Best Books in 2015
“Best of” book lists have certainly continued to proliferate since Biblical Foundations first started to compile these lists close to a decade ago. However, quite a few of these lists are compiled by individuals whose specialty is primarily in historical or systematic theology rather than biblical studies, biblical theology, or hermeneutics, which is our primary focus at Biblical Foundations.
That said, here’s our list of the best resources in biblical studies for 2015. The volumes are listed in no particular order. All of them exhibit a very high level of scholarship, and the authors and publishers are to be congratulated and commended for their contributions to our knowledge of the Bible and, hopefully, our faithful obedience to God and His Word.
1. A Theology of Mark’s Gospel by David Garland
Series: Biblical Theology of the New Testament. Publisher: Zondervan. This is the fourth volume and halfway point of the series, following volumes on John, Luke-Acts, and Peter, James, and Jude. I know of no better volume on this topic.
2. John by Murray Harris
Series: Exegetical Greek Guide on the New Testament. Publisher: B&H Academic. This is the final scholarly contribution by the eminent Greek and New Testament scholar Murray Harris. All students and teachers on John’s Gospel should use this invaluable resource.
3. Paul and His Recent Interpreters by N. T. Wright
Publisher: Fortress. Another tour de force from this prolific scholar. S. McKnight compares this volume to Schweitzer’s Quest of the Historical Jesus. M. Bird writes, “By evaluating the past of Pauline studies, Wright sets the agenda for its future.”
4. The NIV Zondervan Study Bible by D. A. Carson, gen. ed.
Like its predecessor, the NIV Study Bible, this is a very fine piece of scholarship and an indispensable study tool. It includes 28 additional articles on biblical-theological topics by the likes of Tim Keller and Kevin DeYoung.
5. The Trial and Crucifixion of Jesus by David Chapman and Eckhard Schnabel
Publisher: Mohr Siebeck. This is a compilation of relevant ancient source material on the passion narratives in the Gospels, with translation and commentary. S. Gathercole, in BBR, calls it “a magnificent achievement.”
6. Divine Honours for the Caesars by Bruce Winter
Publisher: Eerdmans. The volume examines the various responses by first-century Christians to Roman requirements to pay divine homage to the emperors. It contains very helpful primary evidence and explanation of the Graeco-Roman background for NT study.
7. Philippians by Joseph Hellerman
Series: Exegetical Greek Guide on the New Testament. Publisher: B&H Academic. L. Cohick writes about this volume, “Hellerman has done the seemingly impossible: presented detailed exegetical and grammatical material in wonderfully readable prose.”
8. The Hermeneutics of Divine Testing by Nicholas Ellis
Publisher: Mohr-Siebeck. Originally a doctoral dissertation under the supervision of M. Bockmuehl, this fine study explores ancient convictions and hermeneutics in Jewish and Christian literature on the question, Does God test His people?
9. 2 Corinthians by George Guthrie
Series: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. At over 650 pages, this commentary represents another valuable contribution to this very useful series that is slowly but steadily nearing completion.
10. The Last Years of Paul: Essays from the Tarragona Conference edited by John Barclay et al.
Publisher: Mohr-Siebeck. An international assembly of scholars tackles several complex issues, such as: Did Paul ever make it to Spain? The level of scholarship in this volume is truly amazing.
P.S.: In the interest of full disclosure, I was involved in editing some of the above volumes but decided not to hold that against the authors of these fine contributions. My own book published in 2015, of course, were ineligible for inclusion in the above list, including the just-published The First Days of Jesus.