Contrary to critical scholarship, the church has long held that the Psalms are the book of Christ. In the introduction to his commentary on Psalms 101-150 in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible, Jason Byassee bemoans the tendency, even found among Christians, to read the Psalms and not find Christ. Rather, with the heart of a preacher, he states that “I read scripture in an effort to discover Christ, and having discovered him, I then try to present him anew to his people” (p. xxi).
There’s a trend in the evangelical church today of reclaiming that which is old. Hymns and liturgy have been making a comeback. In terms of the church’s worship, what could be more ancient than reclaiming the worship of the first believers? Scholars have postulated that the NT contains ancient pre-existing hymns that were sung in early gatherings. However, a recent trend has been to reject the idea of NT “hymns” altogether. In New Testament Christological Hymns, Matthew Gordley—himself an expert in NT “hymn” passages—walks a nuanced balance between the two poles as he reconsiders these intriguing texts.
In the past few decades Psalms scholarship has begun to consider the Psalter as an intentionally arranged collection even with a overarching message or structure. Doing so has highlighted that the Davidic covenant takes pride of place, particularly in Psalm 89 which questions the state of this covenant. The role of David and the Davidic covenant is interpreted differently among scholars, so an in-depth study of the covenants in the Psalter is welcome. Thankfully, Adam Hensley’s published PhD dissertation at Concordia seminary—Covenant Relationships and the Editing of the Hebrew Psalter—addresses this very topic. Adam Hensley seeks to defend and articulate “… the largely unexplored idea that the Psalter presents David as [sic] Moses-like agent of covenant renewal between YHWH as the community” (p. 211).
One of the most significant factors in understanding Paul’s view of Jesus is the fact that he so easily applies “YHWH” texts—OT texts where the God of Israel is the referent—to Jesus. In 1992, David Capes released a book on this topic entitled Old Testament Yahweh Texts in Paul’s Christology. This year (2018), he has released The Divine Christ; a follow-up of sorts that returns to the topic in light of recent scholarship and Capes’ own maturing thoughts. That is not to say, however, that one must read his first book to appreciate this one. This is a solid work on Christology that stands on its own merit.
If we were to travel back in time to the first century, would we recognize “Christianity?” How much of our imagination of the early church is inspired by our modern Western culture, whether it be our contemporary churches or movies such as The Passion? Or, asking the question in the other direction, would the apostles—even Jesus—recognize Christianity? Craig Evans’ From Jesus to the Church goes a long way towards addressing some of these questions. Evans himself presents his book as a study of “the clash between the family of high priest Annas and the family of Jesus of Nazareth” (p. 2), but the contents of his book far exceed this topic.
Romans 8:28-30, among the most quoted passages in the Bible, has long been misunderstood. That is the thrust of Haley Goranson Jacob’s argument in Conformed to the Image of the Son. The problem: we do not properly understand glory, the glory of humanity, and what it means to be conformed to Christ’s image. This thorough and thoughtful book by a upcoming female scholar aims to set us right.