New Books (and Greek Tools) You Should Know About
By Matthew Barrett—
One tool I have been really enjoying these past couple of months is the new ESV GreekTools, which is a new module for your ESVBible.org account that makes original language study of the New Testament …well, just awesome! I highly recommend it. Here is what Crossway says about this new online tool:
ESV GreekTools was created to fill the need for an affordable Greek-English resource to aid students, pastors, and interested lay people in the study of the New Testament. To that end, ESV GreekTools is packed with features for all levels of Greek proficiency. For a one-time, introductory price of just $9.99, users get access the complete Nestle-Aland 27th Edition of the Greek New Testament, the updated ESV Reverse-Interlinear, and the all new, electronic-only ESV Interlinear. With a quick click, users can toggle between these resources and access the Greek and ESV New Testaments in whatever display they’re most comfortable with.
What’s more, each of these resources comes fully tagged with an array of data. For each word, users can view the English Word, Greek Word, Transliterated Greek Word, Greek Lexical Form, Transliterated Greek Lexical From, Parsing, and Strong’s Number. The display is customizable so users can display as much or as little information as they find helpful for study or devotional reading.
ESV GreekTools also features a simple but powerful Advanced Search tool. Users can search for Greek or English words by any combination of these four data fields: English Word, Greek Word, Transliterated Greek Word, or Strong’s Number. The results of these searches give users results that are typically only available in an English, Greek, or Strong’s Concordance. Better still, users can limit their results by a full set of morphological search options, giving you the power of an advanced word study tool.
And because ESV GreekTools is on the ESVBible.org platform, it works seamlessly with the rest of the resources that you’ve already purchased.
Moody, Josh, ed. Jonathan Edwards and Justification. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012.
I remember for the first time discovering in secondary literature on the theology of Jonathan Edwards the debates over Edwards’s doctrine of justification, particularly in regards to whether or not Edwards departed from the Reformers and their forensic view of justification. Captivated and irresistibly overcome by the sudden urge to figure Edwards out, I locked myself away in the library, reading one article after another on the issue. You can imagine my excitement when this new book, edited by Josh Moody, showed up on my doorstep! Here Moody has put together a handful of scholars to explore exactly how Edwards articulated his doctrine of justification. These scholars include: Josh Moody, Kyle Strobel, Rhys Bezzant, Samuel T. Logan Jr., and Douglas Sweeney.
Hughes, R. Kent, and Bryan Chapell. 1-2 Timothy and Titus: Guard the Deposit. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012.
Here is a preaching commentary series that continues to grow. And its most recent volume is one that will be especially relevant to pastors, written by two very well-known and respected preachers themselves, R. Kent Hughes and Bryan Chapell. Here is what Crossway has to say about the book:
There are substantial reasons to be energized about studying the Pastoral letters of Paul. Between them they teach the proper ordering of the church (1 Timothy), present a developed challenge to all Christians (2 Timothy), and suggest God’s priorities for mature ministry (Titus).
Experienced pastors R. Kent Hughes and Bryan Chapell have done their homework–methodically exegeting Paul’s letters, mining the significance of his words in their context, and applying sound hermeneutical principles in interpreting the texts so that we understand what Paul was really saying. Teaching on important matters for the local church, Hughes and Chapell offer a timely word to the many Christians who are interested in studying the Bible. 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus is now being printed with a fresh look and is written by pastors for pastors, as well as for all who teach or study God’s word.
Sweis, Khaldoun A., and Chad V. Meister, eds. Christian Apologetics: An Anthology of Primary Sources. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012.
Khaldoun and Meister have produced an interesting anthology on Christian Apologetical writings. There is a diverse collection of contemporary authors to be sure, including John Warwick Montgomery, Norman Geisler, Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig, Paul Copan, J. P. Moreland, Thomas Morris. Don’t worry, they threw in just a tad of presuppositionalism, featuring “A Transcendental Argument for God’s Existence: Greg Bahnsen and Gordon Stein.” I only wish Cornelius Van Til would have made the lineup.
But contemporary authors are not the only ones to fill the pages of this volume. Others of ages past include: Augustine, Anselm of Canterbury, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Francis Schaeffer, etc.
I will be interested to see how this work compares to the two volumes by Edgar and Oliphint (vol. 1, vol. 2). One difference comes to mind immediately: while Edgar and Oliphint’s work is arranged chronologically, this one volume work is arranged systematically.
Kapic, Kelly M. A Little Book for New Theologians: Why and How to Study Theology. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2012.
If you are not satisfied with Thielicke’s A Little Exercise for Young Theologians, you may want to give Kapic a try and see what you think. I will let Kapic speak for himself:
Holmes, Stephen R. The Quest for the Trinity: The Doctrine of God in Scripture, History and Modernity. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2012.
Now here is a book that we just must compare to Robert Letham’s The Holy Trinity. Holmes has written a lengthy history of the doctrine, beginning with the Patristics and working his way to the contemporary scene. I am particularly interested to see what he says about the Medieval fathers and the Reformers and Post-Reformation Reformers. My guess is my friend Michael A.G. Haykin is itching to see what Holmes will say about the early patristics and the debates during the fourth-century. Here are two commendations:
“Trinitarian theology has been a rallying cry for a particular constructive project in modern dogmatics. . . . In this volume, Holmes sets out a rather different account, one which tracks the tradition with greater care. This will in all likelihood be a healthy corrective to some enamored with an inflated or hypertrophied trinitarian theology.”
—Oliver Crisp, Fuller Theological Seminary
“In this lively and engrossing book, Stephen Holmes charts the development of the doctrine of the Trinity . . . calling into question some established conventions about the history of trinitarian theology. This is a work of considerable theological intelligence and historical discrimination; it will enjoy a wide readership.”
—John Webster, University of Aberdeen
Stevenson, J., ed., and Frend W. H. C., rev. Creeds, Councils and Controversies: Documents Illustrating the History of the Church, AD 337-461. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2012.
Here is the revised edition of Stevenson’s large volume on the early church fathers. This sourcebook of primary texts begins at Nicaea and works its way to Augustine and St. Patrick, covering both Greek and Latin patristics. There is also a helpful “Notes on Sources” which provides a paragraph on each of the fathers cited. And do not miss the chronological table at the end as well.
Evans, Craig A. Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies: A Guide to the Background Literature. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2012.
While we are on the topic of primary sources, you also may want to get your hands on Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies: A Guide to the Background Literature, by Craig Evans. In this academic volume Evans provides us with an introduction to the literature, covering the OT Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo, Josephus, the Targums, Rabbinic Literature, the NT Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, the Early Church Fathers, the Gnostic Writings, and much, much more. There is also over 100 pages in appendix material. Simon Gathercole commends the volume,
“As someone who has worked in a great number of fields cognate to New Testament studies, Craig Evans is eminently qualified to produce a guide to these various adjacent areas. . . . [He] has clearly done an excellent job of covering a vast amount of material. Each work or corpus is introduced succinctly and clearly and is accompanied by bibliographies of editions, translations, and well-chosen secondary literature. . . . This very comprehensive and clearly written book . . . will be extremely useful to a large number of students and scholars.”
Longman III, Tremper. Job (Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms). Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2012.
This is the last volume in the Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms series. Tremper Longman begins his volume with an Introduction that not only looks at the structure of the book but the history of interpretation, though it is brief. I am interested to see how Longman views the strong emphasis on divine sovereignty and providence. Just peaking at Job 1, it does not look like he addresses the issue, which is surprising.
Hamilton, Victor P. Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2011.
Victor Hamilton’s commentary on Exodus is out. He spends considerable space on the covenant at Sinai and the Tabernacle. Also note his excursus on God hardening Pharaoh’s heart on pages 170-74 (though keep in mind Hamilton appears to be approaching the issue from the Wesleyan-tradition). For you OT students, Hamilton has a lengthy “Works Cited” that serves as a reference to the literature.
Matthew Barrett (Ph.D., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Assistant Professor of Christian Studies at California Baptist University (OPS). He is also the founder and executive editor of Credo Magazine. Barrett has contributed book reviews and articles to various academic journals, and he is the editor of Whomever He Wills: A Surprising Display of Sovereign Mercy, as well as the author of several other forthcoming books. He is married to Elizabeth and they have two daughters, Cassandra and Georgia.