Christmas is only a couple weeks away, which means it’s time once again for the best books in Bible and theology published this year. The list is inevitably subjective, and in many cases unsurprising, as certain books commend themselves by their self-evident quality and the scholarly stature of their authors. Needless to say, listing a book doesn’t mean I endorse all of its contents (in some cases, I haven’t even read the entire book yet!). With this in mind, then, are my top 10 books of 2013:
1. William Baird, History of New Testament Research, vol. 3: From C. H. Dodd to Hans Dieter... Read More
In his influential address, “Discourse on the Proper Distinction between Biblical and Dogmatic Theology, and the Right Determination of the Aims of Each,” Johann Philipp Gabler (1753–1826) lodged the programmatic proposal that scholars ought to distinguish between biblical and systematic theology. In his lecture, delivered at the University of Altdorf in 1787 (the year the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia), Gabler urged his colleagues to place their theological edifice more overtly on a scriptural foundation: “There is truly a biblical theology, of historical origin,... Read More
“Comfort Your People” is a devotional from Isaiah 40:1–8.
“‘Comfort, comfort my people,’ says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.” We all love to be comforted. So this word of comfort is good news for a people hungry for comfort. But wait! How is it good news that Israel “has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins”? From the prophet’s vantage point prior to the exile, it was indeed good news for him to... Read More
This year has been a good year for Biblical Foundations™ pursuing its mission to strengthen marriage and the family in the home, the church, and society as we long to see all the world rest of biblical foundations. We are particularly grateful to Crossway for releasing Marriage and the Family: Biblical Essentials this year, an abridged version of God, Marriage, and the Family.
Here, then, are the top ten books in biblical studies from 2012, in terms of their potential influence and utility:
1. Darrell Bock, A Theology of Luke and Acts (Zondervan). This, the second volume in the Biblical... Read More
In my presentation today, I’ll introduce you to a set of new hermeneutical lenses I call “the hermeneutical triad”—history, literature, and theology. This hermeneutical triad forms the backbone of Dick Patterson’s and my new hermeneutics text, Invitation to Biblical Interpretation. What is the “hermeneutical triad”? In short, our core proposal is this: for any passage of Scripture, regardless of genre, you’ll want to study the historical setting, the literary context, and the theological message. Thus the hermeneutical triad consists of history, literature, and theology. As... Read More
Trevin Wax with “The Gospel Coalition” recently interviewed Dr. Kostenberger on “Which Bible Translation Should I Choose?”. Here is the interview below.
Why is this book needed?
“Which Bible translation should I use?” is one of the most frequently questions we get asked. And, it’s true, choosing a Bible translation is a very important decision, because we need to be able to have confidence in the Bible we read and study and memorize.
In my experience, people often choose a Bible because, say, John Piper likes it, or because of tradition or emotional factors. In... Read More
One of the most frequently asked questions related to the Bible is, “Which Bible translation should I use?” People often wonder what is the all-around best English Bible translation available. In this book, Douglas Moo, Wayne Grudem, Ray Clendenen, and Philip Comfort make a case for the Bible translation he represents: the NIV 2011 (New International Version), the ESV (English Standard Version), the HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible), and the NLT (New Living Translation) respectively.
In each case, the contributors explain the translation philosophy under- lying these major recent... Read More
John does not teach a replacement theology whereby the church takes the place of Israel. As a closer look at John 15 indicates, it is not believers in Jesus who are depicted as the vine. Rather, the vine is Jesus. Jesus himself is therefore the new Israel, just as he has already been portrayed as the replacement of the temple and the fulfillment of the symbolism of various Jewish festivals. Jesus thus embodies and fulfills God’s true intentions for Israel; he is the paradigmatic vine, the channel through whom God’s blessings flow and who bears much fruit. Indeed, by dying Jesus will prove... Read More
Engaging and accessible, The Lion and the Lamb is an ideal resource for college students and others interested in knowing the essentials of each New Testament book. A concise summary of The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown – the acclaimed New Testament introduction by the same authors — this volume sets a new standard for high-level, up-to-date research presented in a core knowledge format that is practical, relevant, and easy to follow. Part One features chapters on the nature of Scripture and the religious and political background of the New Testament. Part Two covers the... Read More
Thanks to those of you who were following my tweets from the debate. As promised, here are some further reflections on last night’s debate between Bart Ehrman and Dan Wallace. First of all, both men did a good job presenting their case and responding to each other’s questions. Bart Ehrman is a skilled debater and a very gifted communicator. He took charge of the debate from the very beginning, communicating clearly and directly. He also effectively anticipated many of Wallace’s arguments, especially regarding the number of Greek NT manuscripts.
When it was Wallace’s turn, he showed... Read More
In an earlier blog post, I wrote about the question of whether or not Jesus was born on December 25. To continue the conversation, here is what I continue to be the best article on the subject, by Paul Maier, Russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient History at the University of Michigan. The piece appeared originally in Chronos, Karis, Christos: Nativity and Chronological Studies presented to Jack Fingan (ed. J. Vardaman; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1989), and appears here with permission of the author. Read More
Publishers and authors have been at it again, and 2010 was a rich year for serious academic publishing in biblical and theological studies. As a matter of fact, I have made a tiny contribution to the deluge of materials myself by releasing The Heresy of Orthodoxy (Crossway, co-authored with Michael Kruger), the second edition of God, Marriage & Family (Crossway, with David Jones), and Entrusted with the Gospel (B&H Academic, co-edited with Terry Wilder), along with several smaller essays. That said, here is my list of “The Best of 2010.” Disclaimer: I haven’t read all these... Read More
In the ancient world, it was customary to open letters with some small talk—a well wish, or a reminder of good times had in the past. Most of Paul’s letters, correspondingly, open with a thanksgiving, or a prayer, for the recipients; but not his letter to the Galatians. This is a measure of the apostle’s exasperation. “I am amazed,” he jumps right into the heart of the matter, “that you are so quickly turning away from him who called you by the grace of Christ, and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another gospel!” (Gal 1:6–7)
In first-century Galatia, as... Read More
The Bauer-Ehrman thesis contends that “orthodoxy” is not a first-century phenomenon but only a later concept that allowed the Roman church to squelch alternate versions of Christianity. We have seen that Bauer virtually ignores the New Testament evidence while believing to find evidence for early heresy and late orthodoxy in various urban centers of the second century. Ehrman, likewise, makes much of second-century diversity and assigns the notion of orthodoxy to later church councils. The precursors of the orthodox, Ehrman calls “proto-orthodox,” even though it must,... Read More
In the course of world history many have devised ways of salvation. Virtually all man-made religions have one thing in common: they are based on human self-effort. Among the major religions, Christianity is unique in that while typically the emphasis is on what a person must do to be saved, Christianity focuses on what one man has done for all humans—Jesus Christ—and what is now available for all on the basis of simple trust in Christ.
Thus Paul’s words ring out in his letter to the Romans: “But now, apart from law, God’s righteousness has been revealed—attested by the Law and the... Read More