Book Reviews

Review of A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament: The Gospel Promised, edited by Miles V. Van Pelt
Book Reviews , Old Testament / April 18, 2017

Van Pelt, Miles V., ed. A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament: The Gospel Promised. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016, pp. 601, $50.00, hardback. A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament and its New Testament counterpart are projects undertaken by the faculty, both current and past, of Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS). The project was dedicated in honor of the seminary’s fiftieth anniversary. Miles Van Pelt edited the Old Testament volume and wrote both the introduction and the chapter on the Song of Songs. Whereas most introductions to the Old Testament discuss the historical-critical issues of each book, these issues have only a minor role in A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament. Instead, the book offers an introduction to the theological themes contained within each book of the Old Testament. After an initial section discussion on the structure and message of the Old Testament, the book dedicates a chapter to each of the books in the Old Testament as they appear in the Hebrew Bible. Each chapter is divided into sections labeled “Background Issues,” “Structure and Outline,” “Message and Theology,” and “Approaching the New Testament.” The “Message and Theology” sections make up the bulk of each chapter. The book’s main strength…

Review of Unceasing Kindness: A Biblical Theology of Ruth by Peter H. Lau and Gregory Goswell
Book Reviews , Old Testament / April 4, 2017

Lau, Peter H. W. and Gregory Goswell. Unceasing Kindness: A Biblical Theology of Ruth. New Studies in Biblical Theolgoy 41. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2016, pp. 212, $24.00 paperback. Peter H. W. Lau and Gregory Goswell collaborate in a recent addition to the series New Studies in Biblical Theology, Unceasing Kindness: A Biblical Theology of Ruth. Peter H. W. Lau is Lecturer in Old Testament at Seminari Theoloji Malaysia and is an honorary research associate at the University of Sydney. Gregory Goswell is the Academic Dean and Lecturer in Biblical Studies at Christ College, Sydney. In writing Unceasing Kindness Lau and Goswell do not intend to compete with commentaries, nor to “render them superfluous” (p. 157). Rather, the authors seek to build on “close studies of the text” provided by commentaries in order to explore “its biblical-theological parameters” in the context of the whole of Scripture (p. 157). Lau and Goswell begin by reading Ruth alongside various texts in the Old Testament, drawing out themes found when Ruth is read in conjunction with other books of the Old Testament. The authors first read Ruth alongside Ezra-Nehemiah, seeking to understand how Ruth informed the readers of the “early restoration period”…

Review of How to Preach and Teach the Old Testament for All Its Worth by Christopher J. H. Wright
Book Reviews , Old Testament / February 14, 2017

Wright, Christopher J. H. How to Preach and Teach the Old Testament for All Its Worth. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016, pp. 288, $18.99, softcover. Christopher J. H. Wright serves as the International Ministries Director of the Langham Partnership, an organization dedicated to the international advancement of the Gospel. He has also taught the Old Testament in various countries and has authored several books dealing with the Old Testament, ethics, and mission. The structure of the table of contents for How to Preach and Teach the Old Testament for All Its Worth shows that it deals with points of theory and practice. The first five chapters answer the question, “Why should we preach and teach from the Old Testament?” (p. 9). Here Wright connects the major contours of the Old Testament to the theme of redemption revealed throughout Scripture. Thus, the author begins his work with a focus on theory. The final ten chapters respond to the question, “How can we preach and teach from the Old Testament?” (p. 9). Wright here covers practical concerns when preaching from the different genres in the Old Testament. The book then concludes with two appendices and a bibliography which supply summary details for…

Review of A Commentary on 1 & 2 Chronicles by Eugene Merrill
Book Reviews , Old Testament / February 7, 2017

Merrill, Eugene. A Commentary on 1 & 2 Chronicles. Kregel Exegetical Library. Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic, 2015, pp. 637, $39.99, hardcover. Eugene Merrill is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary. He has authored a number of works including major commentaries on Deuteronomy (New American Commentary, B&H, 1994) and Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi (Wycliffe Exegetical Commentary, 1994, Moody; reprinted by CreateSpace, 2014). Merrill is a preeminent evangelical scholar and has provided pastors, students, and scholars alike a commentary that will be their go-to resource on the books of Chronicles. 1 & 2 Chronicles is the fifth volume in the Kregel Exegetical Library, but is the sixth volume available at the time of this review. Merrill begins his commentary with a discussion of introductory issues including material on historical and cultural setting, historiography, and theology of the book, as well as other major issues introductory issues. Merrill holds to commonly held views on issues of setting and authorship within the book while highlighting important aspects of setting like political re-establishment and social reform. He also has a discussion of religious reform that is quite thorough. One of Merrill’s concerns is also how Chronicles relates to Ezra-Nehemiah. Within his…

Review of Ruth: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text by Robert D. Holmstedt
Book Reviews , Old Testament / January 17, 2017

Holmstedt, Robert D. Ruth: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text. Baylor University Press: Waco, TX, 2010, pp. 180, $29.99, paperback. Ruth: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text is an excellent volume in the Baylor Handbook on the Hebrew Bible Series, providing students and professors with a detailed grammatical discussion of the Hebrew text of the book of Ruth.  Robert D. Holmstedt is the Professor of Ancient Hebrew and Northwest Semitic Languages at the University of Toronto.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Hebrew and Semitic Studies.  Holmstedt has published and introductory Hebrew grammar entitled Beginning Biblical Hebrew: A Grammar and Illustrated Reader (Baker, 2013) in addition to many other publications related to Hebrew grammar and especially the relative clause in ancient Hebrew. Holmstedt wrote this handbook “with both the intermediate student and the advanced researcher in mind” (p. 2).  That being the case, Holmstedt provides a rich and engaging treatment of the Hebrew grammar of Ruth that is accessible to students still mastering basic Hebrew morphology and syntax. After a brief introduction, Holmstedt spends three sections [corresponding to chapters] discussing his approach to Hebrew grammar, the role of linguistic features in dating the book, and the…

Review of How to Preach and Teach the Old Testament for All Its Worth by Wright

Wright, Christopher J. H. How to Preach and Teach the Old Testament for All Its Worth. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016, pp. 288, $18.99, paperback. Christopher J. H. Wright is the International Ministries Director of the Langham Partnership and was also chair of the Lausanne Theology Working Group which presented The Cape Town Commitment to the Third Lausanne Congress in 2010. He has written numerous books including Old Testament Ethics for the People of God, The Mission of God, and Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament, among others. He attends All Souls Church, Langham Place in London where he preaches occasionally. Written as part of Zondervan’s All Its Worth series, Wright focuses on the Old Testament in this volume, working beyond interpretation to aid preachers and teachers as they study and prepare the material for proclamation. Wright divides his book into two main sections, focusing on why one should preach and teach from the Old Testament in the first section and how one does so in the second. Every chapter ends with questions and exercises to help the reader digest the material, and the “How” section includes preparation checklists and sermon outline examples for each major Old Testament genre. As…

Review of Interpreting Prophetic Literature by James D. Nogalski
Book Reviews , Old Testament / December 21, 2016

Nogalski, James D. Interpreting Prophetic Literature: Historical and Exegetical Tools for Reading the Prophets. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2015, pp. xi + 125, $25, paperback. James Nogalski (Dr. Theol., University of Zürich) is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Religion at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Nogalski has written extensively on prophetic literature with works such as his two volume commentary The Book of the Twelve (Smyth and Helwys, 2011) and Literary Precursors to the Book of the Twelve (De Gruyter, 1993). Moreover, Nogalski has translated four books into English from German which include Old Testament Exegesis: A Guide to the Methodology (Scholars Press, 1998) and The Theological Witness of Prophetic Books (Chalice Press, 2000). In Interpreting Prophetic Literature Nogalski sets out to write a primer on prophetic literature which is accessible to a novice student. Nogalski’s introduction is unique in that he shifts his focus away from historical backgrounds, which is normally the locus of the prophetic section in introductions, and instead pivots his book in order, “to [supplement] such introductions by focusing upon the art of reading prophetic literature” (p. 2). Nogalski accomplishes this by examining the different formulae of oracles, defining the key places…

Review of The Message of the Twelve by Fuhr and Yates
Book Reviews , Old Testament / November 22, 2016

Fuhr Jr., Richard Alan and Gary E Yates. The Message of the Twelve: Hearing the Voice of the Minor Prophets. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2016, pp. 378, $25, paperback. The Message of the Twelve is a careful and thorough introduction to the Minor Prophets and their possible relationship to one another. Authors Richard Fuhr (PhD, Southeastern), program director of Biblical Studies and assistant professor of religion at Liberty University in Virginia, and Gary Yates (PhD, Dallas), professor of Old Testament at Liberty University, collaborate to present the historical, geographical, and theological core of the Minor Prophets. The Message of the Twelve is an excellent introductory work that will offer students a trove of information on Minor Prophets studies. Fuhr and Yates’ wrote The Message of the Twelve as an overview for “students, pastors, and all who seek to understand this neglected segment of God’s Word” (p. xiv). The first four chapters seek to explain the historical background of the Twelve, the prophetic role of the Twelve, the literary elements of the Twelve, and then the canonical unity of the Twelve. The remainder of the work is a book by book commentary on each the prophets. These chapters feature an introduction…

Review of T&T Clark Companion to the Septuagint ed. by James K. Aitken
Book Reviews , Old Testament / October 21, 2016

Aitken, James K. T&T Clark Companion to the Septuagint. New York, NY: Bloomsbury, 2015, xii + 624 pp., $176.00, hardcover. Dr. James Aitken is a Lecturer in Hebrew, Old Testament, and Second Temple Studies at the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, UK. Dr. Aitken needs no introduction in the field of Septuagint studies; he is one of the most distinguished scholars in the field today. It comes as no surprise then that he serves as the editor of T&T Clark Companion to the Septuagint, which brings together some of the world’s best scholars in Septuagint studies. Scholarship in The Greek Old Testament has the tendency to be slightly esoteric. Because of this it is a difficult area of study to enter into without introduction. In this volume Aitken has brought together the most valuable introductory material on Septuagint studies. Aitken himself says that he had “long felt the need for a handy summary of features for each of the Septuagint books, for easy consolation by both Septuagint experts and biblical scholars or students more generally” (ix). The Companion to the Septuagint fills this need with excellence, making it a necessary tool for anyone remotely interested in the Greek translation…

Review of The Flow of the Psalms by O. Palmer Robertson
Book Reviews , Old Testament / June 7, 2016

Robertson, Palmer O. The Flow of the Psalms: Discovering Their Structure and Theology. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2015, pp. 302, $ 21.99, paperback. Palmer Robertson is director and principle of African Bible University in Uganda and is the author of many books, including The Christ of the Covenants (P&R, 1987), commentaries on the books of Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah in the New International Commentary Series (Eerdmans, 1990), and The Christ of the Prophets (P&R, 2008). His latest work, The Flow of the Psalms: Discovering Their Structure and Theology, represents one of the most recent contributions to the ongoing investigation of the “shape” and “shaping” of the Hebrew Psalter. Robertson’s burden in this book is to show that the Psalter is not a random collection of psalms; rather, it exhibits an intentional arrangement or “flow” from beginning to end (p. 50). Two preliminary chapters precede Robertson’s attempt to demonstrate the presence of this “flow” within the Psalter. Chapter two draws attention to twelve different elements of basis structure in the Psalter, while chapter three is devoted to a discussion of the Psalter’s redemptive-historical framework. The heart of the book then follows in chapters five through nine, where Robertson traces the predominant structural,…