Book Reviews

Review of Old Testament Theology for Christians: From Ancient Context to Enduring Belief by John H. Walton
Book Reviews , Featured , Old Testament / September 24, 2020

Walton, John H. Old Testament Theology for Christians: From Ancient Context to Enduring Belief. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2017, pp. 302, $35, hardback. John Walton is one of the most well-known and prolific scholars of the Old Testament today, having published several Old Testament introductions, works on the conceptual and contextual world of the Hebrew Bible, and various individual monographs such as the Lost World series. He currently serves as a Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School.  An offering concerning the theology of the Old Testament from an author with his pedigree is therefore of significant interest. Walton’s approach in this volume is to try to discern the contextual world of the Old Testament authors and then to try to build a bridge from that thought world towards a Christian understanding of these concepts, or what Walton terms as “enduring theology.” This methodology has several advantages, with perhaps one of the strongest contributions being the safeguarding against reading New Testament passages and their theological concepts back into the Old Testament, which may not teach those same principles. This is not to say that Walton holds that the Old Testament and New Testament are contradictory to…

Review of Understanding Bible Translation: Bringing God’s Word into New Contexts by William D. Barrick

Barrick, William D. Understanding Bible Translation: Bringing God’s Word into New Contexts. Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic, 2019, 248 pp, $21.99, paperback. All eyes were transfixed on the speaker who ascended the lectern. As he opened the sacred book, the hushed crowd rose together as if on cue. After a blessing the standing throng uniformly put their faces in the dust. The Word of God was about to be read! But the reading sounded strange, most struggled to understand the foreign words. Expectant hearts began to grow disillusioned until another man stepped forward to translate the text into the common tongue (Neh 8:1–8). Thus began the history of Bible translation, from Mosaic Hebrew to the Aramaic of the exiles. Bill Barrick offers readers a window into this history as well as the intricacies and importance of translating God’s Word into the common languages of the world. Barrick’s resume makes him an excellent guide for such a journey: 15 years as a Bible translator in Bangladesh, 50 years of teaching Hebrew and Old Testament, and a contributor to multiple English Bible translations (ESV, NET, LEB). Having taught for many years at The Master’s Seminary, he currently serves as the OT editor for…

Review of The Grand Canyon, Monument to an Ancient Earth: Can Noah’s Flood Explain the Grand Canyon?
Book Reviews , Featured , Old Testament / September 17, 2020

Hill, Carol, Gregg Davidson, Tim Helble, and Wayne Ranney, eds. The Grand Canyon, Monument to an Ancient Earth: Can Noah’s Flood Explain the Grand Canyon?  Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2016, pp. 240, $26.99 hardback. The Grand Canyon, Monument to an Ancient Earth is a collaboration by eleven authors to address the “needless controversy” surrounding the creation of the Grand Canyon (11). The eleven authors are scientists—geologists, paleontologists, hydrologists, biologists—and some are admittedly Christian while others are non-Christian (11, 232-35). Many authors hold teaching positions in institutes of higher learning, while others serve(d) in various agencies such as the National Weather Service and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. All authors have contributed greatly to their respective fields (232-35). In The Grand Canyon, Monument to an Ancient Earth the authors offer a response to scientists who argue that Noah’s flood created the Grand Canyon (flood geology). Flood geologist, in keeping with a literal understanding of Genesis 1-11, argue that the Grand Canyon did not form in billions of years. The authors of The Grand Canyon, however, contend that saying the earth is billions of years old should not be seen as an attack on the Bible (10). They note that of…

Review of the Kingdom of God and the Glory of the Cross by Patrick Schreiner

Schreiner, Patrick. The Kingdom of God and the Glory of the Cross. Short Studies in Biblical Theology. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2018, pp. 159, $14.99, paperback. Patrick Schreiner is assistant professor of New Testament at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. In addition to The Kingdom of God and the Glory of the Cross, Schreiner has published The Body of Jesus and other articles and essays. The Kingdom of God and the Glory of the Cross is part of Crossway Publisher’s Short Studies in Biblical Theology series. According to the series editors, “The purpose of Short Studies in Biblical Theology is to connect the resurgence of biblical theology at the academic level with everyday believers” (p. 11). Each volume is written with readers who have no theological training in mind. Schreiner defines the kingdom of God as “the King’s power over the King’s people in the King’s place,” a definition similar to those put forth by other evangelical scholars. While recognizing all three elements are essential, Schreiner expresses concern that evangelicals often focus on the King’s power or rule (p. 15). The neglect of people and place has often led to the abstraction of the kingdom out of its narrative framework. While…

Review of From Chaos to Cosmos: Creation to New Creation by Sidney Greidanus

Greidanus, Sidney. From Chaos to Cosmos: Creation to New Creation. Short Studies in Biblical Theology. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2018. pp. 213. $15.99. Paperback. Sidney Greidanus (ThD, Free University of Amsterdam) is a retired professor of Calvin College, the King’s College, and Calvin Theological Seminary. He retired from full-time teaching in 2004, and has since then been mainly writing commentaries for preachers. His recent book From Chaos to Cosmos: Creation to New Creation is one volume in a series entitled Short Studies in Biblical Theology edited by Dane C. Ortlund and Miles V. Van Pelt. The purpose of this series “is to connect the resurgence of biblical theology at the academic level with everyday believers” (p. 13). Each volume in the series is also written in a simple manner so that those who may not have had any theological training can easily interact with the text of the author. Greidanus’s book traces the dual theme of chaos–cosmos from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 (p. 15). Greidanus’s purpose for the book is to deepen” one’s “understanding of the original creation and the coming new creation,” which “helps us see not only the unity of the Scriptures but also the centrality of Christ…

Review of The Ten Commandments: What they Mean, Why They Matter, and Why We Should Obey Them by Kevin DeYoung

DeYoung, Kevin. The Ten Commandments: What they Mean, Why They Matter, and Why We Should Obey Them. Wheaton: Crossway, 2018, 203 pages, $17.99, Hardback. At the time of printing, and according to the back cover of the book, Kevin DeYoung serves as a pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina, and also as an assistant professor of systematic theology at the Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte. DeYoung completed his PhD at the University of Leicester. His book begins with a quick tour of secular feelings about the Ten Commandments. This tour becomes the impetus for posing and answering two questions in the introduction: “Why should we study the ten commandments?” and “Why should we obey the Ten Commandments?” The answers to those questions lead to the following ten chapters, each presenting one commandment. These chapters focus on Christian understanding and application, starting with the first commandment in a chapter he titles “God and God Alone.” “God and God Alone” begins with an appeal to true faith in the true God, then focuses on how the commandments underpin modern society and moral law (p. 30). From there, he works through the first commandment, examines the Heidelberg Catechism to understand…

Review of Exegetical Gems from Biblical Hebrew: A Refreshing Guide to Grammar and Interpretation by H. H. Hardy II
Book Reviews , Old Testament / July 21, 2020

Hardy II, H. H. Exegetical Gems from Biblical Hebrew: A Refreshing Guide to Grammar and Interpretation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2019, pp. 224, $19.99, paperback. H. H. Hardy is associate professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary where he has served since 2014 (back cover). Dr. Hardy earned his PhD at the University of Chicago. Alongside teaching, Dr. Hardy is the author of numerous academic publications. Hardy wrote Exegetical Gems from Biblical Hebrew to college and seminary students and former students of Hebrew (xiv-xv). The concept of the book developed in response to students questioning the value of learning Biblical Hebrew (xiii). As a resource to college students, the design of the book follows popular Hebrew grammar structures: nouns, adjectives, verbs, particles, and clause structure (xiv). Hardy suggests that Hebrew instructors use this volume as a weekly supplement alongside a Hebrew grammar to motivate student’s desires to learn Hebrew (xv). The thirty chapters are roughly organized the same. Each chapter receives an introduction, overview, interpretation, and recommendations for further reading. The numerous chapters make listing each chapter cumbersome, but students of Hebrew will have a rough layout in mind from previous studies. The book’s…

Review of From Chaos to Cosmos: Creation to New Creation by Sidney Greidanus

Greidanus, Sidney. From Chaos to Cosmos: Creation to New Creation. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2018, pp. 213, $15.99, paperback. The author of From Chaos to Cosmos, Sidney Greidanus, retired from full-time teaching in 2004 after serving as a professor at Calvin College, Calvin Theological Seminary, and King’s College. Greidanus was also the pastor of two churches. One of his most popular publications prior to this book is Preaching Christ from the Old Testament (Eerdmans, 1999). From Chaos to Cosmos is one of nine books making up the Short Studies in Biblical Theology series published by Crossway. Greidanus’s main purpose in writing this volume is to demonstrate the presence of a progression from chaos to order in the Bible. He tracks these themes from the first verses of Genesis to the last words of Revelation. The main difficulty in this effort is defining the word “chaos” in a way that does not mistakenly equate the chaotic waters of Genesis 1:2 with evil. After all, these waters were a part of God’s good creation. Although Greidanus recognizes that some authors avoid the word “chaos” because of its connotations of evil, he chooses to use this term in an attempt to redefine it. By…

Review of Riddles And Revelations: Explorations Into The Relationship Between Wisdom And Prophecy In The Hebrew Bible edited by Boda, Meek, and Osborne
Book Reviews , Old Testament / June 18, 2020

Boda, Mark J., Russell L. Meek, and William R. Osborne, eds. Riddles And Revelations: Explorations Into The Relationship Between Wisdom And Prophecy In The Hebrew Bible. Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies 634. New York: T&T Clark, 2018, pp. xvi + 306, $114, Hardback. The rise of intertextual theory in the last five decades has sparked numerous studies into the relationships between various sections of the Hebrew Bible. Most often relationships are drawn from the Pentateuch to other books (e.g. this is what we find in Michael Fishbane’s seminal work Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel, [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989]). Pentateuchal priority, however, is giving way to considerations of intertextuality throughout the OT and this collection of seventeen essays is proof of that. Following in the footsteps of similar LHBOTS monographs (e.g. Dell and Kynes, eds., Reading Job Intertextually, LHBOTS 574, [New York: T&T Clark, 2013]; Dell and Kynes, eds., Reading Ecclesiastes Intertextually, LHBOTS 587, [New York: T&T Clark, 2015]), this work seeks to provide a survey of soundings for sapiential and prophetic interplay within the OT. These essays adeptly advance the methodological question and bring new light to how both wisdom and prophetic texts may mutually build upon each other….

Review of An Obituary for “Wisdom Literature”: The Birth, Death, and Intertextual Reintegration of a Biblical Corpus by Will Kynes
Book Reviews , Old Testament / February 14, 2020

Kynes, Will. An Obituary for “Wisdom Literature”: The Birth, Death, and Intertextual Reintegration of a Biblical Corpus. Oxford University Press, 2019. 352pp. $78.24, hardcover. An Obituary of “Wisdom Literature” divides into four sections: Introduction, Historical Metacriticism, Genre Methodology, and The Reintegration of Wisdom Literature. The introduction establishes Will Kynes’ methodological critique of wisdom literature. Wisdom literature is a modern scholarship invention and Johann Bruch is the Wellhausen of Wisdom (p. 4). Kynes’ genre-method combines theories of a constellation metaphor and turns the referent into a three-dimensional reference (p. 12). Scholars should put to death wisdom literature as a genre, then reevaluate wisdom: categories, genre, schools, and concept (p. 18). Wisdom must first be understood as a concept and not a category that unites other corpora together (p. 22). Section I focuses on Kyne’s Historical Metacriticism on wisdom literature and he divides the section into three chapters. The first chapter describes the rise of wisdom literature as a category and the rational for the demise of wisdom literature. The imminent demise arose through the spread of wisdom literature into every discipline with an ever-changing definition.  The second chapter buttresses Kynes’ argument on the historical precedent of the definition of wisdom literature…