Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
GTJ 8:2 (Fall 87) p. 291
The Message of Genesis 12–50, by Joyce G. Baldwin. The Bible Speaks Today. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1986. Pp. 224. $7.95. Paper.
Joyce G. Baldwin, former principal of Trinity College, Bristol, has established a reputation for well-done work. Her Tyndale commentaries: Daniel and Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, plus her many articles have been well-accepted, and The Message of Genesis 12–50 will be no different.
Placed in InterVarsity’s The Bible Speaks Today series, The Message of Genesis 12–50 has a three-fold intent: “To expound the biblical text with accuracy, to relate it to contemporary life, and to be readable.” As long as one remembers that “expound” here means to apply rather than to interpret Scripture, it can be said that Baldwin has achieved the aim of the series. The work is quite readable since footnotes and references to technical concerns in the text rarely detract from Baldwin’s engaging style. Moreover, the application of Genesis to modern life is the heart of the book.
Baldwin’s most recent book grew out of a series of Bible expositions at Trinity College tailored to lead the college community to God in worship and prayer. Her approach throughout reveals her conviction that as God spoke to the patriarchs long ago, so he speaks through the patriarchs today to all who listen. Baldwin repeatedly draws parallels between those spiritual lessons confronting the patriarchs with those believers today face. To illustrate, regarding Genesis 15 Baldwin writes, “Abram was learning the basic lesson that every believer in turn has to learn, namely that God’s delays are not denials” (p. 51). Also, Baldwin sees in Genesis 15 a portrait of the centrality of faith in every believer’s life, a theme she finds repeated in the NT.
At times, Baldwin introduces the reader to the relevance of the text in the broader framework of biblical theology. For example, her examination of Melchizedek incorporates the material from Psalm 110 and Hebrews 7. The author never moves far from her intention to apply the passage though, for her next paragraph contrasts the faith of Melchizedek with the faithlessness of the king of Sodom.
Problems with this book are few. Occasionally the author makes a misleading statement as when she asserts that the language of the Mari letters is close to the language of the Pentateuch (p. 21). One would also hope that the editors ...
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