New Testament Theology by I. Howard Marshall

This massive volume by highly-respected scholar I. Howard Marshall leaves few stones unturned in a scholarly presentation on New Testament Theology. New Testament theologies are usually written as either tracing theological themes across the entire NT or discussing theology book by book. This IVP published volume approaches theology by the latter method. I prefer the first method, but we surely need both approaches.

The strengths of this volume are that with distinct acumen Mr. Marshall tells us what modern scholarship thinks and always weighs in with his own thoughts. It almost seems encyclopedic in that way. His writing is clear and you leave knowing what the consensus of modern scholarship is.

The weaknesses include an exaltation of modern scholarship at the expense of previous generations. He puts modern scholars, apparently, as the final authority of biblical thought. Perhaps you would think me biased, but I do not agree with that thinking. So that can make for a mixed bag at times. Of course modern scholarship is an extraordinary asset to us, but some of the excesses–the certainty of the existence of “Q” or other conclusions by scholars repeated so often till some accept as fact though no concrete proof exists. Of course I have many volumes that speak of “Q” on my shelves, but this book makes so many conclusions on a certainty of what came from where that the section on the Synoptics seemed flawed to me. Other similar conclusions were made. At times I read more like a collection of NT book introductions than a theology too.

Despite the weaknesses, there are insights in many places. This volume will not hold the primary place among the theologies on my shelf, but it will be consulted. If your goal is learning modern scholarly thought, give this volume 5 stars. If it is a well rounded, spiritual you seek, give it 3 stars. So let’s average the scores and say 4 stars. Fair enough?

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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