Skip to main content

Book: What is Biblical Theology?

One of the pitfalls of book reviewing is addressing books written by people that are obviously incredibly smarter than you are as a reviewer. While this may have never happened to you, it hits me from time to time, and today’s book is certainly one of those. What is Biblical Theology? by James M. Hamilton Jr., (Ph.D., professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), is from one of the sharper minds currently active in evangelical theology.

What is Biblical Theology? addresses the title question. Now, that may seem obvious to you, but it’s not uncommon to see a book pose a question and then chase a rabbit. The other action is to pose a question, then grind an axe in your answer rather than truly express the material.

Hamilton has avoided those two pitfalls here. He begins with a basic explanation of the term “biblical theology” and then works forward by expanding how he sees the grand narrative of the Bible.

This is the strongest aspect of Hamilton’s work. When I was in seminary, the courses I took on “Biblical Theology” were a little loose on defining the concept, and carved it out more as a sub-discipline of “Systematic Theology.” Here, we see a clear definition and exposition of theology working through Scripture.

In making the concepts clear, Hamilton has held back on the deeper ranges of theological understanding. His desire that readers finish this book, rather than glaze over and give up, motivates the brevity. Could more examples be given? Certainly, and I have that book in hardcover on my shelf, written by the same author: God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment. It is five times as long, and not likely to be read through in a week.

This is the strength of What is Biblical Theology? One can read through it readily for an introduction to the concepts of theology. The smaller size brings the cost down, and makes this a potential deep-reading choice for the study group or advancing solo learner.

I am uncertain whether this is an up or a down for the work, but oddly enough there are neither footnotes nor endnotes. For the most part, Hamilton uses simple parenthetical citations, with a concise further reading section finishing off the book.

Heartily recommend this for a clear look at the overall theology of the Bible. Rather than starting with a point and then proving it, Hamilton works clearly across what the text of Scripture says and demonstrates what it, therefore, means.

I was sent an e-copy of the e-book in e-xchange for the e-review.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Curiosity and the Faithlife Study Bible

Good morning! Today I want to take a look at the NIV Faithlife Study Bible. Rather than spend the whole post on this particular Study Bible, I’m going to hit a couple of highlights and then draw you through a few questions that I think this format helps with.



First, the basics of the NIV Faithlife Study Bible (NIVFSB, please): the translation is the 2011 New International Version from Biblica. I’m not the biggest fan of that translation, but that’s for another day. It is a translation rather than a paraphrase, which is important for studying the Bible. Next, the NIVFSB is printed in color. Why does that matter? This version developed with Logos Bible Software’s technology and much of the “study” matter is transitioning from screen to typeface. The graphics, maps, timelines, and more work best with color. Finally, you’ve got the typical “below-the-line” running notes on the text. Most of these are explanations of context or highlights of parallels, drawing out the facts that we miss by …

Abraham Lincoln Quoted by Jesus! Mark 3

Mark records a curious event in his third chapter (link). If you look at Mark 3:25, you'll see that Jesus quotes the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. After all, one of the highlights of the Lincoln years is his famous speech regarding slavery in the United States where he used the phrase that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." This speech was given in 1858 when he accepted the nomination to run against Stephen A. Douglas for Senate, but is still remembered as the defining speech regarding slaveholding in the United States. I recall being taught in school how brilliant and groundbreaking the speech was, how Lincoln had used such wise words to convey his thought. Yet the idea was not original to Lincoln. Rather, it was embedded in Lincoln from his time reading the Bible. Now, I have read varying reports about Lincoln's personal religious beliefs: some place him as a nearly completely committed Christian while others have him somewh…