— a guide to the Old and New Testaments
Eds Wayne Grudem, C. J. Collins & T. R. Schreiner
IVP, 160 pages
Star rating : 4
This book consists of articles originally featured in the ESV Study Bible. It begins with ‘An overview of the Bible’s storyline’ that answers the question, ‘How does the Bible as a whole fit together?’
The answer given is that ‘God has a unified plan for all of history’, which is ultimately ‘to unite all things in [Christ], things in heaven and things on earth … to the praise of his glory’ (Ephesians 1:10,12).
The bulk of the book provides background information and the last part contains time lines covering the entire period of biblical history. These time lines, though printed in rather small type, are extremely helpful and enable the reader to see at a glance the outline history of each period.
It is obvious from this description that the book is for those who wish to study the Bible seriously (but do not have an extensive library to refer to). The book emphasises both the unity of the Bible and its theology.
The section on the Old Testament begins with ‘The theology of the Old Testament’; the New Testament section in a similar way. Some might feel these two chapters should come at the end of their respective sections, but, coming first, they alert the reader to doctrinal themes as they engage with the text of Scripture.
The book is not large, but manages to pack in a great deal of pertinent and helpful information. There are appropriate time lines and other diagrams in most of the chapters. For example, one diagram sets out briefly the main ‘First-century philosophical systems’ and nine diagrams clarify various interpretations of the book of Revelation!
Introducing Scripture is intended to be used in connection with reading the Bible and certainly not as a substitute for careful and prayerful Bible reading. It is a valuable stimulus and guide to that end.
Paul E. Brown