Friday, February 22, 2013

Book Review: Jesus the Messiah

Book Review: Jesus the Messiah: Tracing the Promises, Expectations, and Coming of Israel’s King

by Herbert W. Bateman IV, Darrell L. Bock, Gordon H. Johnston

The hard cover is nicely designed and the full color graphics, maps and text boxes inside make it easy on the eyes and are helpful for understanding certain concepts/comparisons. One thing this book does is use footnotes instead of endnotes. Kudos! Having to go to the back of the book every time I want more information on something is usually a pain (!) and the publishers of Jesus the Messiah made it really easy to just look at the bottom of the page to find that information. To other academic publishers: Footnotes should be used every time!

The book’s content is excellent. It is obvious that the writers are experts in their fields and have thought long and hard on these issues. The introduction is a must-read to understand the background and presuppositions the writers bring to their trade, as well as the way the book is to be understood. I agree with the authors that if God is the One that inspired and superintended the writing and preservation of the Scriptures, then the canonical contextual interpretation is to be preferred and keeps in sight the big picture of God’s unfolding revelation.

The use of an actual Hebrew font for certain words when needed is great. Also, the indexes at the back of the book are very useful, especially the Scripture index, which is the first place I go to in academic books when researching a specific Scripture. The time it saves the reader is exponentially huge over time.

I will confess that I spent more time with Johnston’s contribution of the “Messianic Trajectories in Isaiah” because I am working on a thesis on the subject. I have to say the amount of research and the fact that the authors are conversant with both classic and up to date works was refreshing.

I am personally more conservative than some of the positions the authors have to accept in order for their work to be respected in academia. Conservative Christians should know they don’t have to accept every conclusion the authors arrive at. Look at the evidence and make up your own mind. Otherwise, the book is highly recommended.

Disclosure: The book was received for free from Kregel Academic & Ministry review program. The program does not require a positive review, only a truthful one.