Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 33:2 (Jun 1990)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous


Book Reviews

On the Way to Jesus: A Journey Through the Bible. By Albert H. Baylis. Portland: Multnomah, 1986, 364 pp., $10.95 paper.

Ask the average churchgoer or beginning Bible-school student the difference between Biblical and systematic theology and you will probably draw a blank look. This is not due simply to using academic argot but because the results of the work of Biblical theologians has by and large not been communicated in an interesting and understandable form for the nonspecialist. Baylis has made a solid step toward bridging the gap in this book, an entry-level Biblical theology of the OT.

Skipping over the usual preliminaries (definition, nature, scope, methodology, etc.), he begins immediately with the creation account in Genesis 1. Through fifteen chapters he presents a diachronic, pluriform (i.e. not a unifying-theme approach) Biblical theology in such an engaging manner that most readers would be unaware that they are reading a work on theology. The chapters are grouped into four parts: “Basics for Understanding Life” (Genesis 1–11), “God’s Plan for Reversal” (patriarchs, Exodus, the law, Deuteronomy), “Struggle for Consistency” (Joshua-Kings, wisdom books), “Restoration and Hope” (Ezra-Nehemiah, Haggai-Zechariah, some concluding thoughts on hope). Each chapter concludes with a section entitled “On the Way” in which the OT themes encountered in that chapter are developed further in light of NT teaching, together with suggested collateral Scripture readings and several questions for personal interaction and discussion.

Unfortunately space constraints limited his coverage of the prophets (p. 290). It is also apparent that his treatment, though mostly dealing with successive time periods (diachronic analysis), sometimes focuses rather on the theology of the Biblical book (e.g. chap. 8 on Deuteronomy) or category of books (e.g. chap. 12 on wisdom) or a Biblical theme (e.g. chap. 15 on hope). Of course since all three of these areas are fair play in doing Biblical theology, such inconsistency could well be turned into an advantage in introducing the field.

The text is delightful reading for beginning students of the Scriptures as well as those well-versed in OT theology. It reads easily at the popular level, yet contains frequent original insights and perspectives with 40 pages of fine-print endnotes demonstrating the author’s capable interaction with the secondary scholarly literature (e.g. Brueggemann, Childs, Kaiser, von Rad, Waltke, Westermann). Each chapter is related to its subsequent NT development, yet his dispensational leanings rarely surface and should not detract from its use by nondispensationalist...

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