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Biblical Theology: A Canonical, Thematic, and Ethical Approach (Kostenberger & Goswell)

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Pastors, thoughtful Christians, and students of Scripture must learn how to carefully read and understand the Bible, but it can be difficult to know where to start. In this clear, logical guide, Andreas J. Kostenberger and Gregory Goswell explain how to interpret Scripture from three effective viewpoints: canonical, thematic, and ethical.

Biblical Theology is arranged book by book from the Old Testament (using the Hebrew order) through the New Testament. For each text, Kostenberger and Goswell analyze key biblical-theological themes, discussing the book’s place in the overall storyline of Scripture. Next, they focus on the ethical component, showing how God seeks to transform the lives of his people through the inspired text. Following this technique, readers will better understand the theology of each book and its author.


Andreas J. Köstenberger (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is the theologian in residence at Fellowship Raleigh, a cofounder of Biblical Foundations, and the author, editor, or translator of over sixty books. He and his wife, Marny, have four grown children and live in North Carolina.

Gregory Goswell (PhD, University of Sydney) is academic dean and lecturer in biblical studies (Old Testament) at Christ College, Sydney. He is the author of the EP Study Commentary Ezra–Nehemiah and coauthor of Unceasing Kindness: A Biblical Theology of Ruth and God’s Messiah in the Old Testament: Expectations of a Coming King.


"When Neil Armstrong finally landed on the moon and famously said, ‘That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,’ on July 20th, 1969, this was the culmination of years of planning, research, and hard work at NASA which silenced, at least for a while, all the naysayers who said such a monumental task could not be accomplished—ever. In many ways, creating a helpful and detailed biblical theology that encompasses every book of the Bible is frankly almost as monumental an achievement as the moon landing, not least because biblical studies has become a discipline that has splintered into many specialized enterprises. Furthermore, Biblical Theology by Köstenberger and Goswell manages to deal not just with the themes or the storylines of the sixty-six books of the Bible, but even with the ethics of each book too, recognizing that the theology and ethics of the Bible are inherently intertwined and interdependent. Whether or not one agrees in detail with the basically Reformed approach to the themes and narrative of the Bible that one finds in this volume, this book is a giant leap in the right direction to producing a coherent and comprehensive understanding of biblical theology.”
Ben Witherington III, Jean R. Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary; Emeritus Professor, St. Andrews University, Scotland

“More books on biblical theology are appearing of late, but this book is a pearl of great price that does not simply probe the central themes and ethics of individual books and authors—it tracks their place in the storyline of Scripture. I wish I’d had this book for my first classes when I began studying God’s word, but it also offers a wealth of insights for those already schooled in Scripture. It is brilliantly conceived and executed, and I recommend it highly for students at all levels, pastors, and researchers.”
David E. Garland, Professor of Christian Scriptures, George W. Truett Theological Seminary

“This work meets a genuine and crucial need to build biblical theology inductively from the constituent works of the canon. While listening to the individual voices, the authors masterfully demonstrate the coherence of the canonical symphony highlighting God’s love for the world in Christ. The authors’ competence in addressing and synthesizing such a broad range of material with sensitivity and effectiveness is remarkable!”
Craig S. Keener, F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary

“Biblical theology explores the interactions of the literary, historical, and theological dimensions of the various biblical books, focusing on the Bible’s unifying storyline. It is, by definition, interdisciplinary. Yet, two angles, intrinsic to the nature of the Bible itself, are sorely neglected in most studies of biblical theology: the significance of the order of the books in the Bible and the Bible’s moral teaching. Biblical Theology by Köstenberger and Goswell incorporates canonical and ethical approaches, resulting in a rich and rewarding exposition that is comprehensive in scope. The book is a magisterial study of immense value to students and scholars, preachers and pastors, and anyone interested in the Bible’s teaching about the will of God for his people and his world.”
Brian S. Rosner, Principal, Ridley College