Book Reviews

Review of Old Testament Use of Old Testament: A Book-by-Book Guide by Gary Edward Schnittjer
Book Reviews , Featured , Old Testament / July 19, 2022

Schnittjer, Gary Edward. Old Testament Use of Old Testament: A Book-by-Book Guide. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2021, 1098 pages, $58.00, hardcover. Gary Edward Schnittjer is the Distinguished Professor of Old Testament for Cairn University’s School of Divinity. Schnittjer received his doctorate from Dallas Theological Seminary and has completed post-graduate studies in both Hebrew and Aramaic from the University of Pennsylvania and Westminster Theological Seminary, respectively. He has published numerous articles in various aspects of Old Testament Biblical studies as well as another monograph, The Torah Story. Old Testament Use of Old Testament: A Book-by-Book Guide represents the culmination of two decades of research into the intertextual and linguistic connections within the Tanakh by Schnittjer. The book is a cataloging, book-by-book, of exegetical allusions between the books of the Old Testament, rated according to their strength (read: confidence level). Material for the work was compiled from manual research and material generated from an originality program, iThenticate (xlvii). In its introduction, Schnittjer provides the basic definitions used in the field of intertextuality and his work, such as revelation, allusion, and exegesis (xviii-xix). Surveying the work and methodologies from scholars like Hays, Kugel, von Rad and Fishbane, Schnittjer lays out his criteria…

Review of Baptism: Zwingli or the Bible? by Jack Cottrell

Cottrell, Jack. Baptism: Zwingli or the Bible? Mason, OH: The Christian Restoration Association, 2022, 163pp, $14.99, paperback. Jack Cottrell, arguably the most prolific writer and influential theologian of the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, tackles the topic of baptism in yet another accessible book, Baptism: Zwingli or the Bible? This text incorporates Cottrell’s primary insights on how the Protestant Reformer Huldreich Zwingli (1484-1531) changed the course of church history by creating a new view of the meaning of baptism from salvific to merely symbolic. Although this concise book contains previously published material by Cottrell, it is good to have an overview and summary of Cottrell’s critique of Zwingli’s view of baptism in one small volume. It is certainly handy for the student as well as the scholar and teacher. Cottrell divides this work into three parts: (1) a review of his Princeton dissertation on Zwingli, (2) his personal views on “Zwinglianism,” and (3) a reproduction of “Connection of Baptism with Remission of Sins.” (Part Three is the work of the nineteenth century Christian Church theologian J. W. McGarvey which was originally included in his New Commentary on Acts of the Apostles [1892] but omitted from later editions.) Part One is divided…

Review of The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative (2nd Edition) by Steven D. Mathewson

Mathewson, Steven D. The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative. 2nd edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2021, 252 pages, $22.99, paperback. Steven Mathewson is both a pastor and a scholar. He serves as the senior pastor in Libertyville, IL, and he is also the director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Western Seminary in Portland, OR. Mathewson’s background as a practitioner and scholar in the field of homiletics enhances his book, The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative, by allowing him to provide practical counsel and helpful instruction to readers. The author develops his work around three parts. In Part One, Mathewson addresses some challenges with preaching from Old Testament narratives, and he surveys “The Christ-Centered Preaching Debate” (pp. 15-26). In relation to the subject of Christ-centered preaching, the author notes that “I did not deal with this sufficiently (in fact, hardly at all) in his first edition” (xviii). Mathewson’s rationale for adding this discussion is as follows: “Your conclusions [about preaching Christ in the Old Testament] will shape the way that you study and preach an Old Testament narrative text” (p.15). In Part Two, Mathewson presents his methodology for studying biblical narratives for preaching in six chapters….

Review of The Royal Priesthood and the Glory of God by David S. Schrock

Schrock, David S. The Royal Priesthood and the Glory of God. Short Studies in Biblical Theology. Edited by Dane C. Ortlund and Miles V. Van Pelt. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022, pp. 199, $14.99, paperback. David Schrock is the Pastor of Preaching and Theology at Occoquan Bible Church in Woodbridge, Virginia. Dr. Schrock earned both his MDiv and PhD in systematic theology from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His dissertation is titled, “A Biblical-Theological Investigation of Christ’s Priesthood and Covenant Mediation with Respect to the Extent of the Atonement.” He is an Adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology at Indianapolis Theological Seminary, Boyce College, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and, formerly, Crossroads Bible College. Dr. Schrock is also an Associate Fellow for the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Royal Priesthood and the Glory of God by David S. Schrock is a modest monograph about how the glory of God is fully revealed in the royal priesthood of Christ. This abbreviated work of biblical theology focuses on the biblical theme of priesthood to demonstrate how God’s glory is revealed in Christ’s righteousness expressed through the biblical concept of the priesthood. In an introduction, six chapters, and an…

Review of God’s Mediators: A Biblical Theology of Priesthood by Andrew S. Malone

Andrew S. Malone. God’s Mediators: A Biblical Theology of Priesthood. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2017, pp. 230, $25.00, paperback. Andrew S. Malone serves as Lecturer in Biblical Studies and Dean of Ridley Online at Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia. In God’s Mediators, Malone develops an expositional and synthetic biblical theology of the theme of priesthood, studying both individual and corporate priestly identities and work across the canon so as to “augment and refine our existing knowledge, reinforce or reshape our theological framework, and make us better expositors of the texts and their consequences for God’s holy people” (p. 10). He contends, specifically, that Christians struggle to define priests and priesthood in a manner following the patterns of the biblical witness (pp. 8–9; 186–187). Malone descriptively surveys, therefore, the biblical landscape for individual priests, starting with Aaron’s and his sons’ mediation at Sinai with an important focus on “the kingdom of priests” found in Exodus 19:5–6 as a royal priesthood (pp. 16–17, 126). His survey of the Aaronic priesthood, ultimately, establishes a baseline to consider implications for 1) Israel’s corporate priesthood, 2) Jesus’ priesthood, and 3) the nature of the church’s corporate priesthood. He labels the Aaronic priesthood by its status of…

Review of Inscriptions from the World of the Bible: A Reader and Introduction to Old Northwest Semitic by Peter Bekins
Book Reviews , Old Testament / April 14, 2022

Bekins, Peter. Inscriptions from the World of the Bible: A Reader and Introduction to Old Northwest Semitic. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Academic, 2020, pp 300, $79.95, hardback. If you know Biblical Hebrew, then you essentially know ancient Edomite, Moabite, Ammonite, and Phoenician. You can add those to your résumé. They are all basically the same language. The differences among them are rather minor. For example, the direct object marker in Hebrew and Moabite is ’t (aleph-tau), whereas in Phoenician (and Aramaic) it is ’yt (aleph-yodh-tau). A modern analogy might be English spoken in London, New York, Minnesota, and Georgia. Moreover, if you know Biblical Hebrew, then you are well on your way to a knowledge of Aramaic. We should not think of Biblical Hebrew as a completely unique language all alone, as if it were per se a holy language. It was part of the common language spoken throughout the area of ancient Syria and Palestine. It was, you might say, part of the lingua franca of that area, much like the Koine Greek of the New Testament in the Greco-Roman world. There is a theological message here. The Creator chose to communicate with his human creatures in an everyday language,…

Review of The Story of Sacrifice: Ritual and Narrative in the Priestly Source by Liane M. Feldman
Book Reviews , Old Testament / April 14, 2022

Feldman, Liane M. The Story of Sacrifice: Ritual and Narrative in the Priestly Source. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2020, pp. 245. 104€, hardback. Liane Feldman is Assistant Professor at New York University in the Skirball department of Hebrew and Judaic studies. Feldman earned her PhD from the University of Chicago Divinity School in Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East. In The Story of Sacrifice Professor Liane Feldman explores the “literary function” of the priestly ritual materials. Feldman is clear in the introduction that she intends to read and explain these ritual materials “as part of the story”, in conjunction with, not separated from their narrative setting (11-18). Her inquiry is simple: what happens when one assumes that the ritual and narrative texts in the Priestly source were intentionally placed together, and one chooses to read them as literature? Feldman divides the book into six chapters: Introduction, Moses’s Private Audience: The Construction of Space in the Story World (Exod 40–Lev 7), Yahweh’s Public Performance: The Creation of a Cult (Lev 8:1–10:7), Inside and Outside: Yahweh’s Delineation of Boundaries (Lev 10:8–15:33; Num 7:1–8:4), The Possibility of Decontamination (Lev 16–17), and Conclusion. This review will summarize the book’s contents, follow with a critique,…

Review of Seriously Dangerous Religion: What the Old Testament Really Says and Why It Matters by Iain Provan

Provan, Iain. Seriously Dangerous Religion: What the Old Testament Really Says and Why It Matters. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2014, pp. 502, $49.99. In this book, Provan has set out to argue that, among the many worldview stories that are active in the world today—most of which are anti-Christian—the “Old Story” (Old Testament) is genuinely dangerous. “Biblical monotheism is seriously dangerous” (10, italics original). By dangerous, Provan does not mean that the Old Story intends to harm society in any way. Rather, he argues that when understood properly, in light of the narrative that the Old Story itself tells, it poses a threat to all other worldview stories, and it poses a threat to those who take its own message seriously. The ideologies of the Old Story “threaten” to answer the most important questions humans ask. According to Provan, the Old Story answers those questions satisfactorily for those who are willing to be shaped by its message. Provan begins the Introductory chapter, “Of Mice, and Men, and Hobbits” by outlining the common stories we encounter in our world today with two example novels. The first is like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in which “Absurdity rules” (1–2). The…

Review of The Serpent and the Serpent Slayer by Andrew David Naselli

Naselli, Andrew David. The Serpent and the Serpent Slayer. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020, pp. 160, $15.99, paperback. Andrew David Naselli (PhD theology, Bob Jones University and PhD New Testament exegesis and theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is associate professor of systematic theology and New Testament for Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis, MN, administrator for the evangelical theological journal Themelios, and one of the pastors of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. Naselli’s The Serpent and the Serpent Slayer is an entry in the Short Studies in Biblical Theology series (SSBT) from Crossway Publishers (edited by Dane C. Ortlund and Miles V. Van Pelt). The studies are short because of the series purpose “to connect the resurgence of biblical theology at the academic level with everyday believers” (11). Naselli’s preface begins with a statement of presuppositions consonant with the SSBT purpose and the evangelical confessional stance of the publisher: (1) the inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of Scripture; (2) the necessity of a “whole-Bible canonical approach” to biblical interpretation; and (3) the conviction that “the whole Bible progresses, integrates, and climaxes in Christ” (13-14). Naselli’s “biblical theology of snakes and dragons” (13) aims to contribute to the goal of the series by…

Review of God’s Messiah in the Old Testament: Expectations of a Coming King by Abernethy and Goswell
Biblical Theology , Book Reviews , Old Testament / February 23, 2022

Abernethy, Andrew T. and Gregory Goswell. God’s Messiah in the Old Testament: Expectations of a Coming King. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2020, pp. xii + 292, $29.99, paperback. Jesus of Nazareth is the fulfillment but the fulfillment of what? Over the years people have made him into their own image, as the fulfillment to their own self-determined needs and ideals. Think of all the images constructed: Jesus the fulfillment of Plato and Aristotle, a teacher of liberal morals, a Hindu Sage, a Nazi, a Marxist revolutionary, a hippie, the greatest salesman, the greatest therapist, a Hollywood superstar. Jesus of Nazareth came to fulfill what?  The real Jesus of Nazareth came to fulfill the BC Scriptures. That was and is his “job description.” He is “the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:26), God’s Messiah. The words “Christ” in Greek (christos) and “Messiah” in Hebrew (mashiach) mean “Anointed One” (cf. John 1:41). While Jesus fulfills the BC Scriptures in many ways, one crucial dimension is the royal Messianic King from the line of David, anointed with the Holy Spirit. To understand Jesus of Nazareth as the anointed Davidic King requires study of the BC Scriptures. For that study I recommend this volume. Andrew T….