Recommended Books on Biblical Theology For Church Members
At 9Marks, we want the members of churches to know how to read their Bibles. Walk into Capitol Hill Baptist Church’s “bookstall” and you’ll find these books on biblical theology for sale:
D. A. Carson, For the Love of God, volumes 1 and 2 (Crossway, 1998, 1999).
Subtitled “A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word,” these daily devotions line up, in slightly modified form, with Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s reading through the Bible in a year (or two) program. So readers are encouraged to read passage from Scripture, and then to read Carson’s one page explanation of how the passage fits into a biblical theology context.
Mark Dever, Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made and Message of the New Testament: Promises Kept (Crossway, 2005, 2006)
These two volumes are Mark Dever’s Bible-book “overview sermons,” originally preached to his congregation over the space of a decade. Each chapter (or sermon) sums up the message of one book of the Bible within the context of redemption history. Devotional and application heavy. Study questions placed at the end of every chapter.
Graeme Goldsworthy, According to Plan: An Introductory Biblical Theology (IVP, 1991).
Presents a slightly more extended, intermediate-level introduction to biblical theology than Goldsworthy’s Gospel and Kingdom. From the back cover: “How do the Old and New Testaments fit together? What is the point of biblical theology? What is the overall story of the Bible? What difference does it make? This introductory text answers these questions with an integrated theology of both Old and New Testaments that avoids unnecessary technicalities.” Charts, highlighted summaries, and study questions are at the end of each chapter. Click here for a 9Marks review of this book.
Graeme Goldsworthy, The Goldsworthy Trilogy: Gospel and Kingdom, Gospel and Wisdom, The Gospel in Revelation (Paternoster, 2000)
Three books in one. The first, Gospel and Kingdom, is one of our two favorite entry-level introductions to biblical theology (the other is Vaughn Roberts’ below). Goldsworthy sums up the Bible as the story of God’s people, in God’s place, under God’s rule, and he traces this story through the entire Bible. Click here for a 9Marks review of Gospel and Kingdom (one volume in The Goldsworthy Triology).
Graeme Goldsworthy, Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture: The Application of Biblical Theology to Expository Preaching (Eerdmans, 2000)
After establishing the basics of the nature of revelation, the unity of Scripture, and what biblical theology is, Goldsworthy helps the preacher discover how to preach Christ from every book and genre of Scripture.
David E. Holwerda, Jesus & Israel: One Covenant or Two? (Eerdmans, 1995)
An intermediate-level examination of how Christ is the fulfillment of all of God’s promises to Israel.
Vaughn Roberts, God’s Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible (IVP, 2002)
Our other favorite entry-level introduction to biblical theology (see Goldsworthy’s The Goldsworthy Trinity above). Following Goldsworthy, Roberts traces the storyline of the Bible as the story of the coming of God’s kingdom. Some have found Roberts easier to read than Goldsworthy. Study questions are interspersed throughout the book. Click here for a 9Marks review of this book.
O. Palmer Robertson, The Christ of the Covenants (P&R, 1980)
Whereas authors like Goldsworthy or Roberts employ the concept of God’s “kingdom” as the primary theme for characterizing redemption history, covenant theologians like Robertson employ the complementary concept of “covenant” to tell the story of God’s work of salvation. Robertson argues that a theological unity subsists between the various biblical covenants (Noahic, Abrahamic, etc.), which he, following in a long line of theologians, calls a “covenant of grace.” While Baptists and Presbyterians might disagree on the degree of continuity and discontinuity between the old covenant and new in this overarching concept of the “covenant of grace,” Robertson’s book provides a useful introduction to the covenants generally.
O. Palmer Robertson, Understanding the Land of the Bible: A Biblical Theological Guide
Robertson helps readers see how the geography of ancient Palestine (mountains, plains, valleys, rivers, and cities) impact the meaning of biblical events and God’s work of salvation.
You may also want to encourage your congregation to read Thabiti Anyabwile’s article “2nd Mark of a Healthy Church Member: Biblical Theologian“ at the 9Marks website.
Other books on biblical theology recommended by 9Marks:
- T. Desmond Alexander and Brian Rosner eds, New Dictionary of Biblical Theology (IVP, 2000)
- David L. Baker, Two Testaments, One Bible, rev’d ed. (IVP, 1991)
- Edmund Clowney, Preaching Christ in All of Scripture (Crossway, 2003)
- Stephen G. Dempster, Dominion and Dynasty: A Theology of the Hebrew Bible. In New Studies in Biblical Theology, in New Studies in Biblical Theology, edited by D. A. Carson (IVP, 2003)
- William J. Dumbrell, Covenant and Creation: A Theology of the Old Testament Covenants, in Biblical and Theological Classics Library. Paternoster Press, 1997.
- Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology, new ed. (Banner of Truth, 1996)
- Geerhardus Vos, “The Idea of Biblical Theology as a Science and as a Theological Discipline,” in Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation: The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos (P&R, 1980; repr. 2000)
- Just about anything in the New Studies in Biblical Theology series edited by D. A. Carson.