Sunday 28 November 2010

Joel B. Green on Theological Interpretation of the Bible (1 Peter in Particular)

Joel B. Green, ‘Modernity, History and the Theological Interpretation of the Bible’, Scottish Journal of Theology 54, 3 (2001), 308-29.

Joel Green has written a lot on theological interpretation, much of it now conveniently gathered in a book – Seized by Truth: Reading the Bible as Scripture (Nashville: Abingdon, 2007).

This 2001 piece was an early article, showing where his thoughts were heading, illustrated with reference to 1 Peter, which would eventually give birth to his commentary in ‘The Two Horizons New Testament Commentary Series’, which he co-edits with Max Turner.

He begins here by noting the ‘troublesome relationship’ between biblical studies and systematic theology, and the attempts on the part of some to span the divide between the two disciplines (308-309). He calls on biblical scholars, in particular, to ‘take theological concerns seriously’, but suggests that a large part of the problem is ‘history’ (310).

1. The problem of history

The problem is that ‘if all knowledge is historically grounded… then we moderns should not be governed in our knowing by someone else’s history, including the history of Scripture itself and the Christian tradition’ (311). Whereas premodern perspectives worked with an assumption that text and history were coterminous, the modern perspective ‘posits a purposeful segregation of “history” and “text”’, in which ‘interpretive privilege is accorded to “history”’ (312).

Among other things, according to Green, this reinforced the distinction between ‘what it meant’ and ‘what it means’, and is consistent with the more popular three-step engagement with the Bible of Observation–Interpretation–Application, neither of which he judges are well-suited to ‘those of us who locate ourselves as biblical scholars within and on behalf of the church’ (313).

2. Historical criticism: we cannot live with or without it

Our only attitude to historical criticism, he says, ‘can be one of ambivalence’ (313).

We cannot live without it because:

(1) ‘We are children of modernity’ (and we know that all language, including the language of the Bible, is embedded in culture) (314).

(2) ‘The capacity of the Bible to function as Scripture depends in part on its capacity to expose and thwart our own limited, historical horizons’ (314), where our own assumptions are called into question.

(3) ‘There is no escaping the historical character of our (biblical) faith’ (316).

And we cannot live with it because:

(1) ‘Historical criticism assumes… that there is more than one church’ – borrowing from Robert Jenson the comment that ‘the text we call the Bible was put together in the first place by the same community that now needs to interpret it’ (316), and from James McClendon the notion that ‘the fundamental character of the division between the biblical world and our own... is not historical but theological’ (317).

(2) ‘Historical criticism assumes what no one can assume – namely, that there exists in scholarly inquiry a ledge of neutrality on which to stand to engage in biblical interpretation’ (317).

(3) ‘Historical criticism as generally practiced is ensconced in a discredited philosophy of history’ (319) – a commitment to scientific method and scientific detachment.

3. Which way forward?

Green notes that two ways forward for revisioning biblical studies and systematic theology, or carving out ‘new disciplinary space’ are by attending ‘less to the original, historical sense of biblical texts and either more deliberately to their canonical address within Scripture-shaped communities or more fully to the history of their reception’ (321).

The books of the New Testament, he notes, are not themselves ‘the gospel’ but ‘witnesses’ to the gospel ‘within specific sociohistorical contexts’ (321). They are less sources for theological data so much as ‘already exemplars of the theological task, of representing the implications and working out the ramifications of the Gospel’ (322).

So, we can take note of how Scripture itself draws on paradigmatic presuppositions (e.g., the continuity of past, present, and future in God’s purpose) and yet also see how it models ‘the instantiation of the good news in particular locales and with respect to historical particularities’; we see, already in the New Testament, the ‘constructive task of reiteration, restatement, and interpretation of the good news vis-à-vis ever-developing horizons and challenges’ (322).

Thus, when it comes to 1 Peter (Green’s sample text in this article), our task is not simply to read the content of the message of 1 Peter into our world, but to inquire ‘how 1 Peter itself engages in the theological task’: ‘How is 1 Peter situated in and reflective of a particular sociohistorical environment? What is its response – on the basis of the great story of God’s activity in the world, including the world of 1 Peter – to that environment?’ (323). How does the discourse of 1 Peter transform our assumptions about God and the world?

Green makes four observations here:

(1) ‘The overriding metaphor of this New Testament document is “the diaspora”’ (323) – announced in the opening (1:1) and closing (5:13) of the letter, and which evokes a variety of images, including the temporal nature of the diaspora, the possibility of assimilation and defection, ‘the danger of acculturation and accommodation’. This is coupled with Peter’s identification of his Christian audience ‘with the ancient people of God’, all of which ‘signals the perspective that pervades the document as a whole’, with Peter collapsing ‘the historical distinction between Israel of old and his own audience in the service of theological identity’ (324).

(2) Identification with Israel of old, however, does not mean that Peter’s audience shares their experience of ‘forced relocation’. Instead, ‘those believers to whom Peter addresses this letter have not been transported into a new geographical space, but have rather been born anew within the space they had previously inhabited’ (325). Green draws on Miroslav Volf’s famous ‘Soft Difference’ essay here, noting that ‘Christians are insiders who have diverted from their culture by being born again’ (325, citing Volf). Green also resists the attempts of some (e.g., John H. Elliott) to find a reference to the believers’ economic status, arguing instead that the implied readers ‘represent the broad spectrum of people living in Asia Minor’ (325). They are exiles in the sense that their ‘commitments to the lordship of Jesus Christ have led to transformed attitudes and behaviors that place them on the margins of respectable society’, people ‘whose reborn allegiances and transfigured practices distinguished them from Roman society’, whose ‘lack of acculturation to prevailing social values marked them as misfits worthy of contempt’ (326).

(3) ‘Peter demarcates the identity of God’s people in three ways’. First is ‘the positive route of characterizing his Christian audience in relation to God’s call to holiness’ (326) – the vocation of Israel, that they might fulfil their mission to the nations, noting that ‘holiness’ connotes ‘difference’ and ‘distinctiveness’, not a call to segregation but to a particular form of engagement. Second, ‘Peter adopts a negative stance vis-à-vis the former life of his audience’ (327) – not so much invective against the world at large as conversion of one’s moral imagination. Third, ‘he points to the preeminent example of Jesus’ (327) – with Christian identity and practice understood positively as the way of the Messiah.

(4) Then comes a ‘more pointed, more pivotal, and prior question that is both hermeneutical and theological: Who reads 1 Peter aright?’ (327). Green here borrows from Umberto Eco the concept of the ‘Model Reader’, readers who are both ‘presumed by the text and sculpted by the text’. Such readers ‘embrace and embody the status of persons whose identity as pilgrims in the world grows out of their experience of the new birth, whose lives are radically marked by their membership in a community defined by their allegiance to Christ, whose lives thus stand in an ambiguous relationship to the mores and values of the world around them, and, accordingly, whose forms of existence attract opposition from their neighbors’ (328).

Hence (coming back to the concerns of ‘history’ in the title of the essay):

‘To read 1 Peter aright, then, as its Model Reader, is not to objectify its message in an historical moment now distant from our own, and then imaginatively to allow its message to leap forward to our own time. It is, rather, to embrace the persona of Peter’s audience as our own. We do not invite the text into a transformation of its original meaning into a new application geared toward our thought forms; rather, the text invites us into a transformation of allegiances and commitment, which will manifest itself in behaviors appropriate to our social worlds’ (328).

Monday 22 November 2010

Marc Cortez on the Evangelical Theological Society 2010 Meetings

The 62nd Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, recently concluded, provided an opportunity to consider ongoing debates on justification by faith, with the help of three plenary speakers – Tom Schreiner, Frank Thielman, and N.T. Wright – all of whom have published extensively on the topic.

Bibliobloggers have been summarising sessions – especially the key ones on justification. I’ve particularly benefited from Marc Cortez’s reflections over at Scientia et Sapientia, and have linked to his summaries of those papers (as well as some others) below.

Jason Sexton

The State of the Recent Evangelical Trinitarian Resurgence

Tom Schreiner

Justification: The Saving Righteousness of God in Christ

Gregg Allison

Theological Interpretation of Scripture: Promises and Pitfalls for Evangelical Appropriation

Frank Thielman

God’s Righteousness as God’s Fairness in Romans: The Oldest Perspective on Paul

Megan DeFranza

Sex and the Image of God: Dangers in Evangelical and Roman Catholic Theologies

Jonathan Morgan

Christus Victor Motifs in the Soteriology of Thomas Aquinas

N.T. Wright

Justification Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Three posts – here, here, and here.

Sung Wook Chung

Calvin on the Church as the ‘Mother’ of Believers

Friday 19 November 2010

Regent’s Reviews 2.1 (October 2010)

Andy Goodliff kindly notes that the latest edition of Regent’s Reviews is online here.

Walking Back to Happiness

[I contributed today’s ‘Connecting with Culture’, a weekly email service provided by London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, where I seek to be gainfully employed.]

‘It's time we admitted that there’s more to life than money, and it’s time we focused not just on GDP, but on GWB – general well-being... Improving our society’s sense of well-being is, I believe, the central political challenge of our times.’

So said David Cameron back in 2006, and so it is that starting next week the Office of National Statistics will be producing measures to assess citizens’ happiness, yielding data which will inform government policy.

To some extent, this has been inspired by economists, but it’s also part of a larger trend to broaden our understanding of wellbeing beyond economic growth to embrace a number of domains – health, family, work, community, environment – all supported by a blossoming literature in ‘happiness studies’.

Inevitably, not everyone will hold these factors to be of equal value, and it’s not entirely clear how one measures and compares largely subjective indicators of happiness. Even so, this feels like a significant path to pursue, not least because all indications are that healthy relationships are a vital factor in human flourishing.

And that will come as no surprise to Christians. After all, we worship the perfect-in-communion Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; we understand that humans were created for relationship with one another and their surrounding environment; we serve the one who summed up God’s design for life in terms of love of God and neighbour. And – lest that becomes a measurement of performance – we know the call to love comes only because God himself has restored the most fractured relationship of all, that between himself and humanity, with all the implications for renewed relationships with each other that come about as a result.

Happiness too, in the sense of wholeness and wellbeing, goes back to God’s original intention for creation – not, perhaps, as the end of a search but as the by-product of a yet higher end. As Christian philosopher David Naugle points out, happiness ultimately comes down to what we love. Our problem is that left to ourselves we attach love to things in disordered ways, leaving God out of the reckoning. When God acts to save us, he reorders our loves and affections, such that true happiness – far from being a pursuit of self-fulfilment – is rooted in a restored relationship with God and others.


See the BBC News report from 22 May 2006 – ‘Make people happier, says Cameron’.

Read The Guardian article from 14 November 2010 – ‘Happiness index to gauge Britain’s national mood’.

Explore more about happiness here.

‘Wholly Living: A New Perspective on International Development’ is the title of a report published by Theos in partnership with CAFOD and Tearfund, contending that our obsession with money, freedom and choice ‘has resulted in a radical devaluation of the social, cultural and environmental relationships that form us and that enable us to flourish as human beings’. Click here for a copy of the report.

The following books explore this topic in more detail from different perspectives:

Derek Bok, The Politics of Happiness: What Government Can Learn from the New Research on Well-Being (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010).

Mark Vernon, Wellbeing, The Art of Living Series (Stocksfield: Acumen, 2008).

David K. Naugle, Reordered Love, Reordered Lives: Learning the Deep Meaning of Happiness (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008).

Thursday 18 November 2010

Miroslav Volf on Being Captive to the Word of God

Miroslav Volf, Captive to the Word of God: Engaging the Scriptures for Contemporary Theological Reflection (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010), 188pp., ISBN 9780802865908.

I’ve been looking forward to this one. The publisher’s information is here, and an excerpt is here. I note the volume includes his truly excellent essay on 1 Peter – ‘Soft Difference’.

This is from the Introduction:

‘I read the Bible as a sacred text and a witness to Jesus Christ; a site of God’s self-revelation; a text from the past through which God addresses all humanity and each human being today; a text that has an overarching unity yet is internally teaming with rich diversity; a text that encodes meanings and refracts them in multiple ways; a text we should approach with trust and critical judgment as well as engage with receptivity and imagination; a text that defines Christian identity yet speaks to people beyond the boundaries of Christian communities.’

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Douglas B. Miller on Ecclesiastes

Douglas B. Miller, Ecclesiastes, Believers Church Bible Commentary Series (Scottdale: Herald, 2010), 400pp., ISBN 9780836194913.

This is a recent and hefty addition to the Believers Church Bible Commentary Series. The publisher’s information about the commentary is here, including an interview with the author.

Elsewhere, Miller has published a technical monograph exploring the significance of the Hebrew word hebel (translated ‘meaningless’ in the NIV) in Ecclesiastes. In the interview he notes:

‘The interpretation of this word has a significant effect on how one understands the book. It is often translated as “vanity” or, more recently, “meaningless.” My approach is different. I argue that its literal meaning of “breath” or “vapor” serves as a multi-layered symbol for the author’s analysis of life in the human realm. As a result, the author isn’t saying that life is vain or meaningless – so grab for whatever fun you can find, or shake your fist at the sky. Rather, he uses hebel to describe a world of tragedy and chance, in which good things are short-lived, and where treasured things turn out to be of little worth. Although this is certainly grim, the author has not given up hope. He advises his readers how to make the most of their lives in the midst of such realities.’

And, on the overall message of the book of Ecclesiastes, he says:

‘The author’s message has three elements: he urges his readers to acknowledge and accept the “vapor” nature of all human experience; he then challenges his readers to reject certain inadequate ways of responding to these realities, such as assuming that hard work and wisdom guarantee success, or that pleasure and material gain will bring satisfaction; and finally he offers some carefully-worded strategies for those who would take the risk to hopefully navigate their complex world. These include cultivating contentment, embracing community and generosity, advocacy for the oppressed, prudence toward those in power, the valuable, though limited, role of wisdom, and, especially, enjoying God’s gifts of work and pleasure.’

And this is how he outlines the book:


1:1 – Introduction of Qohelet

Part 1 (1:2–6:9): Human Effort

1:2-11 – All Is Vapor
1:12–2:26 – The King’s Experiment
3:1-22 – God’s Work in Time and Eternity
4:1-16 – Toil for Self and in Community
5:1-7 – Words Before God
5:8–6:9 – Enjoyment Instead of Greed

Part 2 (6:10–12:8): Human Limits

6:10–7:14 – No One Knows What Is Good
7:15-29 – Wisdom and Righteousness
8:1-17 – Even the Wise Do Not Know
9:1-10 – Enjoy Life Now
9:11–10:15 – Time and Chance
10:16–11:6 – Living with Risks
11:7–12:8 – Youth and Old Age


12:9-14 – Epilogue

Chris Seay on the Gospel According to Jesus

Chris Seay, The Gospel According to Jesus: A Faith That Restores All Things (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010), 224pp., ISBN 9780849948169.

Chris Seay has a book out on the gospel. I haven’t yet looked at it properly, so I’ll reserve judgment for the moment. (I confess, however, that I’m struggling a bit with the subtitle... it’s not immediately clear to me what is meant by ‘a faith’ – my personal faith? the church’s faith? the Christian faith? – or in what sense such a faith ‘restores all things’.)

Anyway, there is an interview with him here, in which he states this as his definition of the gospel:

‘The gospel is the good news that God is calling out all people to be redeemed by the power residing in the life, death and ultimate resurrection of Jesus, the liberating King. These called out ones – all of us – are rescued from a life of slavery, sin and failure to become emissaries (as Paul puts it in Romans 1) in a new kingdom set to join redemption of the entire creation, groaning and longing to be redeemed.’

The book seems to take its cue from a view of ‘righteousness’ as being ‘restorative justice’, seeing the gospel through that prism, so I’ll be interested to see how his treatment plays out.

Meanwhile, Trevin Wax already has a review here.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Andrew David Naselli and Charles Naselli on Books on Politics

Son and Father – Andrew David Naselli and Charles Naselli – team up here to overview and review the following three recent publications on politics from evangelicals:

Wayne Grudem, Politics – According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), 619pp., ISBN 9780310330295

Carl R. Trueman, Republocrat: Confessions of a Liberal Conservative (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2010), xxvii + 110pp., ISBN 9781596381834

Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner, City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era, Cultural Renewal (Chicago: Moody, 2010), 140pp., ISBN 9780802458575

Although the books differ in several ways, they conclude that ‘they all encourage Christians to interact with politics in a way that brings glory to God as salt and light in the world. Each acknowledges that theology should drive political beliefs, not vice versa, and that the working out of those political beliefs will vary according to circumstances’.

Milton P. Horne on Proverbs and Ecclesiastes

Milton P. Horne, Proverbs–Ecclesiastes, Smyth & Helwys Biblical Commentary Volume 12 (Macon: Smyth & Helwys, 2003), 579pp. ISBN 1-57312-069-3.

The publishers makes available the introduction to this commentary as an excerpt here.

It takes in the following areas:

Literary dimensions of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes – including literary forms, literary art, and literary transmission

Historical dimensions of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes – including authorship, date, social context, and ancient Near Eastern context

Theological dimensions of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes – including the absence of the story of Yahweh’s revelation, wisdom’s anthropocentrism, and revelation through Creation

There is also a separate section introducing Ecclesiastes on its own, covering Ecclesiastes in the canon, authorship, ancient near Eastern context, date of origin, theology, message of the book, and literary genre and structure.

On the book’s message, Horne writes:

‘[T]he sage seems to be offering a confession that moves beyond the mere recognition of ambiguity and inconsistency in the universe. The thrust of the message concerns how the search for meaning continues rather than what that meaning is to be. The book portrays a teacher whose aim is to model for his students the importance of making relative judgments. He calls attention to the dangers of absolutes and the vulnerability of unquestioned assumptions... Nevertheless, enjoyment is still commended... Death is inevitable (3:19-22), life is full of pain and suffering (2:23), God is unknowable, and yet it is entirely possible to enjoy one’s lot in life (5:18-20).

‘So, without any delusion of getting ahead, of pleasing God, or of actually changing the inexorable facts of existence, it is still better to be wise than a fool (7:11-12), better to draw near to worship in an attitude of respect than in one of disrespect (5:1-5), better to live in the moment than in the past (7:10). One should make the most of one’s time – whatever it is (9:10) – should seek God while youth allows (12:1-2), and should take advantage of every opportunity to enjoy what has been made available for one’s enjoyment (9:7; 11:7-8). In other words, the meaning of life is not found in the macro-assumptions one holds, but in the way one manages life’s micro-significances. The little things count the most to make life full and meaningful’ (377).

And on literary genre and structure, he notes (more helpfully, in my opinion):

‘The strategy for readers is... not so much one of finding a logical argument as much as listening to a sage debate with himself. The point-counterpoint movement reinforces the sage’s attention to subtleties. For everything that moves forward, there is a force tugging in the opposite direction. He raises questions based upon his experiences and readers must listen to the different perspectives; some traditional, others quite untraditional. As we understand Qoheleth’s point of view, we also enter into his arguments, rejecting some and retaining others. But even more than detecting some resolution in Qoheleth’s thinking, readers themselves learn by experience a process of deliberating on life’s and faith’s riddles (378).

Monday 15 November 2010

The Hedgehog Review 12, 3 (2010) on Secularism

The latest Hedgehog Review from the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture carries a number of essays devoted to secularism; three, in particular, have caught my eye:

Charles Taylor

The Meaning of Secularism

Craig Calhoun

Rethinking Secularism

Slavica Jakelic

Secularism: A Bibliographic Essay

Frank Thielman on Ephesians

Frank Thielman, Ephesians, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2010), 592pp., ISBN 9780801026836.

Baker Books make available here the introduction to Frank Thielman’s new commentary on Ephesians; it covers the following topics:

1. The Authorship of Ephesians

2. The Literary Character of Ephesians

3. The Recipients of Ephesians

4. The Date and Setting of Ephesians in Paul’s Career

5. The Circumstances That Prompted Ephesians

6. The Structure of Ephesians

• Prescript and greeting (1:1–2)

• Blessing God who has blessed his people in Christ (1:3–14)

• Thanksgiving for conversion and intercession for understanding (1:15–23)

• From children of wrath to new creation (2:1–10)

• From existence without God to membership in the people of God (2:11–22)

• Paul’s divinely given task and his suffering for the Gentiles (3:1–13)

• Paul prays for his readers’ inner strength and praises the God who can give it (3:14-21)

• The growth of the church toward unity and maturity (4:1–16)

• A reminder of how to live as new human beings (4:17–5:2)

• Avoiding and transforming the deeds of darkness (5:3–14)

• Wise conduct within the household (5:15–6:9)

• Standing against the strategies of the devil (6:10–20)

• A concluding commendation and a final prayer-wish (6:21–24)

Saturday 13 November 2010

New and Forthcoming Books from P&R Publishing

There are several new and forthcoming books from P&R Publishing; the ones that that I’ll be checking out are listed below, along with brief blurb from the publisher and links to excerpts:

Paul K. Helseth, “Right Reason” and the Princeton Mind: An Unorthodox Proposal (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2010), ISBN 9781596381438.

Overturns the historical consensus that Old Princetonian theologians were nothing more than enlightenment rationalists – and re-establishes them within the reformed spiritual tradition that considers the renewed mind as a servant to the Holy Spirit.

[Having read articles by Helseth on this topic some years back – when it was trendy in some quarters to accuse the Old Princetonians of being dry-as-dust rationalists – I’ve been looking forward to a fuller treatment.]

Excerpt here.

Peter Enns, Douglas J. Green, and Michael B. Kelley (eds.), Eyes to See, Ears to Hear: Essays in Memory of J Alan Groves (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2010), 288pp., ISBN 9781596381223.

Groves was a pioneer of modern biblical studies, using computers to analyze the Hebrew Old Testament. These articles have been collected to honor his work and also his character as a loving Christian exemplar.

[This looks like a interesting collection of some pieces of biblical-theological reflection.]

Excerpt here (which includes an essay by Tremper Longman on suffering, worth checking out).

John M. Frame, The Doctrine of the Word of God, A Theology of Lordship Volume 4 (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2010), 720pp., ISBN 9780875522647.

‘The Word of God’ is a multi-faceted concept. God speaks but Word is one of Jesus’s names. God’s personal communications take other forms, through prophets, apostles, and the written Word. Frame investigates them all.

[This is the fourth volume in Frame’s ‘Theology of Lordship’ series, each successive one seeming to be larger than the previous one; I caught some of this as the chapters were serialised online, and there’s no doubt it will come to stand as one of the fullest evangelical treatments of Scripture for years to come.]

Excerpt here.

Arie C. Leder, Waiting for the Land: The Story Line of the Pentateuch (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2010), 224pp., ISBN 9780875521961.

How should Israel’s waiting for their land shape our reading of the Pentateuch, and how should this shape the hope of the church today? Treating the Pentateuch as a coherent and progressive story, Waiting for the Land is the first book-length exploration of these questions. Following an introduction to the Pentateuch, Leder examines each book, showing that the promise of the land was not realized. He then shows how the contemporary church should wait for its land.

[Looks like it will provide a careful holistic reading of the Pentateuch.]

Excerpt here.

Christopher W. Morgan, A Theology of James: Wisdom for God's People, Explorations in Biblical Theology (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2010), ISBN 9781596380844.

Chris Morgan accomplishes a seldom-attempted task, laying out a biblical, coherent theology of the epistle of James. He connects the particulars of James to the big picture of the Bible and argues that its instruction is both grounded in theology and is theology applied.

[Part of P&R’s growing ‘Explorations in Biblical Theology’ series, this is the first title devoted to a particular book of the Bible rather than a distinct theme.]

Excerpt here.

Ron Gleason, Herman Bavinck: Pastor, Churchman, Statesman and Theologian (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2010), 512pp., ISBN 9781596380806.

Highlighting the breadth of Herman Bavinck’s experience in theology and politics, Ronald N. Gleason offers the English-speaking world a vivid picture of the Dutch theologian’s life. Gleason, a leading authority on Bavinck’s life and ideas, brings to light Bavinck’s rich family heritage and contends that his family background played a crucial role in the development of the man who wrote the magisterial Reformed Dogmatics.

[This will nicely complement the recent-ish four-volume English translation of Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics, especially for those of us unable to read Dutch.]

Excerpt here.

Bryan Gregory, Longing for God in an Age of Discouragement: The Gospel According to Zechariah (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2010), ISBN 9781596381421.

[Part of P&R’s ‘The Gospel According to the Old Testament Series’, with some volumes stronger than others, in my opinion; I’m looking forward to this one.]

Excerpt here.