Second Reformed Church

Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: "For the Love of God's Word"



For the Love of God’s Word:  An Introduction to Biblical Interpretation by Andreas J. Kostenberger and Richard D. Patterson is an abridgement of their Invitation  to BiblicalInterpretation(9).  The abridgement consisted largely of removing biblical language passages so this work could be more readily used by those who do not have training in the biblical languages.

The text is well and consistently set up for use in the classroom setting, though individual readers may use it without detriment.

Each chapter is prefaced by chapter “objectives” and a chapter “outline.”

Each chapter concludes with “guidelines” relative to the material in the chapter, “key words” – which are defined in the concluding “glossary,” “assignments” – to put the material to work, and “key resources” – for further study.

The authors’ methodology of interpretation is to look first at the history of the text, then the literature of the text, and, finally, its theology (13).

In looking at the history of the text, the authors give dates for the text and the periods covered and align it with the relevant historical setting across culture (33ff).

The literature takes up the largest section of the book (61ff).  The authors begin by distinguishing between the two major sections of the canon:  the Old Testament and the New Testament.  Then, the divide the text into Old Testament narrative, poetry and wisdom, prophecy, Gospels and Acts, parables, epistles, and apocalyptic literature.  Finally, they consider the language of the text including “discourse content” and word meanings.

Finally, they consider how the reader receives the theology presented in the text via all of the examination that has been done first (359).

Overall, I found this text very readable and user-friendly.  For the sake that many people read the Bible and draw unwarranted conclusions because they have not done the necessary preparation prior to interpreting the text, I recommend this book and others like it that take a gramatico-historical approach to interpreting the text.

The one area I was disappointed in was seeing how they slipped in not following their own guidelines as they considered prophecy.  For example, the “fact” of the “rapture” is stated, when there is no backing up via their hermeneutical triad (94).  (The Reformed tradition, of which I belong, does not find Scriptural warrant for the “rapture.”)  And in the chapter on the Apocalypse, the amillennial view seems to be ignored, and a quick support is given to “modified futurism and historical premillennialism” without backing up the conclusion (275-277).

Basically, I think this is a very good introduction to biblical interpretation.  The one area I would suggest some editing would be in the sections about prophecy – preferable to state the variant views and their pluses and minus without drawing a conclusion which could make the text troublesome for use by some schools of thought.

[I received this book free from Kregel in exchange for an honest review.  This review appears on my blog and on Amazon.com.]  #FortheLoveofGodsWord

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