This book is the first of 21 volumes in the promising Hobbs College Library series published by B&H Publishing. Matthew Emerson provides what could be called either a broad overview of the Bible or an introduction to biblical theology. That’s a perfect place to begin any series aimed at those in ministry. We need the big picture before we dive into the details. I see this volume as the scholarly presentation of what many old-time preachers called “the Scarlet Thread that runs through the Bible”.
Chapter 1 explains what biblical theology is. It gives an overview of the difficulty that some have found in defining it. He even explains the Dallas School, the Chicago School, and the Philadelphia School, which represents the main viewpoints. The point for us is learning how a passage fits into the grand narrative of Scripture. He also argues for the Bible’s theological unity.
Chapters 2, 3, and 4 tell the story of the Bible in a way that honors that unity and develops biblical theology. Chapter 2 devotes itself to an explanation of Creation, the Fall, and redemption as seen in the foundational Book of Genesis. Chapter 3 traces redemption from Exodus through the end of the Old Testament in beautiful fashion. Chapter 3 carries the story to its completion in the New Testament.
Chapter 5 entitled “Exploring Biblical Terrains” looks at the primary themes of the story that covers the entire Bible. The author sees those themes as covenant and kingdom, with the additional themes of creation and wisdom, God’s servant, mission, and salvation through faith. The final chapter gives practical applications for using biblical theology in our preaching and teaching.
The book is less than 100 pages, easy-to-read, attractive, and filled with scholarly footnotes for those who seek additional study. If this first volume is any indication, I believe this series will be particularly successful.
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