Today’s book is Understanding Prophecy from Kregel Academic. Authored by Alan S. Bandy and Benjamin L. Merkle, both of whom are New Testament professors at Baptist schools. (Bandy is also the author of The Prophetic Lawsuit in the Book of Revelation, which sounds fascinating.)
On to the book at hand, which is substantially more affordable than Bandy’s Lawsuit volume. The prophetic passages of the bible are among the most studied and least understood, overall, as we often go to them as divination students rather than Biblical students. Authors Bandy and Merkle make the case in the introductory matters that when we look only to the end-of-time concepts in prophecy, we often miss what God is revealing about His character and His everyday work in the world.
That is not to say there is no element of forward-looking in prophecy. Nor that we shouldn’t check out those ideas, only that the Revelation (and Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel) is God’s Word about today, not just about “that day.”
In view of this, we have a book with 10 chapters and 2 appendices guiding the reader through the concepts of the prophetic in Scripture. The authors do not attempt to explain every prophecy in the Bible. Instead, they present a framework for understanding prophecy.
It follows that their presuppositions about Scripture and prophecy come through in the writing. Both assume that Scripture contains no errors and that predictive prophecy is possible. Further, that prophecy in Scripture is accurate, not imaginary.
Is it an easy read? No. This is a primarily academic book. There’s no fluffy moments or pictures, and there is a need for a basic grasp of Biblical interpretations principles.
If you’re into the quick-pop prophecy, trying to line up current events and popular figures with Biblical passages, then this won’t help you with that. In fact, it will probably knock that idea flat. Which would be healthy.
I heartily recommend this for pastors and those interested in deeper study in the prophecy sections of the Bible. The authors have done a good job explaining the presuppositions and viewpoints so that the reader knows their angle, and then presenting additional ideas beyond their own. I do not agree with some of their conclusions, but their process is helpful.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for the review.