Review: The End of the Law

6867841Jason C. Meyer is Associate Professor of Preaching at Bethlehem College and Seminary in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Meyer received both an M.Div. and Ph.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Meyer is the author of Preaching: A Biblical Theology, as well as the present volume on the Mosaic Law in Pauline Theology in the acclaimed NAC Studies in Bible & Theology series.

The End of the Law: Mosaic Covenant in Pauline Theology is a captivating study of an important and often oversimplified aspect of Paul’s theological framework. Meyer appropriately provides a much-needed introduction to familiarize readers with the landscape of academic dialog regarding the relationship between the Mosaic and New Covenants. This is considered essential reading for those entering into the dialog, as Meyer does an extraordinary job exposing readers to the issues and methodologies involved.

Meyer begins the exploration with a look at the plural usage of diathēkē (“covenant”) in Romans 9:4 and Ephesians 2:12. For Meyer, these two passages offer two unique examples of the term that view the Mosaic Covenant in a transhistorical sense—portraying the Mosaic Covenant as one covenant in the historical progression of covenants that carry along God’s promise of messianic salvation (p. 274). Next Meyer examines Paul’s use of the adjectives “old” and “new” as they relate to covenant. Here Meyer concludes that the distinction is essential eschatological in nature, rather than merely temporal.

As Meyer turns attention to a three-part study of the Mosaic Covenant in the context of contrast, the examination focuses three important covenant passages: (1) 2 Corinthians 3-4, (2) Galatians 3-4, and (3) Romans 9-11. Meyer further ground the eschatological emphasis of Paul’s theology of covenant before concentrating on the Old Testament metaphor of the circumcision of the heart. Meyer concludes, “although both covenants called for a heart change, the old and new covenants differ in that the old was ineffectual, belonging to the old age, and could not create the heart change for which it called. The new covenant is an effectual covenant, belonging to the new age, and does create the heart change for which it calls” (p. 277).

The breadth and depth of The End of the Law is simply impressive. The cumulative case that Meyer presents is both persuasive and clear. Meyer has effectively synthesized Paul’s theology of the Old and New Covenants, and provided readers with a plethora of meaningful exegesis of the major passages along the way. It is readable and accessible for the average reader and detailed enough for the academics. It is evident that Meyer has done his homework and the footnotes are a testimony to the extensiveness of his research. The End of the Law: Mosaic Covenant in Pauline Theology by Jason C. Meyer is a book that will reignite your heart with a passion for the gospel. It comes highly recommended!

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