By Daniel Diffey, PhD
College of Theology
September 27, 2016
In my previous blog post, I noted several resources that I recommend in the areas of Old Testament introduction, theology and history. On this go around, I will be recommending resources in the areas of biblical theology, Bible geography and Hebrew.
As I noted in my previous blog post, I am only going to give a few recommendations for each of the areas I will be looking at. There are always more good sources to recommend, but I am limiting my recommendations to a few that I have found particularly helpful.
“The New Dictionary of Biblical Theology”Edited by T. Desmond Alexander, Brian Rosner, D.A. Carson and Graeme Goldsworthy
I recommend this book to pretty much anyone. I would say that this is one of the top books that students should own and read on a regular basis. It will be best understood by the intermediate student (late undergraduate student or early seminary student), but could be beneficially used by the student entering into the study of biblical theology. In this book, you can read about the biblical theology of sections of the Bible (like the Pentateuch or the Pauline epistles), individual biblical books and topics.
“According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible” by Graeme Goldsworthy
Goldsworthy writes a book that is accessible to laypersons, but is valuable to students across the spectrum of learning. He has several chapters of prolegomena and then traces out the biblical storyline.
“From Eden to the New Jerusalem: An Introduction to Biblical Theology” by T. Desmond Alexander
As the title notes, this is an introduction to biblical theology. This book would be most valuable to an upper-level undergraduate or lower-level graduate student. In this work, Alexander traces out the storyline of the Bible while making biblical and theological connections.
“What is Biblical Theology? A Guide to the Bible’s Story, Symbols, and Patterns”by James M. Hamilton Jr.
Instead of doing biblical theology (like in the Goldsworthy and Alexander texts above), Hamilton focuses on understanding and introducing some of the main things to know about biblical theology. He still does biblical theology, but this book complements the other two by exploring how to do and how to understand some of the main components of biblical theology.
“The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God”by G.K. Beale
This volume is a wonderful example of biblical theology at its best. It is for the more advanced student. As the title suggests, Beale traces out the theme of the dwelling place of God throughout the Bible starting with Eden and finishing with the New Heavens and New Earth.
“The Sacred Bridge: Carta’s Atlas of the Biblical World”by Anson Rainey and R. Steven Notley
This is THE standard in biblical atlases. It is exhaustive and for the serious student of the Word of God. It is a bit more expensive than other volumes so I will recommend to more atlases.
“Zondervan Essential Atlas of the Bible” by Carl G. Rasmussen
This volume is brief and easy to go through, and it has great content. An ideal starting atlas.
“Holman Bible Atlas” by Thomas V. Brisco
This volume is a little bit fuller than the Zondervan atlas and would provide a good next step atlas.
There are so many good Hebrew resources, but I will limit it to three introductory grammars:
“A Modern Grammar for Biblical Hebrew”by Duane A. Garrett and Jason S. DeRouchie
The strength of this volume is that it really immerses the student in the Hebrew text while at the same time hitting all of the main points of basic Hebrew grammar. This is the text that I prefer to teach through with my students.
“Basics of Biblical Hebrew Grammar: Second Edition”by Gary D. Pratico and Miles V. Van Pelt
This book teaches Hebrew in a very similar way to the Garrett textbook. If I was going to teach Hebrew on my own, I would use this volume. It is accompanied by some amazing resources including a DVD (or streaming via YouTube or Vimeo) lecture series where Van Pelt walks the student through each chapter. If you are going to be teaching yourself Hebrew, this is the volume I would recommend (and get the video lectures).
“Invitation to Biblical Hebrew: A Beginning Grammar”by Russell T. Fuller and Kyoungwon Choi
Fuller’s volume is the volume that I recommend for students who are going to be in Hebrew for a long period of time. The strength of Fuller’s volume is that he makes his students experts on understanding the ins and outs of Hebrew words and how they work. The weakness is that the student who goes through this volume alone will know a lot about Hebrew, but will still feel uncomfortable when translating. But if you are doing to be in Hebrew extensively, which I would hope that you are if you are reading this blog, then I would recommend that you use Fuller’s volume in conjunction with either Garrett’s volume or the Pratico and Van Pelt volume.