Craig Blomberg is a scholar whose work I’ve really appreciated, particularly his works on the Gospels and his biblical theology of money and possessions. Now he’s added a complete New Testament theology to his already substantial body of work.
While there is no shortage of New Testament theologies out there, Blomberg’s work seeks to contribute to the conversation by focusing on the theme of fulfillment as the central focus of the New Testament. What was promised by God in the Old Testament has found fulfillment in the life, death, resurrection, and reign of Jesus Christ, and the entire New Testament bears witness to this truth in a variety of ways. I think this is a really helpful lens through which to unpack the theologies of the NT authors.
Blomberg gives a very broadly evangelical, mildly conservative perspective. I found him to be quite fair and balanced on the range of topics that inevitably come up in a NT theology. Obviously not everyone will agree with all of his positions, but there are a lot of valuable insights to be gleaned. I especially found his chapters on James and Paul’s writings to be standouts.
I also liked that while most NT theologies treat 2 Peter and Jude together (due to their obvious similarities), Blomberg examined 1 and 2 Peter side-by-side. (He grouped Jude in with the chapter on James, which came across as a bit of a stretch at first but was an interesting experiment).
A nice bonus to the book is that he spends a lot of time documenting the historical reliability of the NT writings before he goes into analyzing their theology, making this just as valuable a resource for apologetics as it is for biblical theology. I also love the massive bibliography represented in the footnotes — Blomberg did a very impressive amount of research for this, and there were a lot of sources cited that were new and useful to me.
As far as the book’s weaknesses, obviously there are always going to be some topics that get shorter treatment (otherwise the book would span volumes). Blomberg doesn’t devote much space to subjects like angels, demons, and Satan, arguing that those are not main themes the NT authors dwell on but instead are incidental to the discussion. Still, there are a lot of important background assumptions about spiritual beings that shape the NT authors’ theologies, so I thought they deserved a bit more attention.
All in all, this was a solid NT theology. Nothing game-changing, but it was balanced, readable, and would make an excellent resource even if only for the bibliography/footnotes alone! I would put it toward the top of the more recent NT theologies, above the popular ones by Beale, Schreiner, etc.
(Available from: Amazon / Publisher)
Categories: Book Reviews, Resource Recommendations
Interesting. I like Blomberg too. Does he address the fulifllment of the Old Testament’s more political, militaristic, and generally messianic expectations (i.e. Psalms 2 and 100)? Does he propose that Jesus and the first Christians reinterpreted these expectations around spiritual and universal outcomes?
Blomberg holds to historic premillennialism, so he views a future fulfillment to the political messianic expectations; his is a more traditional “already and not yet” perspective on the kingdom.