Let’s face it, reading the Bible isn’t easy. That’s not a knock at the doctrine of the perspicuity of the Scripture (which says that the central message of the Bible is clear), that’s an acknowledgement that we are separated from the writers of Scripture by thousands of years, culture, language, and spiritual understanding. We need help understanding the Bible, and the discipline of Biblical Theology helps us understand the Bible on its own terms.
40 Questions about Biblical Theology is the newest in a great line of 40 Questions books from Kregel Academic. Professors Jason DeRouchie (Old Testament scholar at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary), Oren Martin (Systematic Theologian at Southern Seminary), and Andrew Naselli (New Testament scholar at Bethlehem College & Seminary) take turns answering what the title promises. (Browse the Table of Contents for an overview.) It may not surprise you knowing these Baptist professors that they write from a Progressive Covenantal approach (as opposed to Covenant or Dispensationalist Theology). Even so, they present an evenhanded explanation of Covenant and Dispensational theology in the chapter on each.
Jason DeRouchie describes the book’s target audience: “This book is targeted toward thoughtful and hungry layman, but it will benefit church leaders and students as well. Anyone interested in seeing and savoring the Triune God and in celebrating his purposes from creation to consummation climaxing in Christ will benefit.”
The strengths of the book are in the breadth of topics they can cover clearly and compellingly. I appreciate the wealth of helpful definitions, explanations, and charts that they include, and have earmarked a lot for future teaching. I also appreciate the love each author shows for the discipline of Biblical Theology, because at the end of the day Biblical Theology is all about worshipping God for what He has done through His Son Jesus. This love for Biblical Theology is infectious and comes out through pithy sayings like this one summarizing the Bible’s story: “Kill the dragon, get the girl”—which is as interesting as it is accurate. You may also enjoy how reading fiction series like Harry Potter can help us read the Bible better.
While I really enjoyed most of the chapters, the chapters presenting a biblical theology of law and mystery may have been my favorites. The only weakness of the book (and I suppose it is to be expected in a title like this), is that a few of the chapters left me wanting a bit more. But the flip side of that weakness is that it recommends many great resources in the footnotes, which means I know exactly where to turn to satisfy my curiosity.
If there’s a better book to introduce the topic and discipline of Biblical Theology to theological students, I haven’t seen it. The format makes it the ideal starting place because it answers questions succinctly (usually between 8-14 pages) while sharing a treasure trove of footnotes for going deeper on topics of interest. I sincerely hope this book will find its way into Spanish, because I can’t wait to recommend this to some of the pastors our organization trains in Latin America.
40 Questions about Biblical Theology is a great starting place for going deeper into learning how God wants His Word to be read.
 If you’re not a theological student and just want a better grasp of the Bible story, I’d still recommend God’s Big Picture by Vaughan Roberts as a starting point.