ESV Preaching Bible

Designed from the ground up with input from leading pastors and church leaders, the ESV Preaching Bible was easily one of the most anticipated Crossway Bibles of 2019. The vision behind this edition was simple: create a Bible by preachers for preachers tailored to the task of preaching.

The exterior design of the Bible is stunning. The rich black goatskin leather cover is soft and saturated with natural grain patterns. The cover is perimeter stitched, leather lined (cowhide), edge-lined into the block for added durability, and has four raised spine hubs. While it is visually and physically pleasing to hold and use (especially in the study/pulpit), the cover itself is nowhere near an heirloom quality Crossway Bible. It feels thinner and more flimsy than the Crossway Heirloom line, which could become a problem for some given the dimensions of the Bible (6.6″ x 9.8″ x 1.75″). I did not mind it for practical use, as it allowed the Bible to lay almost entirely flat, and it certainly did not detract from my use of it in study and preaching.

The interior design of the Bible is where it shines for preaching. The Bible features a highly readable 10-point type in a single-column format, enlarged and bolded verse numbers to make it easy to quickly locate verses on the page (more on this later), and extra-wide margins for notes. The 36GSM coated paper is opaque and allows the text to jump off the page with little effort or strain on the eyes. I also found it easy to turn when jumping back and forth between books, both while preaching and preparing to preach. I do not usually write in my Bible, but the paper appears to be ideal for such a task if you do. The pages also have red-under-gold art gilding, which adds a touch of elegance to the Bible.

As someone who prefers a single-column format for study and preaching, I found the ESV Preaching Bible to be more than adequate for my needs. In fact, I absolutely loved using it! The font is readable even from afar. The paper quality is superb for a China printed Bible. The overall footprint of the Bible fills the pulpit while not making it too difficult to pick up and move around with the text. The margins, while I do not write in them, are excellent and offer a clutter-free experience. Some have complained that the “enlarged and bolded verse numbers” was, and I agree to an extent. I think there was room here for Crossway to get more creative (e.g. the use of color would have been a welcome addition), but I would not say that the current format makes it challenging to find a particular verse—especially if you are using this Bible in the study as well as preaching. In my experience, because I was exclusively using this Bible for both, I was becoming more and more familiar with the layout and could easily find my place with the aid of the existing “enlarged and bolded verse numbers.”

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The ESV Preaching Bible is simply fantastic! It’s not perfect. But, for the preacher, there are few Bibles on the market as useful for preaching than this. More than that, it’s a joy to read and interact with. It comes highly recommended!

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Review: The Greek New Testament Reader’s Edition

Few concepts are more critical to cultivating an understanding of New Testament Greek than daily reading a Greek New Testament. Reading biblical Greek is invaluable for learning biblical Greek. This fact is true regardless of how long you’ve been studying the language. It is here that The Greek New Testament Reader’s Edition by Tyndale House and Crossway offers readers a fresh and readable edition of the Greek New Testament that encourages language learning and daily consumption.  

The pagination of this Greek New Testament is nearly perfect. Its single-column format is beautifully presented and easy to read for more extended periods. The double-column glossary makes it a breeze to quickly determine the meaning of uncommon words (those occurring 25 times or less) or irregular forms. Every detail has been brought to cultivate reading and engagement, including the generous font size and opaque paper. The paper itself is some of the best I’ve seen and felt. The text literally leaps off the page, and there is virtually no ghosting visible under normal reading conditions. It’s a reader’s edition made to enjoy and read! 

There are two cover options of The Greek New Testament Reader’s Edition available. Both the hardcover and Top Grain Leather versions contain the same text. Well almost. Those who pay the premium for the Top Grain Leather will get the higher quality paper (printed by L.E.G.O in Italy) and gold gilded page edges. For someone who’s serious about Greek and plans to read The Greek New Testament Reader’s Edition daily (or even several times a week), then I would highly recommend paying the premium for the Top Grain Leather edition. Not only are you getting a superb Greek New Testament, which is meticulously designed to help keep you engage and learning, but it’s Smyth-sewn binding, and the supple leather cover has been built to last a lifetime. 

When I initially began to use The Greek New Testament Reader’s Edition, admittedly, I was both impressed and left wanting. I was impressed for all the reasons mentioned above. This is a beautiful and well-designed Greek New Testament that accomplishes the task of cultivating a reading experience for students of all levels. I was left wanting because I was used to having a textual apparatus, limited as it may have been, to evaluate specific reading. The UBS5 Reader’s Edition has a textual apparatus. The Greek New Testament Reader’s Edition by Tyndale House and Crossway does not. This is a preference that you will need to determine before purchasing. That said, once I reoriented myself to what I was looking to accomplish when I picked up The Greek New Testament Reader’s Edition (namely read), my desire for a textual apparatus dissipated weather quickly. 

The Greek New Testament Reader’s Edition by Tyndale House and Crossway is a fantastic resource for all students of New Testament Greek. In fact, whether you use this edition or another, having a reader’s edition of the Greek New Testament is essential for anyone seriously learning the language. The Top Grain Leather edition is beautiful, and I would recommend it over and over again. It’s beautiful, functional, and durable. All the things needed for years of learning the language of the New Testament.

Review: ESV Story of Redemption Bible

The ESV Story of Redemption Bible: A Journey through the Unfolding Promises of God by Crossway is a unique Bible that aims to capture the essence of the biblical narrative while also stringing the reader through the complex tapestry of divine redemption. It’s truly a simple concept but often overlooked. The way that Crossway accomplished this is through a beautifully designed typeset, page layout, and paper quality, paired with roughly 900 notes placed throughout the biblical text. The notes have been written by Pastor Greg Gilbert and are conversational in tone. They are embedded directly within the biblical text and effectively work to connect the landmarks of the redemptive story to the reader in a way that is often overlooked.

The design of the Bible is exquisite. It comes on in a variety of cover options (hardcover, trutone, and top-grain leather). The most luxurious of which is the black top-grain leather edition. The cover is soft and pliable in the hand. The cover and spine are also beautifully decorated in a gold-foil stamped design that compliments the inner artwork found throughout the Bible. The paper is nice and think, and color is more cream than white. I found this to be excellent for longer reading. The Bible is large. No way around it. It’s not as large as the ESV Study Bible, but it’s still a big Bible. I found the notes to be very helpful and informative. That said, it’s important to note that this is not a Study Bible in the traditional sense. The notes are not intended to explain the Bible verse-by-verse. Rather the notes complement the text in a way that helps the reader focus on the larger picture of God’s redemptive nature. They help you see the forest as you navigate around the trees.

In sum, I found The ESV Story of Redemption Bible: A Journey through the Unfolding Promises of God by Crossway to be a great encouragement. This is a Bible that encourages reading the Scriptures as much as it does ones comprehending of God’s redemptive work. That said, it’s a big Bible. Not likely a Bible to be used as an everyday carry. But, if you’re looking for a Bible that will keep you from losing sight of the person and work of Christ in Leviticus during your annual read through Bible, then this is a very exciting option that is 100% worth the experience. You will be enriched as you see all Scripture come together in a way like never before! It comes highly recommended!

 

 

Review: ESV Reader’s Bible (Six Volume Set)

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There are few trends in more valuable and rewarding in the arena of Bible publishing than the Reader’s Bible. The days of old have been eclipsed with a renewed focus on making the Bible more enjoyable to read. There are many facets that collide together to make a reading experience pleasurable. The size of the book matters. Does it feel right in your hand or on your lap? The quality of the paper matters. Does the color and opacity of the paper invite the reader? Even the space between each line of printed text matters. This only begins to scratch the surface of the multifaceted process of providing readers with a purposeful experience that invites them to spend more uninterrupted time engaging with the Bible.

Now there have been many attempts over the years to strike a proper balance between all the variables involved to make Reader’s Bible an experience. Still, few have come close to the sheer beauty of the six-volume, cowhide-over-board, ESV Reader’s Bible by Crossway.

First, and probably foremost, it becomes quite obvious when you see this set in person, that Crossway has intentionally considered every aspect and detail of the ESV Reader’s Bible. I mean every aspect and detail. The unboxing experience is fantastically executed. The hand-crafted walnut slipcase is sturdy and spacious. Each volume is enclosed and protected, but there is still room to quickly remove a volume with one hand. The size of each volume is perfect (8” x 5.5” x 1”-1.75”). The cowhide-over-board cover offers an elegant and functional solution that will last a lifetime and look better with frequent use. The Smyth Sewn binding is flexible and allows the book to lay flat. The font is easy to read for long periods of time and contrasted well on the 80 gsm Munken Premier Cream uncoated paper from Sweden. This is only some of the considerations. Crossway has also removed all distractions from the text to bring the reader a smooth and uncluttered reading experience. There are no chapter or verse numbers, no references or footnotes, and minimal section headings. The typeface is a 12-point black letter Trinité No.2 Roman font designed by Bram de Does from The Enschede Font Foundry, and printed in Inkcredible Revolution Black ink. The 15-point leading gives the text enough white-space to breathe without making it feel like a giant print Bible. It’s a Reader’s Bible that’s actually made to read!

I absolutely love the six-volume ESV Reader’s Bible.It’s functional, fun to use, and looks amazing on the self. It’s a conversation piece that gets used daily.This is now my primary Bible to read through the Bible in a year. It’s certainly a pricey investment. But, the investment quickly outweighs the price. I now find myself “reading” the Bible more frequently. I’m looking forward to many more years of use before I hand this down to my kids. It comes highly recommended!

Review: Theological English

prpbooks-images-covers-md-9781629956022Pierce Taylor Hibbs is associate director for theological curriculum and instruction in the Theological English Department at Westminster Theological Seminary. He has both a MAR and ThM from WTS and is the author of Finding God in the Ordinary and In Divine Company: Growing Closer to the God Who Speaks. Megan Reiley is Westminster Theological Seminary’s theological English instructor and an adjunct ESL instructor at the University of Pittsburgh. She also received and MA in Linguistics from the University of Pittsburgh. Together Hibbs and Reiley have written an important new textbook that invites students (especially students whose primary language is something other than English) to develop their English skills while actively putting them to use.

Theological English: An Advanced ESL Text for Students of Theology is both unique and timely. It’s rooted firmly in the Reformed theological tradition, and thus, the theology presented therein is unabashedly expressed within the Westminster heritage. The book was written primarily for non-native speakers of English and focuses on advanced grammar for theological purposes, as well as helps readers to identify major categories of theological genre (e.g. apologetics, biblical studies, church history, systematic theology, etc.). Consequently, Hibbs and Reiley have sought to focus on helping the student communicate gospel truth while exploring the complex depths of the English language.

The book is composed of thirty lessons divided amongst ten units. The units are thematically organized by theological genre: apologetics, biblical studies, church history, systematic theology, and practical theology. The goal of each lesson is to instruct in four specific areas: (1) theology, (2) reading, (3) vocabulary, and (4) grammar. The lessons are intentionally practical and offer a number of real-life examples for students to put into practice. This textbook is oriented towards classroom use and includes both individual and group exercises. The readings usually several paragraphs long and from major works by well-known Reformed authors. These are generally well suited for the specific theological genre being discussed within the lesson and offer the reader exposure to excellent scholarship while training in linguistics.

The benefits of Theological English are numerous. Not only have Hibbs and Reiley produced an informative introduction to theology, but they have done so with the purpose of linguistic training—which is front and center throughout the textbook. Moreover, the book draws upon the latest in language-acquisition research while equipping the reader to better understand, explain, and live within the truths of the gospel message. It informs both heart and mind with a balanced ear towards practical exercises and expert guidance in lesson. While the book was written with non-native speakers of English, there is still much (and I mean much) to glean for the native speaker of English—both grammatically and theologically. The only foreseen hurdle to this volume being at the forefront of advanced ESL studies in theology is its clear Reformed undergirding. Other theological traditions may overlook the overt value on Theological English in an attempt to avoid Reformation theology. This in mind, especially if it is a concern of the reader, it should be noted that ESL focus of the book and its organization allows instructors to interact with its theological content while still gleaning from its linguistic value.

Theological English: An Advanced ESL Text for Students of Theology by Pierce Taylor Hibbs with Megan Reiley is a timely and important book that recognized the far-reaching influence of the English language, while not neglecting the rich theological tradition that has championed much of its history. This is a book that should be considered in the seminary and the study for both professional and personal engagement. It’s a much-needed book for today’s student of theology and comes highly recommended!

Review: Since the Beginning

9780801030697Since the Scientific Revolution, there have been few biblical passages that have caused readers more interpretive confusion than the opening chapters of Genesis. The reason for the confusion is multidimensional, but the cause is clearly observed: modern readers are predisposed to approach the biblical text with modern questions—inquires that are cataclysmically divorced from the ancient mind. It is here that Since the Beginning: Interpreting Genesis 1 and 2 through the ages, a new multi-authored volume edited by Kyle R. Greenwood, helpfully positions readers to observe the interpretive linage that been inherited—a unique vantage point to determine why one believes what they believe and evaluate its merit against the authorial intent to the biblical writer.

Since the Beginning contains eleven chapters and over 30 sidebars. The chapters are assigned to well-known scholars of particular interpretive timeframe and take readers from Old Testament reverberations of Genesis 1 and 2 to a post-Darwinian approach, including literature from within Second Temple Judaism, early Rabbinic writings, Ante-Nicene to Post-Nicene documents, and more. The sidebars cover a number of important subjects, including various biblical passages, historical figures, cultural concepts, and more. Each chapter of the book focuses on a specific interpretive framework from a particular age and addresses four major interpretive issues: (1) treatment of the days, (2) cosmology, (3) creation and nature of humanity, and (4) garden of Eden. Occasionally some of the categories are combined into a single discussion or addressed in different order, but the structure remains largely the same throughout the volume.

The organization of the volume is uniquely positioned to cultivate learning on an increasingly divisive passage from Genesis. The structure helps readers systematically peer into important issues age by age and issue by issue. I found each of the chapters to be surprisingly rich with insight and balanced. This isn’t something common to all multi-authored works. That said, the most useful chapters, in my opinion, were “Interpretations of Genesis 1-2 in Second Temple Jewish Literature” by Michael D. Matlock and “Rediscovery of the Ancient Near East and Its Implications for Genesis 1-2” by David T. Tsumura. The second of the two is a particularly important chapter for the modern reader, especially since it is the Ancient Near Eastern world that offers a historical backdrop for the biblical writer, and thus, becomes a proverbial backbone for contemporary comparative studies. I also enjoyed “Interpretations of Genesis 1-2 among the Protestant Reformers” by Jennifer Powell McNutt. I’ve found McNutt’s work on the Reformation extremely helpful and this chapter was no different.

There is much to praise about Since the Beginning. The organization, as noted above, is one of the most beneficial aspects of the book for readers. For those looking to plunge further into the content of each chapter, the author has included three sections curated to cultivate a journey: (1) For Further Reading, (2) Primary Texts, and (3) Primary Texts Online. The chapters are all well documented with footnotes and the sidebars are strategically placed for the reader to gain a better understanding of the primary source material. It should be noted that those who advocate for a “literal” reading of Genesis 1 and 2 will not find a supportive friend here. The tone of the book is in no way adversarial, but the authors aren’t concerned with supporting a particular position—especially modern positions weren’t even on the minds of most interpreters through the centuries.

Since the Beginning: Interpreting Genesis 1 and 2 through the ages edited by Kyle Greenwood is a timely contribution to an ongoing and frequently heated discussion. Often our conversations on the issues discussed in this book are confined to our own presuppositions and traditions. It is here, in my opinion, that Greenwood has helped to open our understanding of the past so that we could be more attentive for the future. This is a fascinating book that I hope helps readers better understand why they believe what they believe. If you’re looking for a book that will offer a constructive challenge to your assumptions about Genesis 1 and 2, then Since the Beginning is an easy choice. It’s a book I will recommend often!

Review: ESV Heirloom Study Bible

IMG_4131The ESV Study Bible has been the most important tool in my Bible study journey over the last ten years. There’s no question that much of my focus today would be different had this Bible not been placed on my lap shortly after becoming a Christian. I simply devoured it. My heart was opened with a deep desire to study the Bible and journey beyond the shallow waters of many of my peers at the time.

Over the last decade, I’ve used and abused several editions of the ESV Study Bible, including the various (though limited) premium options offered by Crossway and the ESV Personal Size Study Bible bound by R.L. Allan. I’ve also grown to enjoy several other Study Bibles over the years. Nevertheless, I’ve always found myself coming back again and again to the ESV Study Bible. It’s by far the best single volume study resource on the market today—no questions asked. That said, in my opinion, the ESV Study Bible has always seemed to lack a binding and print quality combination that fully complemented the caliber of its inner beauty. 

IMG_4135Crossway is well-known for publishing quality resources. They are also well-known for producing quality premium Bibles, especially their ever-growing Heirloom line. I’ve always been curious why the same level of detail and quality wasn’t available for the ESV Study Bible. Don’t get me wrong, Crossway has produced a few nice quality calfskin editions. But nothing close to the beauty of, for example, the recently released 80th Anniversary Omega Thinline Reference. 

When Crossway announced they were planning on releasing an Heirloom edition of the ESV Study Bible my heart leaped with joy. Wait. It gets better. Not only was Crossway planning on producing an Heirloom edition their flagship Study Bible, but they were planning on having it printed in Italy by the renowned L.E.G.O. before being bound in the Netherlands by the equally renowned Royal Jongbloed—a collision of two of the best in the premium Bible industry. 

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When it finally showed up and my feelings of anticipation turned to  reality, I was blown away by its quality and outward beauty. It’s the ESV Study Bible that I’ve waited a decade to hold. 

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IMG_4148Not much has changed concerning the layout and pagination of the Bible (9-point type, single-column layout for the Bible text; 7.25-point type, double-column layout for the notes). As one would expect coming out of L.E.G.O., the quality of the print is consistent and dark throughout as its richly presented on a beautiful 31gsm. paper. Readers will notice minimal ghosting despite the thinness of the paper and the reading experience is very pleasant. The red under gold art-gilt page edging is perfectly executed—among the best I’ve seen on a premium Bible—and the four ribbon markers are finally(!) premium in quality (they appear to be Berisford Ribbons or something similar).

Those readers familiar with the quality of the binding on the 80th Anniversary Omega Thinline Reference will be excited to know that Royal Jongbloed equally knocked the cover off the ball with the ESV Heirloom Study Bible. Honestly, I’m not sure if they could have fit it with a more luxurious natural grain goatskin cover. It’s leather lined in supple calfskin, perimeter stitched and includes a gold gilt line perfectly surrounding the text-block. More importantly, however, both the text-block and the spine of the goatskin cover have been firmly reinforced. This will allow for the longevity of use one would expect for a Bible of this quality with this level of study content. Finally! The binding and print quality match the content of the Bible.

The only improvements possible are minor. Two are worth mention here. First, it would have been nice to have note-taking paper included in the back of the Bible. It’s already a large Bible. So, adding 25-50 pages of lined paper wouldn’t hurt and only add to the heirloom nature of the Bible. Second, while the ribbon markers are much better quality than previous Crossway Bibles (thanks for listening!), I think they were cut a bit too short. In my opinion, longer ribbons add to the premium look of the Bible and allow more options for the user. If you don’t like them long, then you can simply cut them. Doing the reverse isn’t as easy. 

The ESV Heirloom Study Bible is the ESV Study Bible I’ve waited a decade to use. This Bible has been the most important tool in my Bible study journey. It’s transformed how I approach the Bible and what it means to study it. I’m looking forward to using this one for the rest of my days and then passing it on to my children. If you’re in the market for a Study Bible that will outlast a lifetime of use, then the ESV Heirloom Study Bible is worth every single penny. 

Well done, Crossway! 

Review: Christianity at the Crossroads

41fAACe5-LL._SX335_BO1,204,203,200_Michael J. Kruger is President and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. Kruger is a leading voice for the study of early Christianity and the development of the New Testament and has a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, where he studied under the advisement of Larry Hurtado. Kruger is the author of several books, including The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture’s Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity (with Andreas Köstenberger) and Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books. In his most recent publication, Kruger offers readers an important and unique glimpse into the distinctives of early Christianity in the overlooked world of the second century.

Christianity at the Crossroads is topically arranged around several key issues within second-century Christianity. These issues reflect a sociological transition, a doctrinal-theological transition, and a textual-canonical transition reflected in early Christianity. Kruger devotes space to numerous aspects within the boundaries of each of these transitions and offers readers a balanced introduction, including engagement with both primary and secondary sources. Kruger begins with a detailed overview of the sociological structure of second-century Christianity. He dedicates most of the chapter to the relationship between Jew and Gentiles, but also deals with other issues related to social standing, education and literacy, and gender. Kruger subsequently evaluates the political and intellectual acceptability of second-century Christianity, the ecclesiological structure of the second-century Christian church, theological diversity and unity witnessed in the second century, and the “bookish” nature of early Christianity along with the new Scriptures they produced.

There is much to appreciate about Christianity at the Crossroads. Kruger is recognized as an expert in early Christianity and his balanced interaction with both primary and secondary sources is unique for a volume of this nature and scope. Readers will gain a sense of early Christianity from early Christians, as well as modern and contemporary scholarship. Kruger is also balanced in his evaluation of the sources, though his presuppositional convictions are transparent. It would have been nice to see a fuller treatment then what was provided here. For example, it would have been helpful to see more detailed interaction with Christian theology of the period. That said, as an intended introduction to second-century Christianity, Kruger is detailed and informative in his engagement and offers readers a trustworthy sense of direction for further study. Lastly, I found the organization of the book to be the best possible option for accomplishing what Kruger was looking to achieve. It is easy to follow and logically structured for future topical reference.

Christianity at the Crossroads: How the Second Century Shaped the Future of the Church by Michael J. Kruger is uniquely positioned in the market place to close an unfortunate gap in the literature on early Christianity. Before Christianity at the Crossroads the options for a survey of second-century Christianity were few. But, Kruger offers more than a missing link. This book is written with clarity and precision. Few scholars on the subject can communicate as clearly and precise as Kruger, and readers will benefit from its accessibility. If you’re looking for a book that is both informative and engaging on a subject often overlooked, then Christianity at the Crossroads will be a fantastic addition to your library. It’s easily one of Kruger’s best books yet.

Review: Jesus Is Lord, Caesar Is Not

51UaYOuaK2L._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_Over the past two decades biblical scholarship has experienced an interesting move towards an anti-imperial and postcolonial reading of the New Testament. Reading the New Testament with lenses of empirehas undoubtedly been demonstrated as interpretively useful and valuable for the purpose of understanding the message of the text. But, to what extent can we conclude that New Testament writers intended such lenses? Jesus Is Lord, Caesar Is Not: Evaluating Empire in the New Testament Studies edited by Scot McKnight and Joseph B. Modica offers a groundbreaking introductory evaluation of the intricacies of empire criticism to the New Testament.

Jesus Is Lord, Caesar Is Not is a collection of essays from various scholars in the field of New Testament studies who are sensitive to the anti-imperialistic tone of its writings. The contributors include Michael F. Bird, Lynn H. Cohick, Joel Willitts, David Nystrom, Judith A. Diehl, and more. McKnight and Modica open the volume with a fascinating essay on Roman religion and the workings of the imperial cult by David Nystrom. Nystrom is an expert on Rome, and he offers the reader an important glance into the background of empire criticism of the New Testament. The second chapter is equally important and arguably more interesting than the former. Judith Diehl abridges her three articles on empire criticism published for Currents in Biblical Research and gives readers a wide-ranging sketch of the interpretive movement. These two chapters are foundational to the volume and are alone worth the cover price of the book. The following essays are organized around New Testament authors and writings.

The editors and contributors of Jesus Is Lord, Caesar Is Not acknowledge the variegated degree of complexity associated with uncovering anti-imperial sentiments in the New Testament. That is, empire criticism is most notably recognized and examined on a spectrum from obvious to implicit (p. 17). Some statements in the New Testament are blatantly obvious in their opposition to empire (e.g. Acts 14:14-18), while others are much more subtle and difficult to discern (e.g. Romans 13). It is here that Jesus Is Lord, Caesar Is Not becomes of value to the reader, as the contributors not only labor to offer a coherent description of empire criticism, but also seek to evaluate the methodology of empire criticism within the context of the New Testament writings themselves. The result is a well-balanced and easily accessible treatment of a very complex and nuanced hermeneutical position. It covers nearly every New Testament writing and demonstrates a level of consistency across contributors that is somewhat uncharacteristic of similar works.

The content itself is both comprehensive and persuasive. The reader not only walks away with a better sense of empire criticism, but they experience its many shades being uncovered in the writings of the New Testament. It’s hard to pinpoint a favorite essay because all are of almost equal caliber in their contribution to the conversation. What I did appreciate about the volume was its candor around the limitations of the anti-imperialistic reading of the New Testament—especially the tendency of empire critics to overreach their conclusions. McKnight and Modica have done a praiseworthy job emphasizing the value of empire criticism without giving undue credence to the reactionary attempts to read the New Testament with postcolonial eyes. Beyond the content of the book, I found the provision of bibliographic material following each essay useful for further study. If you are looking to explore the world of empire criticism, then this material is a true treasuretrove of information.

Jesus Is Lord, Caesar Is Not: Evaluating Empire in the New Testament Studies edited by Scot McKnight and Joseph B. Modica is a fascinating, balanced, and easily accessible introduction to an increasingly popular interpretive conversation. The contributions to this volume are incredible and readers will do well to explore their content. I do feel like some of the chapters were cut short and left me wanting more, but the content included was excellent. If you are looking to better understand the New Testament or empire criticism, then Jesus Is Lord, Caesar Is Not should be the first volume off your bookshelf. It come highly recommended!