Five Books I Am Looking Forward to Reading in 2012

Earlier this week I posted my ten favorite books for 2011. Here are five books that I have already started reading, or plan to read, that look promising for the coming year (in no particular order):

G. K. Beale, New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2011).
The reviews on this one make it out to be one of the most promising achievements in biblical theology and is already touted as Beale’s “magnum opus.” I really was impressed with his The Temple and the Church’s Mission (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2004) as well as his We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Academic, 2008) and I frequently reference his commentary on Revelation (NIGNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999) and the Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007). I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.

Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell, American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010).
It was on Al Mohler’s top ten list every pastor should read for 2011. Enough said. I had read, or at least heard of, all the others on that list. But I had never heard of this one.

Tom Holland, Romans: The Divine Marriage: A Biblical Theological Commentary (Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2011).
A follow up to Holland’s Contours of Pauline Theology (Mentor, 2004), which I enjoyed. Many reputable New Testament scholars offer fine endorsements. Since I am very interested in biblical theology, a commentary on Romans that is, according to Doug Moo, “truly both biblical and theological, as the letter is set firmly in its unfolding canonical context,” seems rather appealing.

John Owen, The Glory of Christ: His Office and Grace (Fearn, Ross-shire, Scotland: Christian Focus, 2004).
I very intentionally try to read “dead guys”. I came across Owen (1616–1683) for the first time this spring when I stumbled upon his The Death of Death in the Death of Christ. This volume is one of his later works, originally titled Meditations and Discourses on The Glory of Christ (published, I believe, in 1684 posthumously) and is an extended pastoral and theological reflection on John 17:24 : “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24 ESV). This is my first serious foray in the world of the Puritans in 2012.

John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion (McNeill-Battles ed.; Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1960).
I don’t believe I have truly read this all the way through, other than excerpts for college classes years ago. This is the year! I already started by reading the first 8 chapters of Book One in December. I am quite surprised that it is not the stuffy theology that some presuppose but is actually fueled by pastoral concern and is much more “devotional” than I remember from college. I have heard it said of Calvin that he became a theologian to be a better pastor. Immediately in the first several chapters I catch a glimpse that the theology has as its goal a deeper knowledge of God and his glory in Christ.

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