Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
SBTJ 17:4 (Winter 2013) p. 84
40 Questions about Christians and Biblical Law. By Thomas R. Schreiner. Edited by Benjamin L. Merkle. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2010, 256 pp., $17.99 paper.
Most serious students of the Bible would jump at the chance to spend a day or two in personal conversation with a distinguished Bible scholar peppering him with questions about the most important theological issues. Sadly, few ever have anything close to such an opportunity, that is, until now. Merkle’s 40 Questions series allows students to eavesdrop on a conversation in which an imaginary student poses question after question to a top scholar on some of the topics that matter most.
The series offers particular advantages to the reader that the average student interrogator would probably lack. First, though the student might gain access to a respected scholar, he might pose questions that were outside of the scholar’s true area of expertise. Schreiner, on the other hand, is uniquely qualified to address questions related to the Christian and biblical law. He is the author of The Law and Its Fulfillment: A Pauline Theology of Law, an advanced commentary on Romans, an intermediate-level commentary on Galatians, a Pauline theology, a New Testament theology, and most recently, an impressive whole-Bible biblical theology. Schreiner’s discussions of the believer’s relationship to the law are by no means the musings of a novice. These conversations are the product of careful reflection spanning over a quarter of a century by a respected specialist.
Second, even if a student had access to a scholar one-on-one for hours to discuss important theological issues, most students, without first conducting extensive research in the field, would squander some of their rare opportunity. They would likely spend a good bit of their time asking the wrong questions, questions that address peripheral issues of varying importance but do not actually get to the heart of the matter. The student knows what questions he would like to ask. The scholar knows what questions he should be asking. Recognizing this, the 40 Question series permitted the scholar to furnish the questions to the student
SBTJ 17:4 (Winter 2013) p. 85
and then provide helpful answers. This ensures that the reader gains the maximum benefit from the theological dialogue.
Schreiner divided his questions into five major parts: the law in the Old Testament; the law in Paul; the law in the Gospels and Acts; the law in the General Epistles; and the law and contemporary issues. Not surprisingly, he devoted just over half of the questions to issues related to the law in Paul. He subdivided the treatment of the law in Paul into three sets of questions rela...
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