Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Book Review: "The Right Doctrine from the Wrong Texts?"

"There is no book which addresses the crucial issues revolving around the use of the Old Testament in the New in the manner in which this book does." ~ G. K. Beale, The Right Doctrine from the Wrong Texts?

How do the New Testament (NT) authors use the Old Testament (OT)? Were they faithful to it when they used it? Can we reproduce their methodology? Should we reproduce their methodology? These are some of the big questions in the current hermeneutical debate over the NT use of the OT. Much has been written on the subject but nothing like Beale’s volume of essays. Beale writes, "The purpose of this book is to present various perspectives concerning the hermeneutical issue whether or not Jesus and the apostles quoted Old Testament texts with respect for their broader Old Testament context."  Beale also comments that the perspectives are presented with "no editorial evaluation of the essays. They stand on their own, and the reader has the responsibility of evaluation."  So, he wants to present the topic, the issues, and the different perspectives in an honest fashion so the reader can investigate further and make an informed, convicted choice. Beale does admit that "there is more space devoted to the articles arguing in favor of the New Testament’s contextual approach to the Old… than to the opposing perspective."   He gives three reasons but the main reason is that the majority of NT and OT scholars believe the NT uses the OT without any regard for its original meaning, so the "minority view" is given more time to speak. Below is my conclusion of my review of this book and then a link to the whole review, if you are interested:
This is an excellent work. We greatly appreciate Beale’s effort to present the multiple sides of the issue without adding editorial comments. One could perhaps argue that Beale’s closing article is such a comment but even then, he lets the articles stand on their own. Any student of Scripture would benefit from reading this book, however, many of the articles assume a certain scholastic knowledge that the average Christian does not generally have. That does not mean they could not enjoy this work and get a lot out of it but it does mean they might have to put in extra research while reading it. Whichever side of the argument one lands on, the book is very helpful because it presents both views. One can learn about the view they oppose and, if one is so moved, formulate arguments against the position. Furthermore, the handful of articles that are text-specific are excellent examples of the various views applied to the nuts and bolts of Scripture and provide a great resource for teaching or preaching through these texts. Finally, the bibliography is excellent and provides ten pages worth of resources for further study on various topics. All these things combined make this book a resource worthy of any library, especially the student, scholar, and/or pastor. 
 If you want to read the whole review, you can find it here.

By His Grace,

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