Thoughts on Books I Read in 2022

These are a few thoughts on the books I read last year. I may have missed one or two but this list is pretty complete. Many of the works were read as I researched Volume Two of The Words of the Covenant. Not to knock them but rarely now am I helped by books that I already agree with. I did not include two books that I am more than halfway through: Paul: A New Covenant Jew by Pitre, Barber & Kincaid, and Peter Stuhlmacher’s Biblical Theology of the New Testament. If I do this again at the cusp of 2024 I shall give my opinion on both of them. Have a Happy and Blessed New Year!

The Messianic Theology of the New Testament – Joshua Jipp

An engaging Reformed treatment of an important theme. Clearly, I don’t agree that Jesus is on David’s throne now, but it is very important because of what it highlights.

1 Peter – Craig Keener

Keener is a very clear writer. He always provides loads of background info. Sometimes he overdoes it, but this is a very good all-round commentary.

Revelation – Buist Fanning

Fanning is an excellent commentator who packs a lot of information into a page. I wasn’t convinced by everything in this book (like his treatment of the sixth seal in Rev. 6), but found this a great way to think through Revelation. Definitely deserves to be near the top of anyone’s lists on the last book of the Bible.

Colossians and Philemon: A Commentary for Biblical Preaching and TeachingAdam Copenhaver and Jeffrey D. Arthurs,

Copenhaver’s exposition is excellent. Arthurs’s homiletical notes, meh.

James: An Exegetical Guide for Preaching and TeachingHerbert W. Bateman & William C. Varner

The best commentary I have read this year. Great layout. Scores on all points a work like it explores. Requires a knowledge of Greek.

1 & 2 Kings: A Commentary for Biblical Preaching and TeachingDavid B. Schreiner & Lee Compson

Somewhat critical from Schreiner, but still very useful all the same. For what you get preachers could do worse (though Iain Provan is better). Compson’s homiletics notes are okay I guess.

Jesus Remembered – James D. G. Dunn

Finished this off this year. I love Dunn’s writing style and the way he triggers new questions. I don’t like everything I read, but am helped by it. Great material on the Kingdom.

Beginning From Jerusalem – James D. G. Dunn

Volume 2 of Dunn’s massive Trilogy and fully up to the standard of the first. Really appreciated the way Dunn intertwines expansion and the NT writings.

The Theology of the Apostle Paul – James D. G. Dunn

Rightly regarded as an exceptional work. Brilliant thinking through Paul. A stimulating work! Dunn is so good at linking up the epistles to the central pillar of Romans.

Paul and the Faithfulness of God – N. T. Wright

I haven’t completed these two volumes but have read much of them. Wright doesn’t capture my imagination like Dunn does, and I haven’t gotten as much from this book as I’d hoped. This is mainly because I disagree with his dominating thesis of Israel’s exile being ended in Christ.

Paul in Fresh Perspective – N. T. Wright

Wright at his best. Some terrific essays here, even though I disagree more than I agree.

A Theology of Paul and His Letters – Douglas Moo

Good, clear, very useful, but yet not as groundbreaking as I had hoped. Relies on Dunn (above) quite a lot. I think reading Dunn first blunted my experience of this work.

Paul and the Salvation of Mankind – Johannes Munck

Since lots of scholars cite this work I thought I better read it. Liberal dogmatism at its worse, but one or two redeeming features.

The King of God’s Kingdom – David Seccombe

Backed by scholarship but written for everyone. This book explores and explains the identity of Jesus and the significance of His work in an almost devotional way. Some of his notes date him a tad, but I enjoyed this book. It deserves to be better known – and to be cheaper!

Covenant Theology: Biblical, Historical & Theological Perspectives – Waters, Reid & Muether (eds)

An excellent compendium of articles on CT from a paedo-baptist perspective. Some of the material is from other books (e.g., Belcher on the cov. of works), but this is a really good book. Stops short of being definitive but is a must for anyone wanting to understand CT.

Paul’s Theology in Context – James P. Ware

An excellent piece of work written with deference to better known scholars but which makes a solid contribution. Focusses on the themes of Creation, Incarnation, Covenant, and Kingdom. Right up my alley.

When People Are Big and God is Small – Ed Welch

A good book dealing with self-centeredness and co-dependency. I used it for a Bible Study. Added quite a bit of my own stuff but always found good jumping off points in the book.

40 Questions About Arminianism – J. Matthew Pinson

An outstanding discussion of Classical Arminianism from a very competent writer who knows theology and philosophy. All Calvinists need to read this, especially if they think Arminius and Wesley were “semi-pelagians.” I am not Arminian but was much helped by this book. It needed to be written.

40 Questions About PrayerJoseph C. Harrod

One of the very best books on Prayer I have ever read (and I’ve read of lot of them). Balanced, sober, and uplifting. A job well done.

Yeshua: The Life of the Messiah from a Messianic Jewish Perspective (Vol. 1) – Arnold Fruchtenbaum

Finally, I was sent this book by a kind friend who wanted an opinion on it. It is the first of a massive four volume work. My intention was to review it but I felt that the review would be too negative, so I didn’t write it. Dr. Fruchtenbaum is a messianic Jewish teacher whose ministry is focused on the Jews, and this has to be kept in mind. With that said I have to report that this large book is thin on biblical exposition of its subject. It relies heavily (and questionably) upon parallels and echoes from Mishnaic/Talmudic Jewish sources, most of which stem from a time long after the times of Jesus (which is acknowledged by the author). As such the light cast from the non-inspired sources on the inspired ones is suspect. The trouble with this method is that for every assertion made on the basis of a targum another view is possible depending on the choice of source and the weight given to it (e.g., the Dead Sea Scrolls). Any familiarity with e.g., N. T. Wright or Peter Stuhlmacher will reveal this.

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There are 4 Comments

josh p's picture

Thanks Paul for a good list from which to scour more reads. I recently bought the Kerux commentary on 1 Peter which I'm looking forward to digging into. I have that Beginning from Jerusalem book but have yet to crack it. Huge book.  I'm either got or cold with Fruchtenbaum. It's either excellent or incredibly strange. 

Paul Henebury's picture

I know what you mean Josh.  Fruchtenbaum has as many oddities as positives.  He bought into G. H. Pember's stuff wholesale.  I personally feel he is a bit overrated by many Dispensationalists.  I don't often find him helpful. 

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

Don Johnson's picture

Colossians and Philemon: A Commentary for Biblical Preaching and Teaching – Adam Copenhaver and Jeffrey D. Arthurs

Jeff Arthurs was in my class at BJU, in fact was one of the other young men in a Mark Minnick Pulpit Speech class. Jeff was a speech minor, if I recall correctly. I've read some of his work on homiletics. He seems to value rhetoric over exposition, in my opinion.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Paul Henebury's picture

I agree with your opinion. Smile

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

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