About the Author
• How do the Old and New Testaments fit together? • What is the point of biblical theology? • What is the overall story of the Bible? • What difference does it make? Goldsworthy answers these questions with an integrated theology of both Old and New Testaments that avoids unnecessary technicalities. Concise, pithy chapters featuring dozens of charts, highlighted summaries, and study questions make According to Plan an enormously useful book for understanding how the Bible fits together as the unfolding story of God's plan for salvation.
I just finished reading According to Plan by Graeme Goldsworthy. This is the book I've been waiting for since my graduation from seminary. One of the more revolutionary topics which I was taught in seminary is called Biblical Theology also known as the study of Redemptive History. I still have fond memories of wading through Vos's classic on the subject, Biblical Theology. A study of Biblical Theology opened my eyes to the consistent covenantal work of redemption accomplished by God through history. It was like reading the Bible for the first time as I saw type and antitype, promise and fulfillment, redemption accomplished and applied.
The only difficulty is that Vos's Biblical Theology is thick reading. It is certainly not something you just toss at someone and say, "Enjoy!" There should be a warning on the inside cover that reads, "Read only under the supervision of someone trained in Theology." Thus my dilemma, I wanted those under my pastoral care to understand Biblical theology but I did not have a helpful, lay-level teaching tool.
That is why I am so grateful for Goldsworthy's work. I have heard for a few years now that Goldsworthy had taken up Vos's mantle, publishing a number of very helpful books written around the theme of the Kingdom of God, found together under the title Goldswothy Trilogy: (Gospel and Kingdom, Gospel and Wisdom, Gospel and Revelation). I just had yet to read any of them. This book, According to Plan, by Goldsworthy's own admission, is intended to be a primer for his other works.
Goldsworthy accomplishes two goals in this book. First, he presents an overview of the study of Biblical Theology with special emphasis on Scripture's central theme: the person and work of Jesus Christ. Second, he takes a tour de force through Scripture tracing the movement of God's covenant founded Kingdom from Creation through Abraham and David, culminating in Jesus Christ and the New Testament church.
You might think after considering the depth and breadth of these two goals that this book would read like a masters level dissertation. But therein lies the genius of this book: deep, solid theology packaged to be understood and digested easily by those without a seminary education. Each chapter is short enough to read in short stints. Not only are there summaries at the end of each chapter but there are also short summary sentences after each subpoint in each chapter. Goldsworthy adds numerous diagrams to help illustrate his points and spends the last two chapters giving examples of how one might do Biblical theology. Someone went to a great deal of trouble to make this book incredibly easy to read. That work does not go unrewarded given that Biblical Theology is such an important but often confusing topic.
Someone with previous theological education will find this book to be a great refresher course on the basics of redemptive history. But it does not just rehash Vos's Biblical Theology. Goldsworthy has done some excellent scholarly work in the area of Biblical Theology. Much of this new work comes into the book with a greater emphasis on covenant, kingdom, and especially Christ.
I especially appreciated Goldsworthy's overt focus on Jesus Christ as the culmination of history, the centerpiece of the Bible. The complexities of Biblical Theology can often lead the unsuspecting student away from the cross and into interesting but periphery rabbit trails. Goldsworthy masterfully calls the reader back to Christ again and again. I cannot recommend this book enough to pastors and laymen alike. It will serve the church and seminaries for years to come as the definitive primer for Biblical Theology.