New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ

Thomas R. Schreiner is an NT professor at SBTS (click the link for lots of articles) and is well known for his Romans commentary and Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ. His New Testament Theology came out this summer, but had already created a bit of a kerfuffle in the blogosphere before it was published. (No such thing as bad publicity, right?)

Schreiner’s thesis is basically two-pronged:

The thesis advanced in this book is that NT theology is God-focused, Christ-centered, and Spirit-saturated, but the work of the Father, Son, and Spirit must be understood along a salvation-historical timeline; that is, God’s promises are already fulfilled but not yet consummated in Christ Jesus.

His two big ideas, then, are the God-centered nature of the NT and the already-but-not-yet nature of the kingdom of God in the NT. These ideas are so foundational to Scripture that it’s easy to assume them without seeing how pervasive they really are (Schreiner notes, “We tend to look past what constantly stands in front of us”, 119). The great value of this book lies in Schreiner’s ability to see, point out, and explain things that we very easily take for granted.

Schreiner mostly takes a thematic approach, although some chapters are divided to cover certain books. Part 1, “The Fulfillment of God’s Saving Promises,” deals with the already-not yet idea in the NT. Part 2, “The God of the Promise,” shows the centrality of God, Christ and the Holy Spirit (with particular emphasis on Christ, as the title of the book suggests). Part 3, “Experiencing the Promise”, deals with the problem of sin, the connection of faith and obedience in the life of the believer, and the role of the Law in the Old and New Testaments. Finally, Part 4, “The People of the Promise and the Future of the Promise,” deals with the relationship of the church to Israel and the future consummation.

This book is simply saturated with Scripture. Schreiner began his research by reading through the NT twice and taking notes, and the Scripture index runs over 30 pages. Schreiner masterfully paints the broad strokes of the NT while also meticulously referencing specific verses (tons of them!), enabling the reader to get the forest and the trees. I had several aha! moments in the time I spent looking through the book. In addition to the Scripture index, which I wil return to frequently, other highlights are the OT summary in the Introduction and the chapters on the centrality of God in NT theology and the role of the Law in salvation history. But the whole thing is excellent. This is a must-have for a theological library, and you could spend years using it to guide your personal Bible study. Schreiner has knocked this one out of the park.


2 thoughts on “New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ

  1. do you read thoroughly every page or do you skim paragraphs? You read a lot more books than I could ever fit into my schedule… thanks for the reviews though, cause I add some to my wish list (like this one) and will one day sit down with them. If curious, reading “Hearing God” by Dallas Willard currently.

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