Item description for The Witness of Jesus, Paul and John: An Exploration in Biblical Theology by Larry R. Helyer...
Overview Larry Helyer explores the nature of biblical theology and the question of the unity of the Bible and then examines closely Jesus, Paul and John as the primary witnesses to the climax of the biblical message. In these three principal New Testament witnesses, Helyer finds a unity of message.
Publishers Description In this practical textbook Larry Helyer introduces you to the goals and practice of biblical theology and the problem of the unity of the Bible. He then explains two evangelical approaches to biblical theology--dispensational and covenant theology. In the heart of the book Helyer turns to three major witnesses of the New Testament: Jesus, Paul and John. In these three witnesses he finds the climax of the biblical message and the key to unlocking the message of the Bible. Here is a book that introduces students to the big questions in evangelical biblical theology and then takes them into the heart of the New Testament. Students will gain an appreciation for biblical and New Testament theology, and how the New Testament unlocks the central message of Scripture. This clearly written survey will equip students for a lifetime of studying Scripture.
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Studio: IVP Academic
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1.25" Width: 6.25" Height: 9" Weight: 1.7 lbs.
Release Date Nov 1, 2008
Publisher IVP Academic
ISBN 0830828885 ISBN13 9780830828883
Availability 0 units.
More About Larry R. Helyer
Dr. Larry R. Helyer: Larry is Professor of Biblical Studies at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. He received his doctorate in New Testament from Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California. He pastored Baptist churches in Portland, Oregon, and Sun Valley, California, before moving to the Midwest and teaching biblical studies at Taylor University for 28 years. He has taught a wide range of Bible courses covering both the Old and New Testaments and Jewish literature of the Second Temple. Larry has traveled extensively in the land of the Bible and lived in Israel for a year during his student days at Jerusalem University College. Larry is author of two books, "Yesterday, Today, and Forever: The Continuing Relevance of the Old Testament" and "Exploring Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period: A Guide for New Testament Students." Larry has authored numerous journal and dictionary articles on biblical and theological subjects and has just finished a book on New Testament theology. He was the initial translator of 2 Samuel for the "Holman Christian Standard Bible."
Richard Wagner: Rich is author of "The Expeditionary Man, The Myth of Happiness, The Gospel Unplugged, " and several "For Dummies" books, including "C. S. Lewis & Narnia For Dummies, Christianity For Dummies, " and "Christian Prayer For Dummies." He has been a guest on Christian radio programs across the country discussing Christian discipleship issues as well as C.S. Lewis. Richard has served in church leadership and teaching roles for more than a dozen years. Rich graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from Taylor University and pursued graduate studies at The American University in Washington, DC. Rich lives in New England with his wife and three sons. You can find him online at richwagnerwords.com.
Larry R. Helyer has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about The Witness of Jesus, Paul and John: An Exploration in Biblical Theology?
Great book on a Biblical Theology of the NT Aug 6, 2009
My thanks go out to IVP Academic for supplying me with a review copy of this book. When I received The Witness of Jesus, Paul and John: An Exploration in Biblical Theology by Larry Helyer, I noticed the book looked like a college or seminary text book. After reading it, I feel like I have earned some college credits!
The book is eminently suited for a text book, because it is really a course on a Biblical Theology of the New Testament. Helyer opens the book with a question that looms large in New Testament studies today: Is the New Testament unified in its message? It is common for liberal or modern NT scholars to claim Paul's theology is opposed to Christ's, and John's concerns were opposed to Matthew's. In response to this problem, Larry Helyer sets out to trace the theology of Jesus, Paul and John as found in the New Testament. Then he compares each of their emphases and puts the question to rest, in my opinion. There are different emphases but the basic message of these three primary movers in the NT remains largely the same.
Along the way, Helyer explains exactly what Biblical Theology (BT) is, and he describes the problem of the overall unity of the Bible by tracing a history of theology from the time of the Apostles to today. He then moves on to discuss the two basic evangelical systems of BT, Covenant Theology (CT) and Dispensationalism. His chapter defining BT helpfully discusses how the canon shapes our BT, and provides a helpful method for doing BT. His historical sketch of how the Christian church has dealt with the unity of the Bible opened my eyes to some of the big players in Biblical scholarship of the last couple hundred years. He explained the influence of Bultman, Von Rad, Robinson and others, with particular stress on the development of BT. In his discussion of CT and dispensationalism, I was helped by his comparison of the growth and development within CT with the rise of progressive dispensationalism. He doesn't come and spell out his overall conviction in the matter, but takes care to follow the clear theological teaching of Scripture. From what I can tell he ends up more in line with the progressive dispensational or revised CT perspective.
The bulk of the book is his examination of the theology of Jesus (as seen in the Synoptic Gospels), Paul and John. This examination is strengthened by Helyer's familiarity with 2nd temple Judaism and the similarities and differences such Jewish thought has with the New Testament. Helyer also explains the theological development of various key terms as he goes along. He is abreast of the points of controversy, and he navigates them with care.
In his section on the Gospels, I found his discussion of the Kingdom extremely helpful, especially with regard to working out how the Testaments are unified. He compares the different phrases "kingdom of God", "kingdom of Heaven", etc. and convincingly demonstrates they are synonymous. The kingdom is explained in terms of inaugurated eschatology, and Jesus' use of the kingdom is shown as both similar and different from the Judaism of his day.
Helyer's discussion of Paul begins by explaining that we only have insights into Pauline theology extracted from his overall thought. Paul's letters are occasional documents, addressed to a specific church in a specific situation. After discussing the question of a center of Pauline theology, he handles the matter of justification and the new Pauline perspective quite well. He is careful to appreciate the new insights into Pauline thought, yet with his familiarity with 2nd temple Judaism he explains why he thinks the NPP goes to far in overturning Reformation thought. His discussion of Paul's view of the Law was masterful, even though he took just a couple short pages to survey Paul's view of the relationship of the believer and the law of Moses. He explains that while Jews are "under the law", the Christian is "not under law". The law has run its course in redemptive history. The Spirit, now, is the "moral governor of the Christian life". "For Paul, the new covenant operates under a new law, the law of Christ, the law of love, which, while embodying underlying moral principles of the old Mosaic legislation, should not be strictly identified with it." (pg. 266-268).
In detailing John's portrayal of Christ's person and work, Helyer takes pains to explain John is countering a proto-Gnostic error. There is a polemical thrust behind John's presentation of Christ. On the question of John's use of the term "Logos", Helyer explains that the term has as much of an OT and 2nd temple Judaistic background as it has roots in Greek thought. In examining John's writings, the emphasis on eschatology goes up a notch, of course. Yet an already, but not yet view of the kingdom is still inherent in John's thought. Helyer's treatment of Revelation was excellent. I especially liked his chiastic outline of the book (from pg. 353):
A. The Inaugural Vision: The Risen and Reigning Christ (ch. 1) B. Messages to the Seven Churches: The Church Militant (chs. 2-3): What is the present prospect and promise for the church? C. Vision of the Throne Room (chs. 4-5): Who is in charge? D. Visions of the War for the Throne (chs. 6-16): The Wrath of the Lamb 1. Seven Seals 2. Seven Trumpets 3. Seven Bowls C'. Vision of Babylon the Great (chs. 17-18): Who will lose charge? B'. Vision of the King and His Kingdom: The Church Triumphant (chs. 19-21): What is the future prospect and fulfillment for the church? A'. The Final Vision: The Returning and Rewarding Christ (ch. 22)
His discussion of Rev. 20, also almost pushed me back into historic premillennialism. His exegetical treatment was clear and forceful. It forces me to go back and study that passage again in more depth.
At the end of the book, Helyer ties up the various strands of theology that Jesus (the Synoptics), John and Paul have been developing. Within the overarching and unifying theme of the Kingdom, Helyer finds a great degree of unity in this NT witness. Helyer is right to conclude by the end of his book that "enough... has been said to counteract the lopsided insistence that diversity and contradiction drown out any meaningful sense of unity and harmony."
After sitting through Helyer's "class", I have a greater understanding of NT theology, and biblical theology in general. If you pick up the book, you will be glad you entered his course as well.