Best of 2008

Posted by

The end (of the year) is near, and once again it’s time to list the best books in biblical and theological studies that appeared in 2008. This year seems to have been an especially fruitful year for publications in these areas. Here is my list:

1. The ESV Study Bible (Crossway): While people may debate the merits of the ESV as a translation, the qualities of the ESV Study Bible are indisputable. An exquisitely produced, high-quality product that sets a new standard for study Bibles.

2. Eckhard Schnabel, Paul the Missionary (InterVarsity Press): A worthy sequel to Schnabel’s landmark 2-volume work Early Christian Mission. The new “Ronald Allan” on Paul’s missionary practice. Both thorough and practical.

3. D. A. Carson, Christ & Culture Revisited (Eerdmans): A timely book on an all-important subject, the relationship between Christianity and contemporary culture. Carson properly takes his starting point from Niebuhr’s classic work Christ and Culture. A very important book.

4. Robert Stein, Mark (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament; Baker): I haven’t read Stein’s work in toto yet, but from what I’ve seen so far, this commentary is first rate, as one would expect from this senior Markan scholar.

5. David Chapman, Ancient Jewish and Christian Perceptions of Crucifixion (Mohr-Siebeck): The revised version of a dissertation at Cambridge University under William Horbury, this will be the standard work on crucifixion for a long time to come.

6. Margaret Elizabeth Köstenberger, Jesus and the Feminists (Crossway): This book should have been written a long time ago. A judicious survey of various feminist approaches to Jesus. J. I. Packer calls it “scrupulously fair.” In the interest of full disclosure: I am married to the author.

7. Cosmology of New Testament Theology (ed. Jonathan Pennington and Sean McDonough; T & T Clark): Finally, a monograph on this very important but widely neglect aspect of New Testament theology. Worldview matters, then and now.

8. Craig Blomberg and Mariam Kamell, Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: James (Zondervan): A great start to an important new series from Zondervan. Blomberg here teams up with Mariam Kamell, a doctoral student at St. Andrews University.

9. Suffering and the Goodness of God (ed. Christopher Morgan and Robert Peterson; Theology in Community series; Crossway): Another promising start to a new series, with contributions by, among others, Robert Yarbrough, Walter Kaiser, Dan McCartney, and John Frame.

10. Clyde Fant and Mitchell Reddish, Lost Treasures of the Bible: Understanding the Bible through Archaeological Artifacts in World Museums (Eerdmans): A great publishing idea, and well executed. As a teacher and student of Scripture, this is a resource I will value highly.

Final note: Readers may want to be aware of the imminent publication of The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization (ed. George T. Kurian; Blackwell), a massive, 4-volume compendium. Ambitious in scope, with a large number of fascinating entries. Publication has been delayed until early 2009, however.


  1. How could I obtain a copy of David Chapman’s, Ancient Jewish and Christian Perceptions of Crucifixion?

    I started reading Hengle’s treatment on Crucifixion and I am really enjoying it. I also purchased, Frederick T. Zugibe’s, the Crucifixion of Jesus. While his theology may be unstable, his 40 plus years of study on Crucifixion, was worth looking into.

  2. Do we have access to a review of Dr. Carson’s book written by You? I would be interested in what you see as His most important updates, upgrades, or improvements to Niebuhr’s work. I have been particularly interested in what strikes me as an ambiguous use of “we” or “our”in several of Dr. Carson’s books. It seems these are unclearly referencing either “memers of western culture”, “western Christians”, or “Christians”.
    Thank you for posting your 2008 list.

  3. Dr. Köstenberger,

    Do you remember “Mysterion in the New Testament” under Carson? It has been good to see how the Lord has been using you.

    You made an intriguing comment on the ESV: “While people may debate the merits of the ESV as a translation…” I received my ESV Study Bible here in Vanuatu a couple of weeks ago, and there is no question but that it has set a new standard in study Bibles. I love it.

    I have searched your site for “ESV” and only found this reference. Could you clarify your position on the ESV as a translation?

    Thanks so much. The Lord continue to shine upon you.

  4. Excellent choices, but I think you are remiss to leave off Greg Beale’s work We Become What We Worship.


  1. End of the Year Links « Pastor and People - [...] Köstenberger lists the best books in biblical and theological studies that appeared in [...]
  2. Passion For Preaching » Blog Archive » Best of 2008 - [...] out the entire list of recommendations at Dr.Köstenberger’s website: Biblical Foundations. [...]
  3. Stones Cry Out - If they keep silent… » Things Heard: e43v4 - [...] list of the best theology of 2008 (HT: [...]
  4. Links, Articles, Books, and More « Pastor and People - [...] Andreas Köstenberger has posted his favorite 10 books in biblical and theological studies that appeared in 2008. [...]

Leave a Reply