The Cradle, the Cross and the Crown

This is the second edition of The Cradle, the Cross and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by B&H Academic Publishers. The authors, Andreas Kostenberger, L. Scott Kellum and Charles Quarles, are all experts in the arena of the New Testament. There is no lack of New Testament scholarship.The Cradle.png

This is a “big” book – literally and figuratively. This volume is a massive undertaking. It is big literally because it encompasses 1130 pages (not including an excellent map section in the back) and weighs nearly four pounds. It is probably not a volume to be carried any great distance in your backpack.

It is big figuratively due to its importance. It is comprehensive in that it deals with virtually every area of the New Testament but not exhaustive hence a wide-ranging bibliography at the end of each chapter.

The book begins with a two chapter Introduction on “The Nature and Scope of Scripture” and “The Political and Religious Background of the New Testament.” These chapters will educate and should inspire any New Testament pupil. Chapter 3 is a 106 page examination of “Jesus and the Relationship Between the Gospels,” encompassing nearly every issue that might challenge the student. Following chapter 1-3 is a book-by-book introduction to each of twenty-seven books of the New Testament.

Every chapter begins with a “Core Knowledge” section describing the knowledge expected at a Basic, Intermediate and Advanced level – an excellent tool to determine where one stands concerning the subject matter. Subsequent to this each chapter concludes with a series of study questions which would serve well on a final examination (thus the classification as a textbook).

While this is primarily a textbook, it is at the same time a ready reference for the New Testament. For any serious student of the New Testament this should be a go-to volume. If you love the Word of God, this is a book that should be on your bookshelf and referred to frequently.

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me by B&H Academic for a fair and honest review.

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What Happened in the Garden

Sometimes you might think that Satan is attacking the Bible in book-chapter-verse order. It might take him a while to accomplish his purpose as there still is a remnant who believe and are willing to fight for the veracity of the Scriptures. But, eventually he gets a foot in the door and that’s all he requires. Case in point Satan has already had widespread success in his attack on Genesis 1 and 2 with the attack coming from both outside and inside the walls of the church. Once Satan slithered through the doors of the church in his attack on Genesis 1 and 2, he began on the next chapter – Genesis 3. What about this whole incident in the garden? Did it really happen? Were Adam and Eve real people? And whoever heard of a talking serpent?what-happened-in-the-garden

These issues (well, almost all of them) are what this volume engages. What Happened in the Garden: The Reality and Ramifications of the Creation and Fall of Man is a scholarly, technical defense of Genesis 3. The book consists of a series of focused essays that is divided into three parts: 1. Reality of Genesis 2-3, 2. Theological Ramifications of the Creation and Fall, and 3. Worldview Ramifications of the Creation and Fall. The volume is edited by Abner Chou, professor of biblical studies at The Master’s College and Seminary and published by Kregel Academic. The contributors are all experts in their various fields.

Chou readily admits that the content of the essays is technical by demand but that there was an attempt to make the material understandable to the lay reader by placing “technical detail in the footnotes.” Unfortunately, this goal had limited success. Virtually all of the essays contain various amounts of technical detail. But that is not to infer that the lay reader cannot digest the material. All of it is well-written and all of the arguments are presented logically. The technicality of the book is its nature. Each essay is specialized.

For example, if one is scientifically minded, Taylor B. Jones’ contribution entitled “Thermodynamics and the Fall – How the Curse Changed Our World” is a moderately technical examination of how the laws of thermodynamics were affected by what happened in Genesis 3. It will appeal to the science buff. Jo Suzuki engages the gender debate. John MacArthur provides the concluding chapter “A Sin of Historic Proportions,” one that will be liked by theologians and Bible students.

Bottom line: Regardless of your field of study or expertise, if you have even a passing interest in Genesis 3 and the importance of its literal interpretation, I would recommend that you examine this book even if you concentrated on the essays that attract your interest.

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me by Kregel Publications for a fair and honest review.