of the rich resources of the historic Christian tradition. The book provides a survey of recent approaches toward theological retrieval and offers a renewed exploration of the doctrine of sola scriptura. It includes a substantive afterword by J. Todd Billings” (publisher’s description).
John Frame’s Selected Shorter Writings, Volume 2 (February 2015, P&R). Volume 1 came out last year. These are both great for Frame fans (as they contain previously unpublished essays), as well accessible introductions to Frame for those intimidated by his larger volumes.
Common Grace and the Gospel – Cornelius Van Til, edited by K. Scott Oliphint (March 2015, P&R). “What point of contact does the Christian have with the world in order to bring the biblical message to the nonbeliever? How can the doctrines of election and total depravity be reconciled with the universal offer of the gospel and human responsibility? Does our Lord show favor to saint and sinner alike? Restoring the full text of the original 1972 work, this collection of annotated essays addresses questions on common grace and its relevance to the gospel” (from publisher’s description).
The Election of Grace: A Riddle without a Resolution? – Stephen N. Williams (April 2015, Eerdmans). This is the inaugural volume to be published from the Kantzer Lectures in Revealed Theology, a biennial lecture series hosted by the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. “The Kantzer Lectures address the crisis of theology in the church. In particular, they confront the powerful, and not entirely unwarranted, prejudice that theology is irrelevant and unrelated to real life. They do this by showing how the knowledge of God derived from revealed theology is indeed practical” (See full purpose here). I’m particularly excited about this volume because election is perennially one of the most controversial Christian doctrines, source of both misunderstanding and heated debate among the primary camps. It also tends to be seen as impractical and insignificant, just a source of pointless heady debate by those who do not passionately hold to a particular view.
After expounding the Bible’s teaching on election, Williams turns to questions of theological method and substance. He maintains that the subject of predestination must be considered in a wider biblical context than it often is and that we cannot expect to understand election within a comprehensive systematic framework. What matters is the relation of particular truths to the particulars of life, he says, not the systematic relation of truths to each other. Williams draws on and applies the insights of remarkable nineteenth-century Anglican leader Charles Simeon throughout his study, concluding the book with a cogent discussion of Karl Barth on election (from publisher’s description).
Mark, Manuscripts, and Monotheism: Essays in Honor of Larry W. Hurtado (January 2015, T&T Clark). This festschrift to one of the most significant NT scholars of our time looks like a fabulous read not just for those who already appreciate Hurtado’s scholarship, but also for anyone looking for some excellent essays in current scholarship related to the Gospel of Mark, textual criticism, and early Jesus-devotion (the last of which Hurtado is probably most know for).
Fundamentals of New Testament Criticism – Stan Porter and Andrew Pitts (April 2015, Eerdmans). This looks like a it will be a wonderful, accessible, and concise by introduction to the topic by two excellent NT scholars.
I (Still) Believe: Leading Scholars Share Their Stories of Faith and Scholarship – John Byron and Joel Lohr, ed. (September 2015, Zondervan Academic). “I (Still) Believe explores the all-important question of whether serious academic study of the Bible is threatening to one’s faith. Far from it—faith enhances study of the Bible and, reciprocally, such study enriches a person’s faith. With this in mind, this book asks prominent Bible teachers and scholars to tell their story reflecting on their own experiences at the intersection of faith and serious academic study of the Bible” (from publisher’s description).