Book Review: How Does the New Testament use the Old Testament?: A Survey of Major Views

How Does the New Testament Use the Old Testament?: A Survey of the Major ViewsHow Does the New Testament Use the Old Testament?: A Survey of the Major Views by Michael Vlach
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This booklet is helpful in summarizing the seven major views of how the New Testament writers used/interpreted the Old Testament. Vlach outlines the views in the words of their proponents and provides a few test cases of passages and how the different views read them. This is a complicated issue, particularly when it comes to the hard cases. However, Vlach points out that the majority of uses inarguably use a contextual interpretation. From that perspective, too much can be made of the relatively few places that are harder. These are important issues for they ultimately involve how the Bible is put together, issues of continuity and discontinuity between the testaments, and the possibility of Christians after the Apostles to follow their exegetical methods.

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Book Review: Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books

Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament BooksCanon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books by Michael J. Kruger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kruger has given us an excellent treatment of the subject of canon. He evaluates various canonical models, and seems to treat each fairly. He ultimately makes the case for the self-authenticating model of canon. He also gives serious considerations to objection to this model, as well. This is not a book trying to prove the existence of a canon to skeptics. Kruger is rather investigating whether there are sufficient reasons to acknowledge a complete canon of Scriptures. Though not a work of apologetics per se, Kruger also makes a case for presuppositionalism more generally. This shouldn’t surprise us because there is always a degree of circularity when dealing with ultimate questions, e.g., authority, reality, epistemology, etc.

While exploring the self-authenticating model, he also gives an introductory primer on the relationships between Scripture, Apostles, Holy Spirit, and churches. I enjoyed this book on various levels. This is a book that pastors and preachers ought to read and keep a copy around for reference.

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Book Review: A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness

A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete TruthfulnessA Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness by John Piper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the first book in a trilogy of books about the Scriptures, the Bible. Piper accomplishes a lot of objectives in this book. He set out to show how the Scriptures are self-authenticating and can be read and understood as the divine word of God by laymen as well as by scholars. He defends the confessional position of Scriptures being inspired, infallible, inerrant, and supremely authoritative. He gives an explanation of the canon that is accessible to the ordinary Bible reader. Throughout the book he drives at God’s glory and how it is peculiarly revealed through the Bible to those who read and understand with faith. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

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Book Review: Taking God at His Word: Why the Bible is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You

Taking God at His Word: Why the Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and MeTaking God at His Word: Why the Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me by Kevin DeYoung
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a brief, readable book on the authority, clarity, necessity, and sufficiency of Scripture. DeYoung writes for the normal Christian to help understand what the Bible says about the Bible. Overall, it’s a helpful look at the most important book.

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Review: What Does God Want of Us Anyway?: A Quick Overview of the Whole Bible

What Does God Want of Us Anyway?: A Quick Overview of the Whole BibleWhat Does God Want of Us Anyway?: A Quick Overview of the Whole Bible by Mark Dever
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve heard Mark Dever described as all substance and no style. I don’t know how much he might object to that, but I don’t think it entirely accurate. His style is clear and straightforward. I can’t remember reading him and scratching my head in wonder of his meaning. I may not have agreed with him, but I understood him. I can’t always say the same with other authors who would be credited for much style.

This book is a sample of where Dever is at his best. He has a knack for taking big and complex and making it clear and accessible. He undertakes an overview of the entire Bible and then of the Old and New Testaments in this volume. He doesn’t take the sweeping story of Scripture and make it small like a Reader’s Digest abridgement. Rather, he takes to a high elevation where our eyes can see and appreciate more than from a lower vantage point–just like the panoramic photographs he expresses such appreciation for in the introduction. I think he hit his mark.

The neglect of the Bible is miserably widespread among professing Christians. Among many who do take it up, the neglect of the Old Testament is too common. Dever gives a clear view of the Bible’s overarching purpose. Some think the Bible is a discontinuity of random histories and riddled sayings. Some think the Old and New Testaments differ so much that one is about an angry, judging God and the other a loving, accepting Jesus. I challenge you to read this book to get an overview of the continuity of the whole and connectedness of the different books, and then read the whole Bible. You might get a different picture.

When we read the whole Bible and think in terms of the whole Bible, we get a much needed perspective we can’t get from the ground–the love and faithfulness of God. We face disappointments and discouragements in life. We deal with failures and intense pain. These trials could cause us to assume God unloving or unfaithful to his promises. Go to his word. The Bible covers time from the creation to thousands of years of human history to the ages to come, including the eternal ages where the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Jesus Christ will be shown. If we climb to to heights above our earthly struggles and disappointments, we see God’s covenant faithfulness and have hope when we climb back down and take out the trash or drive to the funeral home.

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