Saturday, February 25, 2006

Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey

“Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey” is a wonderful introductory book on Jesus and the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). The book is set-up like an introductory textbook, providing easy to read chapters, informative charts/graphs, and review questions at the end of each chapter. Another great feature of this book is that at the end of each chapter, Dr. Blomberg provides a list of books for further study and categorizes each of them as “Introductory”, “Intermediate” or “Advance”.

“Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey” is divided into 5 major sections: (1) Historical Background for Studying the Gospels (2) Critical Methods for Studying the Gospels (3) Introduction to the Four Gospels (4) A Survey of the Life of Christ (5) Historical and Theological Syntheses. I found the fourth section to be very enriching, as Dr. Blomberg pieces all four of the Gospels in a seamless chronological order, something I tried to do a few years ago, but I quickly abandon the effort after being frustrated with the difficultly of the task.

I want to encourage anyone who desires to begin a serious study of Jesus or the Gospels to read this book, because I found it difficult to find a scholarly book on this topic from any conservative and evangelical authors, so finding this book was like finding rare treasure. Lastly, it was exciting and encouraging to read about Dr. Blomberg’s heart in writing this scholarly book:

“No matter what level of Gospel tradition one examines- the evangelist’s redaction, the developing oral tradition, or the bedrock core of what can securely be assigned to the historical Jesus – one impression remains the same. Jesus, like his earliest followers, was convinced that how one responded to him was the most important decision anyone could make in his or her life. On this response hinges one’s eternal destiny. We are called to become Christ’s followers, to be subject of the kingdom, to practice the “greater righteousness” that he demands but also makes possible for those who declare their allegiance to him….Simply admiring and imitating Jesus, however, is not adequate, unless it stems from our faith in his person as the unique God-man and our reception of the forgiveness of sins that he offers. If this book has enabled its readers to progress towards these goals, in the myriad of fascinating and controversial details that has it explored, then it will have proved worth the effort for both writer and readers.” – pg. 412

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