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5 Stars Out Of 5
Helpful treatment on biblical theology
June 1, 2011
God's glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology is written by Dr. James M. Hamilton Jr., Associate Professor of Biblical Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The purpose of this book is to do for biblical theology what Kevin Vanhoozer has done for hermeneutics and David Wells has done for evangelical theology (page 38).
Dr. Hamilton begins the book by asking, "Can the Center Hold?, by exploring how others have treated the topic of the metanarrative of the Bible. The part in this chapter one, I appreciate the most is how he handles the various options regarding the metanarrative of the Bible, and yet he still makes the time to recognize that these options have contributed to his own understanding of the metanarrative of the Bible. The author does not just stop at what others have contributed though, but advances the discussion in my opinion in a significant way.
The book then protrudes out to look at God's glory in Salvation through Judgment in the Torah, the Prophets, the Writings, the Gospels, Acts, the Letters of the New Testament and Revelation. The second to last chapter looks at objections to the centrality of God's Glory in salvation through judgment, and concludes by looking at how God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment in Ministry Today.
Having read Dr. Wells series on evangelical theology and Dr. Vanhoozer's book, and now Dr. Hamilton's, I can say with confidence that Dr. Hamilton's book accomplishes what it seeks to do and then some. The part that I appreciate the most about this book is not only is it biblical but it is also practical. At the end of each section, Dr. Hamilton offers a "theology of" each book of the Bible as well as the major divisions of the Bible (Torah, Prophets, Writings, Gospels, Acts, Letters of the New Testament, and Revelation).
The most interesting part of this book was the last chapter titled God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment in Ministry Today where Dr. Hamilton applies his biblical theology to Church Ministry, Evangelism, Discipleship, Corrective Church Discipline, Personal Spiritual Discipline and concludes the book.
God's Glory in Salvation Through Judgment is an academic book that is not overly academic. By that, I mean this book has all the footnotes and references you would expect from a world-class scholar, but it is not boring. Dr. Hamilton has written a masterpiece a book that should be read by laymen, Pastors, seminary students, missionaries, Sunday school teachers, Bible College and Seminary Professors. I encourage you to read this book and learn from Dr. Hamilton on this vital topic.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Crossway book review bloggers program. 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 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
By far the best book I have read in a long time! I never knew reading a text book on Biblical theology could be so captivating. Hamilton starts with the premise that there is indeed still a consistent theological message throughout all of scripture. That message is that God is seeking His glory in the salvation of mankind through His judgment. He then goes section by section and book by book to prove this thesis. I think he does so in a very compelling and interesting way. I know when I finished this book I had a much fuller understanding and love of the Bible. I am sure it will bless you in the same way.
Biblical Theology is often viewed as a difficult discipline to master, but Christians should not shy away from the study of Theology. Our task as Christians is to honor and glorify Christ and delight in Him. We do this by knowing God and making Him known.
Biblical Theology is easily defined as getting to "know" God. It's not just "knowing" about Him, but it is imperative that we "know" Him in a personal relational way.
James Hamilton, Jr. wants all of us to be able to study the Bible as a whole unit, not just 66 individual books with 66 individual central topics. He believes that there is a "central" theme to the Bible and one that we should keep in mind as we read through the Bible in a year, or study individual books and chapters of books.
Hamilton is aware that many may disagree with his premise, so early in the book he declares, "Anticipating the charge that it might be too broad to be useful, I am sharpening the proposal to focus specifically on the glory of God manifested in salvation through judgment." He then asks the question, "Can the center hold?"
His book will seek to answer the question that yes, the center can hold. He will also seek to show how the theme of God being manifested in salvation through judgment is part of each of the 66 books of the Bible. As such after a brief introduction to his topic he delves into examining each book of the Bible to show how it fits into the central theme that he is working from.
I believe that you will find that his work is thoughtful and well documented. You will be drawn to see the case that he is making and be challenged to adopt or refine his thesis. He does not shy away from sharing how other Theologians would differ with him in his thoughts. That is comforting because it shows that he is not trying to just dismiss others views to push his own.
As a Missions Pastor I teach part of the Perspectives Course every year regarding Missions the major theme of the Bible, God's Story of making His name known among the nations.
Each of us has our leanings towards how we see Scripture fitting together as a whole. I was very encouraged by Hamilton's book to contemplate on his structure and theme and see how that complimented or helped to further explain the Theme of the Bible that I have taught for years.
The work is well written and will be easy for the average laymen to understand as well as provide good material for serious Bible students to contemplate as they work through understanding the whole Theme of God's Word.
Particularly helpful is Hamilton's Analytical Outline at the beginning of the book. It will help you quickly catch the structure of his thesis as well as find a section that you might be particularly interested in.
At 640 pages this is not a quick read, but it is a very interesting one.
James M. Hamilton JR.'s biblical theology centers on God's glory in salvation through judgment. Hamilton views each book of the Bible through a lens of judgment, revealing man's sinfulness and need of a Savior. It is through understanding judgment that man is able to see and understand salvation. When salvation is received, God's glory is evident.
This biblical theology will provide the reader with great insight into each book of the Bible, as well as connecting the dots between each book, and the OT/NT in general. Apart from bringing a different perspective on the big picture of God's unfolding story, it is a solid biblical theology text and will aid the pastor in his studies. The final chapter, applying Hamilton's thesis to ministry today, was particularly helpful.
Even if one doesn't agree with each point that is made, there is no doubt the reader will sense anew God's glory and holiness. Through that lens one will understand God's righteous judgment leading to a deeper appreciation of salvation. For bible expositor's, this will be a very helpful book, one that I will reach for often.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Crossway as part of their Blogger Review Program. 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 Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."