Exploring the Bible: A Guide to the Old and New Testaments, 1581348649

Book Announcement
Exploring the Bible: A Guide to the Old and New Testaments
by R. Laird Harris, Samuel J. Schultz
Gary V. Smith and Walter M. Dunnett

I confess I have a weakness for books that provide broad sweeping overviews of the biblical storyline because I never get tired of reading authors who tie the various biblical threads together into one comprehensive picture of God’s redemptive plan. (This explains why one of my favorite books of 2006 was Mark Dever’s, Promises Made.) So I was especially excited to receive my copy of Exploring the Bible: A Guide to the Old and New Testaments (Crossway).

This new book extends far beyond a general overview of the biblical storyline because Exploring the Bible is really three books in one. The first of three books is “Exploring the Basics of the Bible” (pp. 9-114) which includes a helpful introduction to the Bible. Among other things this section includes an overview of inspiration, OT and NT authorship, how the bible was preserved, a primer on higher criticism, difficult bible questions, how to use commentaries, lexicons and the best methods of bible study.

The second book, “Exploring the Old Testament” (pp. 115-336), traces the OT narrative chronologically and later addresses the wisdom literature and prophets. The final book, “Exploring the New Testament” (pp. 337-440), progresses through the NT books generally in the order they appear in Scripture, pointing out broad topical themes.

Throughout this volume, the authors incorporate helpful charts and graphs to help the reader grasp the big picture. Discussion questions are printed at the end of each chapter to facilitate group discussion. Exploring the Bible will prove to be very valuable if you want bible study help, an intro to Scripture and overviews of the OT/NT storyline and themes.

Title: Exploring the Bible: A Guide to the Old and New Testaments
Authors: by R. Laird Harris, Samuel J. Schultz, Gary V. Smith and Walter M. Dunnett
Reading level: 2.4/5.0 > moderately easy
Boards: paperback
Pages: 448
Volumes: 1
Dust jacket: no
Binding: glue
Paper: normal
Topical index: no
Scriptural index: no
Text: perfect type
Publisher: Crossway (see excerpts here)
Year: 2001, 2002; printed together 2007
Price USD: $19.99 / $14.99 at CBD
ISBNs: 1581348649, 9781581348644

Book announcement > Growing in Christ by J.I. Packer

Book announcement
Growing in Christ
by J.I. Packer

Now with a new cover, J.I. Packer’s excellent book Growing in Christ looks better than ever (it was originally published in 1994 as I Want to Be a Christian). Packer offers a popular level overview of Christianity divided into four sections (doctrine as outlined by the Apostle’s Creed; baptism and conversion; prayer; the Ten Commandments). The 64 very short chapters include biblical references for further study and questions useful for personal devotion times or group facilitation (as it was intended).

Overall, I think this quote provides an excellent overview of Packer’s purpose,

“Being a Christian is a blend of doctrine, experience, and practice. Head, heart, and legs are all involved. Doctrine and experience without practice would turn me into a knowledgeable spiritual paralytic; experience and practice without doctrine would leave me a restless sleepwalker. If Christ is to be formed in me, doctrine, experience, and practice must all be there together” (p. 127).

Packer accomplishes this balance well in Growing in Christ.


Title: Growing in Christ (formerly I Want to Be a Christian)
Author: J.I. Packer
Reading level: 1.0/5.0 > very easy
Boards: paperback
Pages: 288
Volumes: 1
Dust jacket: no
Binding: glue
Paper: normal
Topical index: yes
Scriptural index: no
Text: second generation perfect text
Publisher: Crossway
Year: 1994, 2007
Price USD: $16.99 / $12.99 at CBD
ISBNs: 1581348525, 9781581348521

Book announcement > Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness by Brian Vickers

Book announcement
Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness: Paul’s Theology of Imputation
by Brian Vickers

Few topics are more central to a right relationship with a holy God than the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ for undeserving sinners. But few issues are more hotly contested in recent years. As Ligon Duncan writes, “The historic reformational doctrine of imputation is under serious duress in our day. Interestingly, it is often evangelical, Protestant, biblical studies scholars who have the doctrine in their sights.”

The solution is a historical, theological and exegetical look at imputation and a fairly new book from Crossway, Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness: Paul’s Theology of Imputation by Brian Vickers does this. Vickers tackles the confusing teachings of N.T. Wright, E.P. Sanders, James D.G. Dunn and affirms,

“A synthesis of Paul’s teaching leads to the conclusion that Christ’s righteousness is, after all, imputed to believers. A variety of themes merge in such a way as to establish that the righteousness that counts before God and is by faith can be nothing other than Christ’s righteousness. From various texts is it evident that when discussing justification Paul speaks of, among other things, God’s actions through Christ on behalf of sinners, who though undeserving are forgiven and declared righteous as a free gift from God on the basis of Christ’s substitutionary death. Christ as the second Adam, the covenant head of his people, and the first fruits of the harvest, obeys the will and command of God, and his obedience results in a right standing before God for those identified in union with him. This righteousness is appropriated by faith, which, as the instrumental means of justification, effects their union with Christ” (p. 232).


Title: Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness: Paul’s Theology of Imputation
Author: Brian Vickers
Reading level: 4.0/5.0 > advanced > some Gk./Heb.
Boards: paperback
Pages: 254
Volumes: 1
Dust jacket: no
Binding: glue
Paper: normal
Topical index: no (person index)
Scriptural index: no
Text: perfect type
Publisher: Crossway
Year: 2006
Price USD: $14.99 / $11.99 at CBD
ISBNs: 1581347545, 9781581347548