As the latest entries for the Story of God series, the 1, 2 & John volumes face an ironic problem. Constantine Campbell recognizes that the Johannines “seem more detached from the biblical narrative than most other parts of the New Testament” (p1). There are many odd features about these letters, but trying to read them in light of the grand story is a challenge. Fortunately for the reader, Campbell has to face this challenge head on.
Western Christians exist in a sub-culture of “prepackaged…definitions of belief, faith, works, salvation, heaven, and the gospel that in various ways truncate and distort the full message of the good news about Jesus the Messiah that is proclaimed in the Bible” (p2-3). With this opening volley of Salvation by Allegiance Alone, Matthew Bates is on the offense, and Christianity-lite is in his crosshairs.
Karen Jobes, having written on the General Epistles already, is a fine choice for this commentary on the Johannine Epistles. Two distinctives set her 1, 2, & 3 John commentary apart from others. First, Jobes is unconvinced that 1 John responds to (proto-)Gnosticism. She also considers John’s Gospel as the interpretive framework for the Johannines. These two factors influence her opinions on the text.
Prayer. For many Christians, the word evokes feelings of guilt. Who is content with their prayer life? It can be easy to blame our modern age. Or our busy lives. But I think our lack of prayer is often due to a lack of understanding. What really is prayer and what does it do? We need to think about prayer. We need a theology of prayer. Of course, there are lots of books about prayer. However, most approach the topic from a systematic or devotional viewpoint. Gary Millar, in Calling on the Name of the Lord, takes a different route that fills a niche.
Is preaching simply an invention of the Reformation? Is the preacher a quirk of Protestantism, with no counterpart in the early church? The appropriately titled Preaching in the New Testament by Jonathan Griffiths establishes that the NT teaches preaching is indeed a unique ministry, integral to the health of the body. As a volume in the New Studies in Biblical Theology (other reviews), it approaches the topic from a biblical-theological angle, attempting to discern and harmonize the teaching of Scripture.
The end of the Bible mirrors the beginning. This is seen in parallels between Revelation 21-22 and the early chapters of Genesis. But what if it goes the other way? Seth Postell’s Adam as Israel is a sustained attempt to prove that Adam’s story foreshadows Israel’s. In fact, Postell concludes that Genesis 1-3 was intentionally framed to introduce the Torah and even the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible).