I was looking for a reliable Evangelical systematic theology text and I know many people who had purchased Grudem's work and decided to get it myself as well.
There are upsides to his work, for one it is very thorough and well laid out. His descriptions of deep theological topics are approachable and avoid being too heady. For a student such as myself who wants to learn seminary level topics without having to go to seminary there are many chapters in the book that are very insightful, a good deal deeper academically speaking than your average sunday school. He also structures each chapter in the same logical format over and over, which makes for an easy to use textbook layout. All in all these are the main reasons I gave him 3 stars.
But it was also striking how it seems that Grudem erred on the side of being too "balanced" in his approach, what I mean by that is he often doesn't draw firm conclusions to avoid offense on several issues. He emphasis the need for unity in the theological community, and while I agree, we must also ask ourselves if unity should come at the price of accuracy and truth. Take Grudem's chapter on Creation: he does not end with the firm belief of a six day literal creation, a fact that the Hebrew language enforces clearly. Take the Flood, he does not end his chapter with the firm belief that it was truly global (which begs the question, if the flood was local, does that mean God promised with a rainbow to never again send a local flood? clearly wrong) There are several issues like these where the response is simply too wishy washy.
All in all I give his book 3 stars for a solid layout and in general helpful content that was sadly marred by a lack of firmness on some key apologetics issues.
I researched several reference books and by far, this was the best! I love that it is written FOR THE STUDENT and lay persons, not theological scholars. It is comprehensive, yet easy to understand. Our church's EDU Center decided to use it as the course textbook! I especially love the Laminated Study Guide, which capsulizes terms and definitions to enhance your study. I am very pleased!
I would like to have a hard cover instead of the soft cover. The price was lower. I have only gotten to chapter 12 that's why I can only give it 3 stars. Theology is based on "theory" but the bible is based on fact. It's a good edition to my library. I'll try and come back later and maybe change the rating.