Best of 2007

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Books in Bible and theology continue to pour from the presses at an ever-accelerating pace. Surely, of the making of books there is no end … (in fact, I’m working on a few myself right now). In case anyone is interested, here is my “completely objective” list of the “Best of 2007,” ranked in order of importance. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions regarding any additions or subtractions.

1. Greg Beale and D. A. Carson, eds. Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Baker. In the interest of full disclosure, I contributed “John” to this volume, but still no reason not to award first place to this book. The publication of this volume is truly a significant event in evangelical scholarship.

2. Bruce Waltke. An Old Testament Theology. Zondervan. The magnum opus of an exceedingly prolific Old Testament scholar.

3. (tie) John Piper. The Future of Justification. A Response to N. T. Wright. Crossway. A very helpful and important contribution to the ongoing discussion of the biblical teaching on justification and imputation.

3. (tie) Steve Jeffery, Michael Ovey, and Andrew Sach. Pierced for Our Transgressions. Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution. Crossway. A compelling defense of the doctrine of penal substitution.

5. Daniel Akin, ed. A Theology for the Church. B & H. A very fine collection of contributions on Systematic Theology produced by a Baptist team of scholars. Again, in the interest of full disclosure, the contributors include the president, dean, and colleagues of the school where I teach, but not a reason not to include this important new volume in this list.

6. Donald McKim, ed. Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters. IVP. A major second edition that will serve as a very useful reference for years to come.

7. Philip Noss, ed. A History of Bible Translation. American Bible Society. For anyone interested in Bible translation, this is a must.

8. Mark Strauss. Four Portraits, One Jesus. An Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels. Zondervan. Beautifully produced and competently written, this is a very accessible resource on Jesus and the Gospels, probably the best currently available on its level.

9. Jeannine Brown. Scripture as Communication. Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics. Baker. A stimulating new book on hermeneutical theory in the Vanhoozer tradition that is sure to make a contribution to the field.

10. Tom Thatcher, ed. What We Have Heard from the Beginning. The Past, Present, and Future of Johannine Studies. Baylor University Press. Thatcher has assembled a remarkable group of scholars representing the past, present, and future of Johannine studies. This book gives an excellent orientation to the state of the field. Includes an essay by Don Carson and a brief response by yours truly.

10 Comments

  1. I like the way you have given us some tables in your article on John in Commentary on the NT use of the OT. I wish the other authors had done so, too. (My wife is amused by my love of lists, but I find them useful.)

  2. The Real Heaven written by Joe Beam and Lee Wilson should be on this list in my opinion. I’ve linked to it above.

  3. Gentlemen,

    Benjamin A. Foreman (at University of Aberdeen) reviewed Goldingay’s OT Theology. The review is now available on http://www.beginningwithmoses.org. I read it and found it to be very helpful.
    Blessings,
    Lou

  4. Thank you for the lively discussion. Regarding Goldingay’s work, I am told there is a forthcoming review on beginningwithmoses.org.

    As to how a subjective listing can have a tie, well, in my judgment these two works are roughly comparable in influence and significance (even topic), and I just couldn’t decide to list one before the other, so I decided to call it a tie. Plus, I thought having a tie would make things more interesting. At least it caught your attention!

    Merry Christmas to all. Swapping our lists of favorite theological books is entirely in the spirit of exchanging Christmas gifts, isn’t it? Plus, some of these books could literally be Christmas gifts and be put under the tree, wouldn’t that be great?

  5. Brian,

    I agree with your comments regarding Waltke, particularly regarding the prophets. Though on my own site I ranked this book highly, his work on the prophets is lacking. However, I have found this to be the case across the board on Old Testament Surveys/Theologies. There seems to be a near-universal skimming over of the prophets. I recently preached a sermon series (12 messages) through the minor prophets, and locating good material on this portion of the OT was very difficult to come by.

  6. Thanks for sharing. I’ve still got two more books to finish (Kite Runner & Paul and Palestinian Judaism) but here’s my favorite list so far of what I’ve read this year that didn’t necessarily come out this year…

    1. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch

    2. The River of Doubt by Candice Millard

    3. The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    4. New Testament Textual Criticism: A Concise Guide by David Alan Black

    5. Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot

    6. The Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder

    7. Exclusion and Embrace by Miroslav Volf

    8. The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind by Mark Noll

    9. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

    10. Commentary on Romans by N.T. Wright

  7. Thank you for your post, most of these books will become, I suspect, reference books for many of us who seek a deeper understand of these specific topics.

    Is anyone else wondering how a tie occurred in a purely subjective ranking?

  8. Do you have any thoughts on Goldingay’s two volumes on OT Theology? I would appreciate any comments.

  9. Dr. Kostenberger,

    Thanks for the recommendation. These books will are valuable resources for any student of the Bible. I will purchase the “Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament” and Waltke’s work on the Theology of the OT. Currently, I am reading through the “Hearing the Old Testament in the New Testament.” So far, I’ve enjoyed several of these articles, especially the one on John by Paul Miller.

    Blessings,
    Lou

  10. I’ve been disappointed with Waltke’s OTT so far. The introductory essays were good. But the coverage of material seems uneven. Genesis seems to receive heavy coverage while the prophetic books are lightly covered. Some of the prophetic books only receive a single paragraph. I couldn’t find any section on Daniel at all. I was also disappointed to see Isaiah divided into First, Second, and Third Isaiah and First Zechariah grouped with Haggai and divorced from Second Zechariah.

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