Review: Crossing Cultures in Scripture

9780830844739Marvin J. Newell is senior vice president of Missio Nexus, a network of evangelical mission agencies, churches and training centers in North America. Newell previously served as the executive director of CrossGlobal Link and served as a missionary to Indonesia for twenty-one years. Newell also served as professor of missions and intercultural studies at the Moody Theological Seminary. He is the author of a number of books, the most recent of which being Crossing Cultures in Scripture: Biblical Principles for Mission Practice.

Crossing Cultures in Scripture is a stimulating canonical exploration that presents a biblical theology of culture and God’s activity therein from Genesis to Revelation. Newell divides the book into three major sections: (1) foundational cultural considerations, (2) crossing cultures in the Old Testament, and (3) crossing cultures in the New Testament. The presupposition that guides the overall existence of this investigation is discovered in Newell’s adherence to the Reformation principal of sola Scriptura. For Newell, the Bible is “the first and final authority for all that we believe and practice” and the “primary point of reference” for studying and engaging culture (p. 13). Therefore, when it comes to the task of cultural and crosscultural engagement, for Newell, “the Bible itself is a textbook on cultural understanding” that displays itself within three primary realities: (1) the Bible is the portrayer of cultures, (2) the Bible is a sculptor of cultures, and (3) the Bible is an appraiser of cultures (p. 13-14).

The foundation of Newell’s approach is strengthened by the excellence of his guided cultural tour through the biblical narrative of both the Old and New Testament. The definition of “culture” explored in Newell’s study is bound to human existence. Newell explains, “Culture is the distinctive beliefs, values, and customs of a particular group of people that determine how they think, feel, and behave” (p. 17). As such, Patrick Fung rightly recognizes the usefulness of Newell’s work in his forward to the volume, writing, “Crossing Cultures helps us to both decode the Bible stories from the biblical cultures and to encode the Bible stories for different cultures today, so that God’s message remains relevant and universal” (p. 11). The chapters are numerous (36 chapters total) and brief (roughly 7 pages per chapter). Newell rounds out the volume with several helpful appendices, including a sermon series guide that stretches 13 weeks and allows Pastor or Bible study leaders to engage their people in the content of the book.

There are a number of positive aspect of this book apart from the content. Two of those deserve mention here. First, Newell has including numerous graphs and diagrams throughout the volume to help the reader visualize the content in a manner that cultivates learning and application. There is also a table and figure list at the end of the volume for future reference. Second, each chapter in the volume is organized into at least three section: (1) setting, (2) crosscultural insights, and (3) crossing takeaway. The latter provides the reader with a quick paragraph of easily digestible and applicable content for each chapter.

The Bible is overflowing with cultural significance, and Crossing Cultures in Scripture: Biblical Principles for Mission Practice by Marvin J. Newell helps readers explore it through the lenses of cultural engagement. Newell has provided a stunning parade of the practical importance of biblical theology as it pertains to the life and wellbeing of Christian missions and culture in the twenty-first century. This is a book that will surpass its reputation in usefulness and impact for those actively involved in cultural or crosscultural engagement, which should be every person seeking to faithfully follow Jesus. If you are looking for a book that will both equip and challenge your understanding of Scripture and culture, your time will be well invested here. This book comes highly recommended!

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Review: God the Trinity

25802620God the Trinity: Biblical Portraits  by Malcolm B. Yarnell III is one of the most important works on the Trinity in recent decades. The book is divided into eight chapters. Each chapter paints a portrait of God through the exegesis and examination of eight specific Trinitarian passages: (1) Matthew 28:19, (2) 2 Corinthians 13:14, (3) Deuteronomy 6:4-7a, (4) John 1:18, (5) John 16:14-15, (6) John 17:21-22, (7) Ephesians 1:9-10, and (8) Revelation 5:6.  Furthermore, each of these chapters more narrowly converge on a single word from the passage that Yarnell uses to unearth and construct a clear biblical portrait of the trinity. These eight chapters are sandwiched between a prologue—which presents the necessity of the study—and an epilogue—which provides a succinct portrait of the triune God framed by ten Trinitarian theses in three categories: (1) Trinitarian Reality, (2) Trinitarian Hermeneutics, and (3) Trinitarian Economy.

There is much to be praised in this volume. First, and probably foremost, Yarnell is a first-rate scholar, and God the Trinity echoes serious and seasoned reflection on the subject matter. Second, there is a lot of excellent information in this book that will expand the reader’s understanding and knowledge of the biblical portrait of the trinity. Still, the exegesis of the biblical passages therein is where the real benefit of this volume surfaces. Yarnell is clear, articulate, and judicious in his presentation, and the reader will benefit with every turn of the page. This is a volume that is both rich with depth and accessible and easy to digest. Third, the organization around the “portrait” concept of the Trinity does well to display the biblical revelation concerning the triune God. The only true critique, and this is more of a desire than a critique is the lack of interaction within the Old Testament portrait of the Trinity. Yarnell spends nearly all of his time in the New Testament, and most of that time in the Gospel of John. It would have been good to see more canonical representation, but the limitations of such are understandable.

God the Trinity: Biblical Portraits by Malcolm B. Yarnell III is a timely and welcomed defense and articulation of the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. From the approach to the delivery, Yarnell has provided a volume distilled in seasoned scholarly reflection and research. The depths of this volume are deep, and the insights are accessible. Malcolm Yarnell has easily delivered one of the most important works on the Trinity in recent decades. It comes highly recommended!

 

I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Review: Everlasting Dominion

7261Eugene H. Merrill is a seasoned scholarly voice on the Old Testament. Merrill is distinguished professor emeritus of Old Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary and the author of numerous books, including Kingdom of Priests: A History of Old Testament Israel, The World and the Word: An Introduction to the Old Testament (with Mark E. Rooker and Michael A. Grisanti), and several notable Old Testament commentaries. Still, the pinnacle of Merrill’s scholarship has been widely attributed to Everlasting Dominion: A Theology of the Old Testament.

Everlasting Dominion is divided into five major sections: (1) God – His Person and Work, (2) Mankind – The Image of God, (3) The Kingdom of God, (4) The Prophets and the Kingdom, and (5) Human Reflection on the Ways of God. Each major section of the book encompasses a mountain of detailed reflection on the Old Testament, and Merrill tends to largely follow a canonical ordering therein. The overall organization of the book is also helpful for reference and research, and the table of contents provides a rather detailed outline to assist in this effort.

The opening section is among the best in the book. It is here that Merrill carefully delineates the person and work of God as revealed in the Old Testament, including the nature, character, revelation, work, and purpose of God. Merrill’s treatment of the nature and character of God is worth the cover price of the book alone. It will quickly and consistently connect your head and heart in worship and adoration before God. Merrill is similarly effective in presenting a theology of the Old Testament throughout the book. Some readers will disagree with the dispensational underbelly of the book, but the undeniable commitment of the author to the inspiration and authority of the Bible should leave such concerns in the dust.

Everlasting Dominion: A Theology of the Old Testament by Eugene H. Merrill is a welcomed volume that follows in the train of worthy works that have preceded it. Everlasting Dominion is Old Testament theology done right! It is both engaging and informative, and written by one who has labored rigorously in a lifetime of prayer and research on the subject. Disagreements are certain to arise due to the dispensational presuppositions seen throughout, but the view of God that Merrill presents is worth every moment of the journey. This is a book that will connect your head and heart in all the proper places. I recommend it with joy and look forward to referencing it often!

 

I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Review: The Temple and the Church’s Mission

894622There are few books that possess the ability to radically alter the way that you read Scripture. The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God by G. K. Beale is one of those books. But The Temple and the Church’s Mission is not for the academically faint of heart. It is both detailed and comprehensive. Beale leaves no stone unturned as he guides the reader through the biblical narrative and beyond, developing a crystal clear portrait of the dwelling place of God.

Beale begins with the climactic Temple vision of Revelation 21:1-22:5. It is here that Beale prepares the reader for the journey ahead, and sets the stage for one of the grandest themes in all of Scripture. For Beale, as John witnesses the new heavens and new earth descending, his attention is immediately fixed on the city-temple rather than the new creation in general. This becomes a unique vantage point to the overall narrative of Scripture, and an ideal start point for Beale’s thesis that, “the Old Testament tabernacle and temples were symbolically designed to point to the cosmic eschatological reality that God’s tabernacling presence, formerly limited to the holy of holies, was to be extended throughout the whole earth” (p.25).

The scope and detail of The Temple and the Church’s Mission is rather impressive. I previously reviewed God Dwells Among Us: Expanding Eden to the Ends of the Earth by G. K. Beale and Mitchell Kim (IVP, 2014), which is a more distilled and practically applied adaptation of the present volume. The overall thrust of the content is the same, but the level of detail here is certainly not. Beale possesses an uncanny ability to explore some of the most intricate details of the text without abandoning the larger theme. More impressive is Beale’s ability to synthesize those details into a well-constructed and persuasive presentation in favor of his initial thesis. In other words, while it may be that the reader will feel overwhelmed at times, Beale does an excellent job of guiding the reader into the depth of the text while also providing numerous breaks for air amid the journey.

The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God by G. K. Beale has provided one of the most impressive works of biblical theology ever produced. The detailed journey is impressive and Beale’s initial vision is well-presented and persuasively received. Having read the distilled version of Beale’s material prior to this volume did well to prepare me for the overall direction of the cumulative case presented here, and this may be a recommended route for those with an interest in the subject. However, it must be stated that the distilled volume is no substitute for the riches that will be unearthed here. This is a journey that you will want to travel with an attentive eye to detail, and G. K. Beale is a tour guide par excellence. It will alter the way that you read your Bible and motivate you to worship! It comes highly recommended!

 

I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Review: The Unseen Realm

25077593Michael S. Heiser is Scholar-in-Residence at Faithlife, the creators of Logos Bible Software, and has a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible and Semitic Languages from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Heiser has written a host of peer-reviewed articles for Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Journal of the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament, Themelios, Tyndale Bulletin, Bible Translator, and much more. Heiser also contributed a number of articles in the Dictionary of the Old Testament: Prophets (IVP, 2012), and the Lexham Bible Dictionary. Most recently, Heiser has made waves with his new book The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible (Lexham Press, 2015).

The Unseen Realm begins with a brief introduction into Heiser’s personal journey as a Hebrew student and his encounter with Psalm 82. This background provides the premise for the investigation that then unfolds in the coming pages. The book is divided into eight parts: (1) First Things – the stage is set with some preliminary rules for engagement; (2) The Households of God – attention is directed towards the initial biblical patterns, namely that God has a divine family, a heavenly assembly, or council, of elohim in which he is superior over all others; (3) Divine Transgressions – attention directed towards the arrogance of the nachash (the Serpent) and his transgression that fractured the human-divine relationship; (4) Yahweh and His Portion – attention is directed towards Yahweh’s acts of intervention amid his people, especially when in conflict or threatened by gods or men; (5) Conquest and Failure – the readers are guided through the intended results of the conquest under Moses and Joshua, and the divine backdrop that motivated therein; (6) Thus Says The Lord – attention is directed towards the theological intentions that undergird the monarchy’s history, and the reader is guided through the prophets and into the realization of the kingdom already, but not yet; (7) The Kingdom Already – the exploration enters into the realm of the New Testament and the anticipation and inauguration of the King, and the New Testament dependence on Old Testament motifs therein; and (8) The Kingdom Not Yet – the investigation comes full-circle and further establishes the supernatural worldview of the context within the closing climax of the Christian Bible.

There are a number of exciting aspects of this book that make it a must-read. First, I think that Heiser does an excellent job guiding the reader through some of the more commonly discussed issues of critical scholarship concerning the unseen realm of the ancient Near East, and yet does so in such a way as to keep the tenor of the conversation understandable and clear for the reader. Second, it is clear that Heiser is sensitive to the fact that the content being presented is likely to shake the foundation of many personal traditions. His awareness of such, I believe, makes the reader desire to follow his investigation further as oppose to abandon it. Third, Heiser does well in his overall organization of the topic. Each chapter has various subsections that build upon each other and allow the reader to digest smaller chunks of text and ideas. Finally, the overall thrust of the book is executed well and I think the reader will appreciate the attention to detail, but it is the content that makes the book so incredible. Admittedly, I did find myself in disagreement with Heiser at times, but he is generally fair in his understanding and presentation of the text—especially when it comes to Genesis and the Old Testament—and he does well in guiding the reader to his conclusion rather than making a bunch of empty statements.

The Unseen Realm is breathtaking. Heiser presents a vision of God and the supernatural world that untangles much of the complexity that has historically plagued the reading of passages such as Psalm 82, Genesis 1:26, 6:1-4, Judges 6, Daniel 7, and much more. Having already been familiar with Heiser’s work, I knew in large what to expect with this book. But, I must say, The Unseen Realm has delivered much more than I anticipated. This doesn’t mean there aren’t areas of concern or disagreement that I have with Heiser’s hermeneutic at part, but rather that his arguments are well-presented and persuasively met with a keen awareness of the ancient Near East. Heiser will make you think outside your traditional bubble as he ushers you through the ancient Near Eastern world with confidence and wonder. He carefully guides the reader through difficult waters of ignorance and unearth an undeniable theme penetrating the biblical narrative. Students of the Bible will do well in reading this book closely. It will change the way you read and study your Bible, and for that it comes highly recommended!

Also, for those wishing to investigate further, Douglas Van Dorn has compiled an excellent companion volume, The Unseen Realm: A Question & Answer Companion. This volume is saturated with Scripture references and useful beyond words. I wouldn’t buy one without the other!

 

I received a review copy of these books in exchange for and honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Review: Biblical Covenantalism

hres.9781625646606.jpgDouglas W. Kennard is Professor of New Testament at Houston Graduate School of Theology, Houston, Texas. Formerly, Kennard was Chair of Biblical Studies at Bryan College and Professor of Bible, Theology, and Philosophy at Moody Bible Institute. He has a M.A. from Trinity Evangelical Seminary, as well as a Th.M. and Th.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary. Kennard is the author of A Critical Realist’s Theological Method: Returning the Bible and Biblical Theology to be the Framer for Theology and Science (Wipf & Stock, 2013), and the present three-volume work, Biblical Covenantalism (Wipf & Stock, 2015).

Biblical Covenantalism reposes in the reality that, “the covenants for Israel are intrinsically linked together and telescope out of each other . . . [and] Israel’s eschatology is framed by these covenants. The Church is already blessed by a number of these same covenants and her eschatology joins with some of Israel’s blessings, especially fostered by the Spirit and Messiah Jesus” (vol. I, p. 53). In other words, for Kennard, the eschatology of both Israel and the Church climax in the Kingdom of Christ on earth through a series of covenants link together by idea of Covenant Nomism, and Kennard is here that he seeks to bring his readers.

Volume one of Kennard’s work (Biblical Covenantalism: Engagement with Judaism, Law, Atonement, the New Perspective, and Kingdome Hope) seeks to construct a foundation for the framework of observing God’s work among his people throughout history in the form of covenants. Kennard walks the reader through the Noahic Covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant, and the Deuteronomistic and Levitical contribution to a Priestly Covenant. Together these covenants build and encourage the seedlings of the eschatological idea of a Messianic Priest to ultimately realizes the aspects of this Priestly Covenant (vol. I, p. 319).

Volume two of Kennard’s work (Biblical Covenantalism: In the Prophets, Psalms, Early Judaism, Gospels, and Acts) seeks to build upon the previous foundation of biblical covenants in Torah by directing attention to the Davidic Covenant and the New Covenant. Kennard traces the theme of the Davidic Covenant through the Psalms, Daniel, and Second Temple Judaism, all the way through the Gospels and into Revelation. As attention is shifted to the New Covenant, Kennard spends a good deal of time in Jeremiah before addressing the New Covenant in the Second Temple period and beyond. Kennard firmly positions the idea of Covenant Nomism in Second Temple Judaism and uses this conclusion to explore the Gospels and Acts. Kennard sees the New Covenant as the reaffirmation of the previous Covenants, namely the Priestly Covenant developed in volume one, and thus, the theme of Covenant Nomism is carried throughout (vol. II, p. 254).

Volume three of Kennard’s work (Biblical Covenantalism: Engaging the New Perspective and New Covenant Atonement) seeks to nuance the previously developed conclusions concerning Biblical Covenantalism through the New Testament epistles. Kennard begins with James and concludes that, “James sees Messianic Jews as needing to keep the Law because God has given the Law to Israel to be obeyed, and God will act as their Judge” (vol. III, p. 29). In other words, Kennard observes that same Covenant Nomism previously witnessed in the Second Temple period in James. Subsequently, Kennard similarly directs attention to Paul, Hebrews, 1 & 2 Peter, 1 John, and Revelation. Kennard finally brings the volume to a close by putting all the pieces of the puzzle together in a skillful manner that the reader of the three volumes will appreciate. For Kennard, it is within this covenant program that God is gracious and obtains all the glory.

Biblical Covenantalism by Douglas W. Kennard is rich with helpful and thought-provoking insight. It is evident that Kennard has spent a significant amount time within the material presented, and for good reason. Kennard’s work is easy to read and meticulously detailed. It is well-organized and self-establishing as Kennard guides readers through a covenant program that brings continuity and consistency to the work of God among his people. Regardless of one’s stance on issues that surround the various New Perspective conversations, Kennard has provided an excellent work that deserves significant attention and interaction. It comes recommended with enthusiasm.

 

I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Review: We Become What We Worship

9780830828777Far too often we overlook significant themes in the Bible until they are shown to us as such. It isn’t until the veil is carefully removed and the prominence of such theme is displayed as uniquely interwoven throughout the Old Testament and the New, that the once trivial understanding becomes replaced with a sense of adoration and awe. This is the kind of experience that a reader should anticipate from We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry by G. K. Beale.

We Become What We Worship begins with the prophet Isaiah as Beale establishes his exploration of the biblical theme of idolatry. But this book does not intend to be a comprehensive study of idolatry, rather, according to Beale, it is “primarily an attempt to trace one particular aspect of idolatry as it is sometimes developed in Scripture . . . what people revere, they resemble, either for ruins or restoration” (p.16). For Beale, this theme was first observed in the study of the commissioning of Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-13), and it is here that he appropriately seeks to introduce the reader as well.

Following this initial observation in Isaiah 6, Beale backpedals his investigation and guides the reader through the Old Testament and into the New, pointing out the prominence of this aspect of idolatry along the way. One of the most interesting sections before transitioning into the New Testament, as some readers would rightly expect, is Beale’s discussion about Judaism’s view of Israel becoming like the calf that they worshiped (Ex. 32). Beale makes a parallel from an earlier chapter between the golden calf sin and that of Adam, writing, “Adam’s sin also involved becoming like part of the creation, as was the view of the calf transgression by Judaism and indeed by the Old Testament itself” (p. 159).

Turning attention to the New Testament, Beale follows the previously established theme that through the Gospels, Acts, Paul’s epistles, and the Book of Revelation. Much of the emphasis in these latter chapters is established upon the grounds of intertextuality—or the New Testament use of the Old. Beale is masterful on this playing field and his exegetical insight therein proves his observations again and again. This is most evident in his treatment of the Pauline epistles, especially that of Romans and First Corinthians.

As mentioned at the outset, far too often we tend to overlook significant biblical themes until the veil is removed. Beale has consistently presented himself as a scholar with a keen ability to observe a larger biblical picture with clarity before presenting that observation with precision and conviction. I found Beale’s exegetical insights across the board to be worth the admission of the book, but especially his insights on Isaiah 6. Still, what I appreciated the most about this book is the uncharted territory that it has sought to explore. The reader begins with a unique observation and insight and concludes with an unveiling of a scarlet thread intricately woven throughout the biblical narrative.

We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry by G. K. Beale is admittedly not for the academically faint of heart. This is a thick and weighty volume that is rich with informed exegesis and insight on the biblical text and an important biblical theme. Beale carefully guides the reader through the Old Testament and the New, providing a focused examination of the theme without losing sight of the peripherals. This book is unique in that it places attention on a single aspect of idolatry rather than idolatry in general, and Beale persuasively presents his case with conviction. This is a book that will alter the way you read and interact with the Scriptures, and for this reason, it comes highly recommended!

 

I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Review: Hidden But Now Revealed

9780830827183G.K. Beale is known for his unique ability to examine and synthesize biblical themes across canonical lines. He has published numerous volumes focused on biblical theology and the use of the Old Testament in the New. However, the present volume co-authored with Benjamin L. Gladd, Hidden But Now Revealed: A Biblical Theology of Mystery rightly positions itself as one of the more unique works in the growing corpus of Beale’s thematic explorations.  

Hidden But Now Revealed opens with an imperative first chapter. It is here that Beale and Gladd firmly establish the roots of the theme of mystery in the book of Daniel—specifically Daniel 2 and 4, although, as the reader will see, the theme is found elsewhere in Daniel as well (Daniel 5, 7-12). Thus, Daniel becomes a type of thematic launchpad with which Beale and Gladd inaugurate nearly all subsequent usages or allusions of the biblical theme of mystery.

Beale and Gladd describe a revelation of a mystery as, “God fully disclosing wisdom about end-times events that are mostly hitherto unknown . . . [it] signals the hidden nature of revelation and its subsequent interpretation” (p. 46). In other words, a mystery was once partially hidden in one form or another but has now been more fully revealed. Consequently, while there may be cases of revealed mystery in the Old Testament, the majority of the investigation inevitably rests in the New.

As the book unfolds, Beale and Gladd guide the reader through early Judaism and into the writings of the New Testament. The reader is accompanied in a carefully and detailed investigation of every occurrence of mystery from Matthew to Revelation, and then challenged to see the whole picture in light of that established in the first chapter. Apart from the content of each of the chapters, Beale and Gladd provide a number of related excursus materials to launch further insight.

I opened this review alluding to the fact that this was one of the more unique works that I have read by Beale. This is not because there is anything uncharacteristic about the book that one would not expect from Beale, quite the opposite. Rather, it displays Beale’s unique ability to observe the whole of Scripture in relation to the various parts more than some of his other works. Beale has taken a seemingly mysterious (pun intended) biblical theme, displayed the interconnectedness between the Old Testament and the New, and carefully guided the reader to the practical end of understanding and application.

The usefulness of biblical theology to the ongoing interdisciplinary interaction between the fields of biblical studies, theology, and hermeneutics is undeniable. While there is certainly a number of difficulties that will inevitably arise when trying to synthesize a single theme across the biblical canon, the profit of such pursuit will always outweigh the loss. Still, the insights to be unearthed from this book are numerous, and Beale and Gladd provide unparalleled guidance therein.

If you are in the market for a comprehensive journey into the biblical theme of mystery and its implications on the Christian life, you will not find anything better on the shelf than Hidden But Now Revealed: A Biblical Theology of Mystery by G. K. Beale and Benjamin L. Gladd. It is rich with interpretive insight and deep in practical significance, and thus comes highly recommended!

 

I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Review: God Dwells Among Us

9780830844142God Dwells Among Us: Expanding Eden to the Ends of the Earth found its beginning in G. K. Beale’s earlier work The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God (IVP Academic, 2004). It is there that Beale develops a fuller exploration of the biblical themes of tabernacle and temple, “from Genesis to Revelation, exploring both the ancient Near Eastern and Second Temple Jewish view of the temple” (p. 7). Co-author Mitchell Kim subsequently developed the aim of Beale’s work into a seven-week sermon series preached at Living Water Alliance Church in Chicagoland. This material was further condensed and distilled into a conference seminar before later being adjusted and released in its present form.

God Dwells Among Us rightly recognizes that the purpose of mankind has always been mission oriented. God has created a people to reflect his presence, character, and image to the ends of the earth as the priests of his dwelling place. This purpose began in Eden, the first temple, and continues into the eschaton as God establishes his eschatological temple among us. God Dwells Among Us opens with three orienting chapters that position the reader within the overall notion of the book. It is here that Beale and Kim present Eden as a temple, with the intended mission of Adam and Eve being to reflect God’s presence to the ends of the earth. The first couple failed, sin entered into the equation, and the mission was reassigned to the Patriarchs and beyond. Beale and Kim then guide the reader through the Mosaic period and the tabernacle as the temporary dwelling place of God, the ministry of the Prophets and promised restoration of Eden, Jesus as the new temple in the gospels, the early Christians as the continuation of the mission to expand Eden to the ends of the earth, and the New Heavens and New Earth as the climax of the Edenic expansion.

The implications of the biblical theme of temple reach into nearly every corner of life in Christ. It is here that Beale and Kim conclude with two important chapters dedicated to the hermeneutical explanation and practical importance of the temple theme previously journeyed. While there is certainly a plethora of practical riches and explanation littered throughout the entirety of the book, it is here that Beale and Kim helpfully connect the dots to the reader by answering anticipated questions and founding the significance of the temple theme into the mission-oriented purpose of mankind. This is likely the most valuable aspect of the entire book. It brings the canonical journey of the temple theme to its necessary conclusion and provides the reader with a significant foundation with which to gaze upon God and his purpose in this world. But the temple theme isn’t presented without reference as though it the authors’ efforts were imaginary aspirations. Rather, the reader will encounter citation after citation, and I mean citation after citation of biblical references. It will be clear to the reader that Beale and Kim have done their homework, and to the benefit of the reader, they have clearly presented the fruits of such labor.

God Dwells Among Us: Expanding Eden to the Ends of the Earth by G. K. Beale and Mitchell Kim is a clear and persuasive exploration into one of the most important themes of biblical theology. Beale and Kim have effectively presented a practical and engaging vision of God’s covenantal purpose for mankind that is firmly positioned within the context of the entire canon. The practical significance of such will be enough to radically alter the way you read the Scriptures and understand the mission of God in this world. God Dwells Among Us has provided a clear example of biblical theology par excellence. I am confident that your head and heart will be connected in all their proper places. It comes highly recommended!

 

I received a review copy of this book in exchange for and honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.