The Bible is more than a collection of thrilling stories or a library of inspired books. The Bible is one book that tells one great story of how God has reached out from eternity into time to give us a place in His story. As you read the Bible, look for the themes that reflect and propel this story. Like a sparkling diamond, the story of the Bible has many facets. But it is one story!
Today, we still see this problem of “biblical myopia” in our sermons, Bible studies, and even how we converse with each other about the Bible. We teach Bible stories and often tack on little morals. But we fail to explain how all of the pieces fit together in the great flow of holy history. Seldom are believers presented a picture of God’s all-encompassing plan for the ages.
This is a list of my top five books on Old Testament theology. Although the discipline of Old Testament theology has included those who simply seek to describe the historical development of Israel’s religion, that is not the aim of those represented in this list. These books either lay out an organized theological overview of the Hebrew Bible, or consider methodological issues and approaches to doing Old Testament theology.
How creativity relates to theology is a topic of ongoing conversation among contemporary Christians. While, in a former era, Christianity and the arts enjoyed an especially fruitful marriage (just think of Bach’s voluminous sacred compositions, or Michelangelo’s majestic work on the Sistine Chapel), in modern times, it often seems as if this union has been all but dissolved. So much so that, especially in the modern West, many would say the relationship between Christianity and creativity (at least of a variety marked by substance, excellence, and originality) has been defined more by antithesis than synthesis. The examples of this are manifold: kitschy religious-themed trinkets; derivative, sappy, theologically vacuous songs; and cartoonish portraits of a blue-eyed Jesus in flowing robes.
Four View on Hell supplies a means of exposure to perspectives that are presently being entertained within the pale of evangelicalism, generously conceived. All in all, regardless of whether or not one resonates with the viewpoints it adumbrates, this book nevertheless is to be commended for its lucid explication of four contemporary outlooks on the subject of hell.