Resource Saturday- Two Great Books on Biblical Theology

July 25, 2009

Right interpretation of God’s Word is probably the most crucial aspect of our faith.  Without a proper understanding of the Scriptures we can never know the truth that they reveal.  Because of this many Christians pour over commentary upon commentary and systematic upon systematic gaining deeper and better knowledge of the things which God has said.

Yet so much time is spent in trying to unwrap the individual books and topics of the Bible that its easy to lose track of another important level of interpretation, namely biblical theology.  This is the point at which we interpret the Bible as a whole, the Bible as a story, from front to back, in light of its focus and intent.  As I said, this is another level of interpretation and so has obvious overlaps with the others already mentioned, but still has its own distinct purpose.  One such purpose is gaining a fuller grasp of the relationship between the Old and New Testaments, the Old and New Covenants, Israel and the Church.

When considering biblical theology there are two books that I have found most helpful.  The first one is According to Plan by Graeme Goldsworthy.  Dr. Goldsworthy is a retired Australian professor and in this book he sets out a template for placing the various themes of the Scriptures together as they arise in order to make the separate books of the Bible fit together into one coherent image.  I first picked up this book on recommendation of a friend during John Piper’s Desiring God Conference last year and had it most of the way read before I even arrived back home.  This is a well organized, easy to follow text that carries you step-by-step through deciphering and connecting biblically relevant information and, judging by its prevelance in the classes at Southern Seminary, it really is as good as I found it to be myself.

The second book, or actually set of books, is Mark Dever’s sermon collections The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made and The Message of the New Testament: Promises Kept.  This set contains a sermon on each book of the Bible which describe both the book itself and its place in the greater canon of Scripture.  I have found this set to be very nice to use when I move into new books in my personal study time.  They are nice introductions to the book and wonderful reminders of how all of God’s Word reveals the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you are looking for great resources to build up your interpretative library, please consider these as foundational texts every serious student must have.