An Introduction to Biblical Ethics: Walking in the Way of Wisdom, Third Edition
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An Introduction to Biblical Ethics: Walking in the Way of Wisdom, Third Edition

InterVarsity Press / 2014 / Hardcover

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Stock No: WW828182

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Product Description

What should we do or not do? What attitudes, behavior and qualities are good? Can we be good without God? What is the highest good, the purpose of human existence? These are the questions the study of ethics seeks to answer.

Unlike many approaches to ethics, this book foundationally turns to Scripture, going only as far as Scripture itself goes. The result is a biblical ethics that not only addresses the life of love and wisdom to be lived out by Christians as virtuous persons, but as Christians in community, in society and in a world of God's creation.

Key preliminary considerations of love, law, sin and virtue are given their due in this thoroughly revised and updated text. The bulk of the work is then organized around the Ten Commandments and ethical themes springing from them--loving God (commandments 1-4) and loving others (commandments 6-10).

This new edition includes added material on
  • ethical alternatives such as relativism, social contract, utilitarianism and evolutionary ethics
  • restoring the divine image through Christ and the recovery of our vocation as priest-kings
  • the seven deadly sins as well as the cardinal virtues vs. theological virtues
  • a new personal narrative from McQuilkin about his marriage, especially after his wife became disabled
  • end-of-life ethics, stem-cell research, genetics and technology, and other bioethical issues such as plastic surgery and surrogate motherhood
  • technology and its depersonalizing effects as well as helping the poor
  • animal rights and sexual ethics
  • the church's engagement in society to change societal structures and how Christians can make a difference in the media.
Throughout McQuilkin and Copan stay focused on how we fulfill the purposes of God for our lives--a will that is for our good and our well-being. This comprehensive study is the place to begin on the journey of living wisely, faithfully and obediently.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 667
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0830828184
ISBN-13: 9780830828180

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Author Bio

Robertson McQuilkin (19282016) was a speaker and writer, engaging in extensive conference ministry in the United States and overseas. He served as the third president of Columbia International University for twenty-two years, and was beloved as president emeritus. Before becoming president, McQuilkin was headmaster of Ben Lippen School and a missionary in Japan. He was honored for his decades of work in Christian missions when by receiving the 2010 Lifetime of Service Award from Missio Nexus. His books include , , and . Paul Copan (PhD, Marquette University) is the Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University. His books include , , , and . He previously served with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and taught at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois.


Although as a Catholic I part ways with the authors on a couple of issues - such as birth control and the use of images - this is an amazingly careful piece of work. Robertson McQuilkin and Paul Copan offer to their readers a clear and compelling account of an evangelical Protestant understanding of biblical ethics, one from which those outside this tradition can learn much. What makes this book historically interesting is that it is a third edition of a classic originally authored by McQuilkin, a legendary figure in American evangelicalism and a pioneer in the field of contemporary biblical ethics. But now it has been revised and authored in collaboration with one of the most prolific Christian philosophers alive today, Copan. As one would expect, this rare combination of talents makes for an important contribution to the study of ethics.
-Francis J. Beckwith,
Baylor University

An Introduction to Biblical Ethics combines the winsome wisdom of Robertson McQuilkin, one of the sage professors of Christian ethics, with the penetrating rigor of Paul Copan, one of the premier thinkers of today. What could be better than this?
-C. Ben Mitchell,
Union University, Jackson, Tennessee

A first-rate discussion of ethics from a Christian worldview. I'm very glad to see Robertson McQuilkin's work be updated by such a capable scholar as Paul Copan.
-Scott B. Rae,
Talbot School of Theology, Biola University

Ethics without the Bible is a matter of cultural mores. The Bible without ethics is a textual relic without life or relevance. This superb introduction to biblical ethics brings the two together through the wisdom of two noted evangelical thinkers and leaders. This book does not duck the tough issues but presents them in the light of God's unfailing revelation in Jesus Christ and the revelation of God in Holy Scripture. Highly recommended!
-Timothy George,
founding dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and general editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture

Editorial Reviews

"Insight and wisdom abound in this volume. Ethical instruction flows in a torrent of theologically informed, biblical exposition. I found myself constantly expecting to critique the book for being much wider than it is deep, but I was routinely surprised by the depth of insight the volume provides. Just as the Mississippi River proves that a river can be both deep and wide, so, too, this text proves that a single volume can display the breadth of biblical ethics with theological depth."

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  1. David
    Becancour, QC
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    5 Stars Out Of 5
    November 27, 2014
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    An Introduction to Biblical Ethics: Walking in the Way of Wisdom. 3rd ed. By Robertson McQuilkin and Paul Copan. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2014. 667 pp. $ 45.00. ISBN 978-0-8308-2818-0.

    Whether people know it or not, and whether or not they are willing to admit it, ethical issues are some of the most highly debated issues both in the Christian church and without. For church goers, almost every single sermon and small group study will, given enough time, turn to ethical subjects how should we live our lives in light of what the Bible says. For those who are not church goers the subject is just as important, and is discussed in political campaigns, during lunch break, at the barbers shop, and just about anywhere people take the time to stop and think. It should be of the utmost importance, therefore, for Christians (minimally those who accept the Bible as the word of God and seek to model their lives after it) to be able to make wise ethical choices in their daily lives, and be able to (biblically, at least) defend those choices. This fact is why An Introduction to Biblical Ethics by Robertson McQuilkin and Paul Copan is so important. There have been many books written on moral philosophy (ethics), probably more than books can be read in one lifetime. I would suggest that if you, as a Christian, are only going to read one book, in your entire lifetime, on Christian morality, then it should be this book. I am not saying that you shouldnt read other books on the subject, nor that this book is perfect in every aspect. I am saying that the approach taken in this book provides such a broad introduction to the subject of biblical ethics that it is the ideal book for a person who wants to be able to understand the issues, but does not have the time to read a pile of books on the subject. In this book review I will begin by noting, as usual, the purpose of the book, its approach to ethics, and the general positions that the authors seem to hold concerning ethics. I will then provide an overview of the subjects covered in each chapter, and will finish by noting (or repeating) the relative worth of this book.

    The main text for this book was originally written by Robertson McQuilkin, and then edited expanded by Paul Copan. The purpose of this book, and its approach to ethics, is to deal with ethical issues that are treated in Scriptures, as well as those which are met in contemporary life, by starting from, and remaining true to, the moral teachings of the Bible. They assume, unless it is explicitly mentioned in the Bible, that the Bibles teachings are morally normative. The book is essentially based around the Ten Commandments, and a number of issues which do not necessarily fall under the Ten Commandments are covered along the way. One of the interesting elements of the book is that on a couple of occasions McQuilkin and Copan disagree on how to properly understand the biblical answer to a moral question. When this happens they each present, and support, their respective positions. They also do their best to not impose any ethical system on scripture (p. 23). This being said they hold to a form of Divine Command Theory (p. 69-70) in which they deny deontology (p. 88, 123), and affirm a form of virtue theory (p. 88, 91, 123-132). They argue that mans motivation for doing good should be his love for, and devotion to, God (p. 89). Finally, they claim that the standard for humanity is the divine nature, to which we are supposed to conform (p. 219).

    I will not be giving an overview of the content, due to the length of the book, but I will explain how the book is structured. The book is divided into two main sections. The first main section is divided into 5 parts and 11 chapters. The second main section is divided into 6 parts and 23 chapters. The book is introduced with a preface and introduction, and concludes with a short afterword, endnotes, and indexes of proper names, subjects and scripture references. Each of the main chapters ends with a list of books for further reading on the subject covered in the chapter. This book has been created, quite evidently, so that the interested reader will be able to easily find the subjects that he/she is looking for, as well as further references for advanced study in each of the subjects approached. As far as the contents of the book are concerned, the first main section sets down foundational considerations for a profitable discussion of biblical ethics. The second main section turns to the task of applying the scriptures to ethical issues. It is in the second main section that we see the application of the 10 commandments to ethical concerns.

    All in all this is an exceptional introduction to biblical ethics. It is as complete an introduction as one could wish for. Keeping in mind that it is intended as an introduction to the subjects that are treated, and considering its size, no one should be disappointed by the fact that some of the subjects are not treated as thoroughly as one would like. I would highly recommend this book as the academic standard for any course on Biblical Ethics. Every Christian pastor, lay-person, Apologist, Theologian and Philosopher should have this book in their personal library.
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