One of the most astute things C. S. Lewis said (and he said many things, usually astute) was that working his way through a tough book of theology was far more devotional for him than reading a devotional book. Too often, devotional books mean well but only help us focus on ourselves, something we need no assistance doing.
Good theology, on the other hand, focuses us on God, helping us reflect on his character, purpose, and actions. Such reflection inevitably forms us, drawing us nearer his image in Christ and producing thoughts that lead to holiness and worship. This certainly describes Graeme Goldsworthy's classicThe Goldsworthy Trilogy, composed of Gospel & Kingdom, Gospel & Wisdom, and The Gospel in Revelation.
As the titles of the three books suggest, Goldsworthy's approach to theology is Gospel-centered, and therefore Christological. As a leading proponent of biblical theology, he teaches us to think in terms of the Bible's inherent unity, to see how all things point to Jesus, and to renew our appreciation for and understanding of the Old Testament as the foundation for the New.
Such Scriptural unity is the focus of the first book, Gospel & Kingdom. Goldsworthy traces the concept of the Kingdom of God from its historical origins in the Old Testament narrative to its culmination in the person and work of Christ. He also defends the very act of reading the Old Testament, introduces the idea of the history of redemption, and discusses hermeneutics (the art and method of interpretation).
In the second book (actually printed third in this volume), Gospel & Wisdom, the focus is on finding the Gospel (and Christ in particular) in the wisdom literature of the Old Testament. This is probably the most challenging of the titles as it involves elements of worldview and Hebraic thought, but it's also extremely pertinent for our era as it discusses the wisdom of Christ in the Technological Age.
The Gospel in Revelation brings the trilogy to the culmination of history by examining the last book of the Bible. Goldsworthy is careful to point out this isn't a commentary; rather, it's an exposition of "the essential, contemporary message of Revelation." In other words, he shows how Revelation carries on the message of the Old Testament and relates it to the present life of the Church.
This isn't theology in the sense many mean that word. There's nothing speculative here, little technical language, and nothing irrelevant to the knowledge and behavior of Christians. Essentially,The Goldsworthy Trilogy is an introductory manual to reading the Bible as God intended it to be read—always with himself at its center, and always for conviction and edification.
Goldsworthy is not only an able theologian and scholar, he's a gifted communicator, using language laypeople can understand and relate to, and using charts and diagrams when necessary to illustrate important points. Study questions, chapter summaries, thesis statements, and other tools ensure readers get the most from this text.
Long considered a standard in the field of biblical theology for students and laypeople, The Goldsworthy Trilogy is here presented in an attractive and high-quality single volume edition. We highly recommend this for everyone wanting to better understand the Bible and (more to the point) God himself.
If you'd like a compact overview from Genesis to Revelatin for starters, try According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible, also by Graeme Goldsworthy. For a more advanced treatment, Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion and Geerhardus Vos's Biblical Theology are indispensible. Either way, we highly recommend The Goldsworthy Trilogy.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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