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G. K. Beale, coeditor of the award-winning Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, examines how the New Testament storyline relates to and develops the Old Testament storyline.
To this end, he argues that every major concept of the New Testament is a development of a concept from the Old and is to be understood as a facet of the inauguration of the latter-day new creation and kingdom. Moreover, Beale is admant that what he is developing a unique New Testament biblical theology, one that draws its meaning from the dynamic relationship between Old Testament text and New Testament fulfillment, and is not therefore writing another 'New Testament Theology'.
Offering extensive interaction between the two testaments, this volume helps readers see the unifying conceptual threads of the Old Testament and how those threads are woven together in Jesus Christ. One of Beale's best qualities is his very readable expositions. Crisp and not overly technical, this definitive work will be valued by students and professors, educated laity and pastors.
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Publication Date: 2011
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-Thomas R. Schreiner,
James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
It is tempting to confess that dogmaticians merely rummage around in the mines of biblical theologians. With this volume, the quarry has been enlarged and deepened, exposing the richest veins. I found it to be not exactly a page-turner, but rather on almost every page I discovered another spot at which to linger before moving on. Drawing on decades of exegetical research and teaching, A New Testament Biblical Theology exists at the intersection of biblical studies and theology. Carrying on the tradition of Geerhardus Vos, Professor Beale has raised the bar for biblical theology in our day. We will be digesting this volume for many years to come.
J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California
This is like a New Testament theology but goes far beyond. It does not merely describe a part of Scripture from the outside; the view is rather interior, developing themes and movements from within the whole Bible's own storyline. Beale does full justice to motifs often neglected. Like no other work I know, A New Testament Biblical Theology gives eschatology (and not just futurology) full due. He writes understandably and frequently engages in exegesis, which reduces generalizations and unsupported assertions. The treatment is theocentric, missional, and doxological. Reflecting thirty years of research and with some six hundred books in its bibliography, this volume is unique in our time and in fact without close parallel in a discipline (biblical theology) that split the Old Testament off from the New over two hundred years ago. Beale has brought them back together in a creative and methodical way. The results will provoke a deeper grasp of God's redemptive aims and further research. For some readers, like this one, a major result will be not only appreciation but also awe at such a masterful treatment of so much of Scripture's wealth.
-Robert W. Yarbrough,
professor of New Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary
This New Testament biblical theology makes the Old Testament storyline the point of departure for exploring the New Testament message. Beale's volume is far reaching, written at a high scholarly level, and conversant with a wide range of scholarship. Even where one may disagree, Beale's treatment is always informative and at times even provocative. A very important contribution to biblical theology that deserves to be widely read.
-Andreas J. Kostenberger,
senior professor of New Testament and biblical theology, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
A magnificent achievement! Rarely does a volume in biblical studies come along with such breadth, depth, insight, and specificity. It is a brilliant reconstruction of themes that are central to Christian faith. This is a landmark accomplishment.
-David F. Wells,
distinguished research professor, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
The canonical scope and focus on the biblical storyline give Beale'sNew Testament Biblical Theology a unique place among the many New Testament theologies now available. The book is vintage Beale, creatively making connections between Old Testament and New Testament and pursuing a definite vision of how the Bible hangs together.
-Douglas J. Moo,
Kenneth T. Wessner Professor of New Testament, Wheaton College
Some New Testament theologies emphasize the distinctiveness of each author or book; others seek a center or unifying theme. Beale's work is decidedly in the second category as he demonstrates new creation as an umbrella category covering all of the other major motifs not only in the New Testament but also in the relevant Old Testament and Second Temple Jewish background material. Along the way, readers are treated to outstanding up-to-date discussions of most of the main topics they have come to expect and some new ones, especially in light of intracanonical connections. Throughout, Beale is thoroughly evangelical and thoroughly scholarly. This work is a true tour de force.
-Craig L. Blomberg,
distinguished professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary
This volume, impressive for its massive sweep, is the matured fruit of the author's extensive work over several decades in New Testament theology. A biblical theology concerned with showing the unity and coherence of all biblical revelation in its rich diversity, it explores the various ways the New Testament storyline transforms, as it develops and fulfills, the central elements of the Old Testament storyline with the new creation kingdom seen as the comprehensive outcome of the already-not yet eschatological fulfillment effected by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Especially those with interests in biblical eschatology, with some attention to the role of the church and Christian living 'between the times,' as well as in the New Testament use of the Old will profit from the characteristically sound and often stimulating instruction Professor Beale provides.
-Richard B. Gaffin Jr.,
professor of biblical and systematic theology emeritus, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia
G. K. Beale has been harvesting the fields of biblical theology in major biblical commentaries and exegetical/theological studies for many years. Here now is his biblical theology magnum opus. A New Testament Biblical Theology draws together and generously supplements many strands of Beale's earlier work into a comprehensive and mature expression of the whole. Beale locates the 'organic progress of supernatural revelation' not in a particular central doctrine or idea, but in the Bible's grand storyline, the story of God establishing his new-creational kingdom through Christ and the Spirit. As with all of Beale's works, this volume is brimming with rich and deeply satisfying redemptive-historical exegesis. This provides an enormous feast for anyone wishing to understand in greater detail the thrust of the Bible's saving story, but it also results in a great contribution to scholarship--a broad, well-researched, and well-constructed foundation for future scholarly endeavors in biblical theology.
-Charles E. Hill,
professor of New Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary Orlando
A New Testament Biblical Theology takes Beale's years of study, teaching, and research and presents his readers with the most thorough and mature work of New Testament biblical theology yet seen in the English language. He has structured the massive volume in a beautiful fashion, focusing nearly half of the work on the eschatological storyline of the Old Testament then moving to the story of the already-not yet latter-day resurrection and new-creational kingdom of the New. His other major themes are sin and restoration, salvation as new creation, the work of the Spirit, and the church and Christian living. The thorough and readable volume demonstrates the contours of the grand sweep of God's great revelation to sinful men and women through the exalted Lord Jesus Christ.
-Richard C. Gamble,
professor of systematic theology, Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary
In your hands is a gold mine of biblical scholarship, a distillation of a lifetime of study by one of the most respected New Testament scholars of our day. Beale treats his subject with devotion, his opponents with charity, and his readers with respect. Beale's arguments and conclusions are presented with such clarity and force that any interested reader, whether pastor, layperson, or professional scholar, will be able to benefit from the rich insights that appear on almost every page. Beale provides the key that unlocks the storyline of the Bible, and with the help of his patient guidance, the reader discovers in one example after another the power of that storyline to highlight the inner coherence of biblical truth across the Testaments and to open up new vistas of understanding of many of the Bible's best-known stories, as well as some of its most obscure texts.
-Gordon P. Hugenberger,
senior minister, Park Street Church, Boston; adjunct professor of Old Testament, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Greg Beale's New Testament Biblical Theology is a stimulating read. Beale understands well how the two testaments relate and how essential the redemptive story of the Old Testament is for understanding God's work in Jesus Christ and his church. Readers will find the emphasis on the already-not yet end-time new creation and kingdom very enriching and insightful. What we have in this new biblical theology is an appreciation for the biblical story as a whole, an appreciation that provides a much-needed counterweight to the atomistic tendencies in much of our exegetical and theological work. Beale's book will make an important contribution to a field of study that continues to redefine itself and move into new and interesting directions.
-Craig A. Evans,
Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College
Biblical scholars and theologians, after long separation and now perhaps with a healthier sense of their own historical location, have recently found themselves engaged on a common project: what is it that binds the church's canonical texts together? Reflecting its author's situatedness within the evangelical Reformed tradition and firm commitment to exegetical integrity and the priority of the biblical storyline, Greg Beale's extensive and detailed new book is a most welcome addition to the ongoing discussion.
associate professor of New Testament, Regent College
Christopher Heady5 Stars Out Of 5Excellent ResourceAugust 26, 2014Christopher HeadyQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This is a very detail oriented and very scholarly treatment of the usage of the Old Testament in the New Testament. With 900+ pages the best way to use this book is to use it as a reference book and that is exactly the way the author and editors set it up. I really enjoy having this in my pastor's study.
Bob HaytonSt. Paul, MNAge: 25-34Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5Brings together OT & NT scholarship for the churchApril 22, 2013Bob HaytonSt. Paul, MNAge: 25-34Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5G. K. Beale's magnum opus is an ambitious project that seeks to integrate the storylines of the Old and New Testaments, and unfold how the New Testament unpacks the promise of the Old as it unfolds for us the glories of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In this book Beale displays a masterful grasp on the academy as well as an expert understanding of the second temple Judaistic literature, Ancient Near Eastern writings, and the latest scholarship on both biblical testaments. He is a humble servant of the church, however, and seeks to answer questions the average churchgoer will face and remains ever practical even as he explores a wide array of various topics. And while his book requires careful and (at times) strenuous reading, it truly integrates the entire canon of Scripture in a way that has promise to bring together Old and New Testament scholarship for the service of the church.
The task Beale sets out for himself is huge, and his book is too. With over 960 readable pages, this book will take the average reader some time to conquer. It took me about a year to wade my way through it, although admittedly I tend to be a fickle reader and so left the book for seasons at a time. Beale sets out to explore the unifying center of the New Testament and finds this in a storyline. Each part of the following storyline gets developed in detail and by the end of the book he has adequately proven his thesis. Here is Beale's NT storyline:
Jesus's life, trials, death for sinners, and especially resurrection by the Spirit have launched the fulfillment of the eschatological already-not yet new-creational reign, bestowed by grace through faith and resulting in worldwide commission to the faithful to advance this new-creational reign and resulting in judgment for the unbelieving, unto the triune God's glory. (p. 958)
One of my favorite sections in Beale's work was his few chapters spent detailing the Old Testament's own storyline. He uses the first three chapters of Genesis as a key for unlocking the story of the entire Old Testament. Adam was to be a vice-regent of God, extending His rule throughout the world. But Adam failed, and was exiled from the Edenic paradise of fellowship with God in a garden-temple. From this wilderness, God called out his people Israel, referred to as God's firstborn son, and they received an Adamic calling to be vice-regents of God extending the glory of His name as a beacon of light to the nations, centered in their garden-like promised land of paradise - where God would have His name dwell. But they too failed, and were exiled from their special place of fellowship with God. For those unfamiliar with Beale's extensive work on developing the theme of the Temple throughout the Scripture (cf. Beale's The Temple and the Church's Mission, IVP 2004), it is touched on in this section and more fully developed later as Beale turns to the New Testament.
Beale's emphasis on the already-not yet, new-creational kingdom, has led many to dismiss his book as one long extensive defense of amillennialism. I would contend that such a dismissal is short-sighted and a biased misreading of his work. His eschatology doesn't neatly fit into any one theological system, and he prefers the description "inaugurated eschatology." His discussion of the key terms for "the end times" in both the Old and New Testaments goes a long way toward proving his contention that the entire New Testament cannot be understood apart from realizing the role eschatology plays. The NT authors understand themselves to be living in the last days, in the beginning fulfillment of what the Old Testament foretold.
Perhaps Beale's most distinctive contribution to NT biblical theology is his emphasis on the role new-creation plays both in how one understands the kingdom, and in how one understands everything from justification to judgment in the New Testament. Christ's resurrection was the promise and presence of the new creation, invading our world of space and time. The uncreating of evil has begun, and the recreation of a new world has commenced - and our very spiritual lives with the progress we make in sanctification, is part of God's making all things new (2 Cor. 5:17, Rev. 21:5).
This is where many people will stumble over Beale's approach. Some will point to his embrace of the Sabbath and paedo-baptism as errors flowing from his fundamental misunderstanding of the distinction between Israel and the church. I would ask those who will differ fundamentally here to take time to read Beale as there is still much to be gained from his work. But I am convinced his unpacking of the biblical development of the church as end-time Israel is worth the price of the book. He continues his approach of reading Scripture from a grammatical, historical approach - treating the books as the original recipients would have, understanding the genre and tracing out the history of intertestamental biblical interpretation (as an insight into possible ways the NT authors would have understood OT Scripture), and methodically builds an air-tight case for the NT as presenting the church as the heir of the promises made to OT Israel.
Beale's basis for seeing the church as true Israel lies in two of the hermeneutical presuppositions he claims underlie the exegetical approach of the NT authors: corporate solidarity (or "the one and the many") and Jesus being identified as "the true Israel." Since Israel was a corporate Adam â€” God's firstborn â€” living in its own "garden of Eden," tasked to do what Adam had failed to do, it follows that Christ as the Second Adam, actually fulfilled what both Adam and Israel was meant to do. Christ as such, is the New Israel - and Beale shows how numerous themes in the New Testament attest to this fact. Christ represents us, as we are joined to him by faith. So it is not so much the church replacing Israel as Jesus embodying and making up in himself the true restored Israel - and genile believers finding their place in restored Israel as we find ourselves connected to the head of the body - Jesus Christ. Beale points out that it is thus the "legal representative" or "corporate" hermeneutic which under-girds this identification of the church as true Israel, rather than an "allegorical or spiritualizing hermeneutic" (p. 655). Beale then goes on to systematically demonstrate that the OT prophecies that Gentiles will become part of the Latter-Day True Israel, using such passages as Is. 49, Ps. 87, Is. 19, Is. 56, Is. 66 and others. He also shows how the New Testament repeatedly claims that it is in the church that specific prophesies about the restoration of Latter-Day Israel are coming to pass, paying special attention to the variety of specific names and descriptors of Israel being applied to the church. With the land promise, Beale again unpacks how the Old Testament itself leads us to expect that the land is typological, pointing to a greater reality, and that it will become greatly expanded and universalized. And the New Testament shows us just this, as it also brings the church in to the recipients of that very promise (see Rom. 4:13, Matt. 5:5 and others).
Beale's work covers a host of additional themes my review cannot cover in detail. He highlights how the expected tribulation of Israel was being experienced by the New Testament church, and still is in most parts of the world today. He gives space to the new-creational marks of the church such as Sabbath observance (although his view on this finds it radically altered through Christ's work), worship, baptism, the Lord's Supper, church office and the NT Canon. He looks at the work of the Spirit as part of the inaugurated end-time new creation as a chief theme in the NT story. He also gives space to the Temple and to idolatry and the image of God being restored. He also explores questions such as how much the Old Testament saints would have enjoyed this same experience we do in the NT. And he concludes his book focusing on the glory of God as the purpose for the very storyline itself.
I was told that you don't pick up a book like this and read through it. You just use it as a resource. And for many that is going to be how they will encounter Beale's work. Thankfully, it is organized in a very clear way with helpful indexes and a detailed table of contents that is sure to help such a reader. Those who want a taste of Beale's work could read the first few chapters, and chapter 27 - which recaps the entire work giving each theme a brief yet fairly detailed overview. Others might find it more useful to read through Beale's section on resurrection or justification, or the question of Israel and the church as they study that topic out further. The footnotes will point you to other important discussions in the book so that you won't miss something you need in getting Beale's take on a given subject.
My copy of the book has numerous notes, underlines, and countless dog-eared pages. I have already turned back to parts of this book for the second or even third time now, and know I'll be returning to this book for many more years in the future. This truly is a monumental work, yet it is accessible and has takeaways that pastors and teachers as well as students, will benefit from. More importantly, Beale helps one find a compass through the maze of the two testaments of Scripture. And his work is detailed enough to stand the test of time. It carefully explains how the New Testament authors arrived at the conclusions they did, and follows their thoughts after them, reading the Old Testament in a careful and ultimately Christ-centered way. I encourage you to find some space on your shelf for Beale's "A NT Biblical Theology". Dip your toe in, get wet, then take the plunge and bask in the beauty of a fully developed Biblical Theology. You won't regret it.
The ReaderVirginiaGender: male5 Stars Out Of 5A Magnum OpusSeptember 12, 2012The ReaderVirginiaGender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This is truly G.K. Beale's magnum opus. It is a massive project that has involved decades of study and academic research at the highest level. One can actually accurately describe it as a Biblical Theology. It follows the tradition of Geehardus Vos. This is not a mere study of New Testament themes that is indistinguishable really from a systematic theology. His wonderful methodology alone get's one excited for the work. His approach is truly a biblical-theological one that is canonical, genetic-progressive (or organically developmental...) exegetical, and intertextual (pg.15).
His definition of a true biblical theology is as follows (pg. 9): ...in dependence on Geehardus Vos's definition of a whole-Bible biblical theology: "Biblical theology, rightly defined, is nothing else than the exhibition of the organic progress of supernatural revelation in its historic continuity and multiformity."
Beale writes (pg.16): The NT transformation of the storyline of the OT that I propose is this: Jesus's life, trials, death for sinners, and especially resurrection by the Spirit have launched the fulfillment of the eschatological already--not yet new-creational reign, bestowed by grace through faith and resulting in worldwide commission to the faithful to advance this new-creational reign and resulting in judgment for the unbelieving, unto the triune God's glory.
If any reader wants to better understand the continuity between the testaments, intertextuality, the inaugral nature of Jesus' advent with great depth in exegesis, then look no further. I have never so appreciated the great unity and majest of the Biblical storyline. This work is truly carrying on and furthering of the work of Geerhardus Vos, C.H. Dodd, and George Ladd's (among others) great insights on the already-not yet end-time fulfillment perspective the Biblical writer's have, especially in regards to the kingdom of God. Thank you, G.K. Beale
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