“What we think and how we live is largely determined by the larger story in which we interpret our lives. Does your story enable you to look death in the face? Does your story give you a hope that goes beyond the grave?”
In his soon to be published book, What is Biblical Theology? (Crossway Books) James M. Hamilton, Jr begins his study of Biblical theology (“the primary aims” of which “is to understand and embrace the worldview of the biblical authors,”) with a question to the reader about the source and nature of one’s life story.
Written in an engaging and easy to follow conversational style, Hamilton takes the reader on a journey that covers the Bible from Genesis to Revelation for the purpose he says “to think about the whole story of the Bible.” Now while the book is written in a style that would lend it self to study groups in the classroom as well as in the church small group, the topics Hamilton takes on are deep and challenging and a study group would be the best way to study and understand this book. (And isn’t the Bible well studied in groups as well?)
Subtitled A Guide to the Bible’s Story, Symbolism, and Patterns, the book is divided into three parts – The Bible’s Big Story in which Hamilton address the themes of narrative, plot, and mystery in order to see the larger picture of God’s redemptive plans and purpose; The Bible’s Symbolic Universe where Hamilton turns to discussing the place of symbols, imagery, typology, and patterns through out the Bible which, when studied can enrich one’s understanding of the Bible; and The Bible’s Love Story in which the place and purpose of the church in the plot and theme of God’s love and redemption throughout the Bible.
Though I operate out of a Wesleyan/Holiness point of view and Hamilton operates out of a more Baptistic view, what I have taken away from this book is a passionate reminder, after many years of following Christ and serving in the ministry, that the story of Scripture is the story of a God who continues to pursue humanity for the purpose of redeeming them and bringing them into the greater story of life and purpose – God’s greater story.
I rate this book a “very good’ read.
Note: This review is based on a galley copy of the book provided by the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for a review of the book. I was not required to write a positive review of the book.