I just got back today from my week away in Sydney, and while I was down in the Blue Mountains, I visited my friends at the Little Lost Bookshop (Wandering Bookseller). They were getting ready for a Conference happening this weekend. So I was helping them out stickering books and getting the shelves stocked. In exchange for my help, I was sent on my way with a bunch of books! Considering that I wear a T-shirt that says, “When I have a little money I buy books, and if I have any left over, I buy food and clothes.” (Erasmus) I was pretty chuffed really!
Well, two in particular have already been really exciting to me – especially as both books are quite connected in their subject matter. I would already highly recommend them for understanding covenant theology. And of course, as I actually get through the whole books, I will give a bigger review. But here is what I’ve discovered so far.
The first book was one that I’m pretty confident I had considered purchasing at an earlier stage. “Covenant and Creation” is subtitled, “An Old Testament Covenant Theology”. So obviously as you could imagine, it’s focus is the Old Testament. It begins by looking at Genesis 6:18, the first explicit reference to the word “covenant” in the Bible (Berith in Hebrew).
So the first chapter that I’ve read so far has focused on the foundation of the ongoing revelation of covenant in the Bible in creation. The main thesis of the book is that, in contrast to the usual paradigm of covenants being between two parties, that the Biblical covenants actually are more unilateral declarations of God’s intention.
So this book will trace through from Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and then the New Covenant as prophesied by Jeremiah and other prophets.
Salvation to the Ends of the Earth is actually a book of biblical theology, tracing the theme of “mission” through the whole Bible, starting with the Old Testament and Second Temple Period, before going through the whole New Testament in more detail.
Having read the first three chapters, I’m already quite excited to want to read the rest. It has been such a thorough and balanced exposition so far of the Old Testament and Second Temple Period. In particular, I liked how it obviously worked through from Genesis and the early accounts of mankind’s predicament before the beginning of God’s solution in the Covenant with Abraham, the extension of this to the nation Israel through Moses, the concentration of this into the Davidic monarchy as the representative of the nation, then the hope fulfilled in the New Covenant through the mediation of the Chosen Servant, Jesus.
It really connected in with similar themes in Covenant and Creation, and thus, why I’m really looking forward to reading them both concurrently, so I can synthesize the different insights to form a more complete picture.
Biblical Theology is really an amazing thing. Different themes and key ideas are traced throughout the whole Bible. A few really nice books that I’ve read from Graham Goldsworthy also come with high recommendations. Biblical theology has a particular approach which doesn’t have to compete with systematic theology, but can complement and enrich it with its own insights.
Some Other Books I’ve Read from the Same Series
Also in the “New Studies in Biblical Theology” series (of which Salvation to the Ends of the Earth – A Biblical Theology of Mission is a part), I have read the Temple & the Church’s Mission (a book about the place of the temple in understanding the overall message of the Bible, including some really nice insights from Near-Eastern mythology), and the Cross from a Distance, which is a really nice book about the Gospel of Mark.
I highly recommend any book in this series. They are very well-written and referenced. So you get a lot from the book itself, but also if you wanted to dig into anything a bit deeper, there are often references within the footnotes and bibliography to help you in that direction.
So Definitely A High Recommendation
So, I’m looking forward to giving a fuller review of these several books once I get through them. But already, I highly recommend them if you want to learn more about covenant theology and biblical theology. There are quite a few other really good books that I’ve read too in a similar vein, that I will make time to write more about too. For Christian books, I would recommend you look up the Wandering Bookseller. They are based in the Blue Mountains. They deliver free of charge Australia-wide. They have so many nice titles (I got a small taste of some of them while I was with them over the last few days).
What about you? Do you have any good recommendations for understanding covenant theology?