If you’re in Greenville, don’t miss today’s book signing of Dr. Bell’s new book*! How many books in your library are exactly 500 pages?! You need this one!
The title of his new book tells you what it’s about: the messages (plural) Dr. Bell delivers are the theological ones found in the individual Old Testament books.
Each book gets its own chapter (except that Judges-Ruth and Obadiah-Joel-Zephaniah are placed together), and the basic approach is more or less consistent: let each book make its own contribution before attempting to put the whole Bible’s theology together. Bell uses section analyses, key words, key passages, and (especially) key themes to do this work.
Dr. Bell is in the running for funniest teacher I’ve ever had—though one other professor here is challenging him for most facial hair uncertainty. He’s smart, a legend at Bob Jones Seminary. One of the many things he taught me was that his thematic approach is probably a better way to preach a book like Jeremiah than a straight-through exposition (p. 299). His book shows why: Jeremiah isn’t organized in the sequential logic of Romans; its prophetic messages are not even in chronological order (p. 300).
Dr. Bell’s audience for this book appears to be the faithful pastor who still more or less uses his Hebrew but needs help preaching from the Old Testament. Two sample sermons are found in the appendices, one on a theological theme in a book and one offering a whole-book theology. Dr. Bell also includes a bibliography of OT book theologies and a list of OT themes.
Because he and I have argued good-naturedly in the past (over Bible software, over whether or not φιλέω’s failure to appear in the imperative mood in the NT means anything, over the best means to ensure student compliance with Turabian, and and over why he won’t let his students use their laptops to write out his famous short essays!), and because he has appeared on this blog being asked the hard questions before, I’m going to pose two-ish questions to him about his new book:
- Do “fundamentalist presuppositions for Old Testament theology” (p.10) differ from those of conservative evangelicals?
- You cite Dempster’s Dominion and Dynasty—why not a little more effort to distinguish your method of Biblical Theology from his, which appears to my limited eyes to be the approach du jour among conservatives right now? (I see the two methods as complementary—would that be right?)
Assuming that he is a faithful βλογάπη reader, we should hear back soon… (I failed to ask in advance, and I wanted to get this out before the book-signing!)
*I received this book for free from the Campus Store as a promotion. I was not required to write a positive review; all opinions expressed are my own. I make this disclosure to remain in accordance with FTC guidelines.