Best Books in 2018
Of making “Top 10” lists at the end of the year, there is (almost) no end. This one is different, though, because it focuses specifically on books in biblical studies. The books are listed below in no particular order. A disclaimer: the listing of a book doesn’t necessarily imply that I agree with all of its contents! In addition, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that my wife Margaret and I published a book on Christian parenting this year, Equipping for Life: A Guide for New, Aspiring & Struggling Parents (Christian Focus). Tolle, lege!
1. Brent Nongbri, God’s Library: The Archaeology of the Earliest Christian Manuscripts (Yale University Press).
“Nongbri offers an engaging account of early Christian manuscripts and their modern discoverers, interpreters, and publicists. His lucid narrative offers useful guidance about what can and cannot be known about these important relics.” (Harold W. Attridge)
2. Peter J. Williams, Can We Trust the Gospels? (Crossway).
“Williams has distilled a mass of information and thought into this short and accessible book, and it deserves careful reading both inside and outside the church.” (Simon Gathercole)
3. Eckhard J. Schnabel, Jesus, Paul, and the Early Church (Mohr Siebeck).
The volume contains seventeen essays written by this first-rate scholar over the period of the past twenty-five years. Topics include Jesus, Paul, John, the early church, mission, and various lexical, ethical, and ecclesiological questions.
4. Craig L. Blomberg, A New Testament Theology (Baylor University Press).
“Blomberg fully engages the abundant evangelical scholarship that has emerged over the past generation, alongside other scholarship, in remarkably readable language.” (Craig S. Keener)
5. Owen Strachan, Always in God’s Hands: Day by Day in the Company of Jonathan Edwards (Tyndale House).
“This new devotional by Owen Strachan is a welcome introduction to Edwards’s piety and theological insights. Strachan gives us the best of Edwards’s theologically rich, warmhearted worship of the Savior he loved.” (R. Albert Mohler Jr.)
6. Robert W. Yarbrough, The Letters to Timothy and Titus (PNTC; Eerdmans).
In this excellent new commentary on the letters to Timothy and Titus, Yarbrough affirms Pauline authorship, stays close to the text, and focuses especially on God, salvation, and the pastoral task.
7. David Wenham, From Good News to Gospels: What Did the First Christians Say about Jesus? (Eerdmans).
“The argument of David Wenham’s excellent book [is] very important. The underlying oral tradition provides the solid bedrock on which the canonical gospels depend, and by its very nature substantiates their trustworthiness.” (Donald A. Hagner)
8. Donald A. Hagner, How New Is the New Testament? (Baker).
“In his survey of the New Testament, Hagner demonstrates why … continuity and discontinuity are paradoxically intertwined. Hagner’s book should be compulsory reading for anyone who persists in supposing that the Old Testament is irrelevant for Christian faith.” (Morna D. Hooker)
9. Keith D. Stanglin, The Letter and Spirit of Biblical Interpretation: From the Early Church to Modern Practice (Baker).
“This book provides a compelling overview of how the tradition has been aware of the necessity of more than (but not less than) literal reading of the Bible. It offers insight into what was at stake in the decades just prior to the rise of the critical methods applied to the Bible, and it speaks up for the unfashionable vocation of the exegete-theologian.” (Mark W. Elliott)
10. Craig A. Carter, Interpreting Scripture with the Great Tradition: Recovering the Genius of Premodern Exegesis (Baker).
“The rediscovery and celebration of patristic exegesis continues apace and across a wide ecumenical spectrum. Craig Carter offers here a robust, readable, and bracing defense of a fundamental truth: patristic exegesis offers not only a ‘method’ for reading but a theology of Scripture.” (Lewis Ayres)