This excellent work seeks to illuminate the key themes of biblical theology. Biblical theology seeks to understand the parts of the Bible in relation to the whole canon of Scripture. (As opposed to systematic theology, which seeks to develop large categories in which to fit the biblical data; while both are helpful, biblical theology is essential to systematic theology.) This dictionary seeks to illustrate this connectedness in three ways (sections). The first section offers various articles ranging in topic from the history of biblical theology to the actual �doing� of biblical theology. The second section provides a look at a biblical theology of the biblical corpora and books (i.e. Genesis to Kings, Wisdom books, Prophetic books, Synoptic Gospels, Luke-Acts, the Johannine writings, Paul, and articles on individual books). The third section, which I found particularly helpful, is a collection of essays on the certain biblical themes.
A good example of the kind of work taking place in this third section comes in the article on the nation of Israel (pp. 581 � 586). Here the author shows, among other things, how the New Testament presents Jesus as the True Israel. The following are some of the arguments from the article: Jesus replaces Israel as God's Son (Hos 11:1; Matt 2:14-15). Jesus replaces Israel as the �true vine� (John 15:1 � see Ps 80:9-16; Isa 5:1-7; 27:2ff; Jer 2:21; 12:l0ff; Ezek 15:1-8; 17:1-21; 19:10-14; Hos 10:1-2). Jesus succeeded as the true Servant of God where Israel failed. Jesus reenacts Israel�s history: the exodus from Egypt (Matt 2:19-20), the crossing of the Red Sea (Matt 3:13-17), the temptations in the wilderness (Matt 4:1-11), and the arrival at Mt. Sinai to receive the law (Matt 5:1-2), and He receives the expected out-pouring of God�s Spirit (Matt 3:16; cf. Isa 44:2-3; Ezek 36:25-27), showing that Jesus is truly the Son with whom God is pleased (Matt 3:16). John also uses the great images for Israel in the Old Testament for Jesus and His disciples (the good shepherd and the flock in 10:11-16 and vine and the branches in 15:1-5). Through Christ the covenant is fulfilled and those who become a part of the people of God do so through Him, thus they too are part of the fulfilled covenant. The true people of God (Israel) is seen in the Church (both Jews and Gentiles � Gal 3:6-9, 6:16; Rom 2:28-29), though God has yet to finish His work with ethnic Israel as well (Romans 9-11). Jesus replaces Israel as Abraham's seed (Gal 3:16). To be a part of the people of God, you must be a child of Abraham (Gal 3:29).
This work is a dictionary, and as with most works of this type, it has many contributors. However, I believe this is one of the key strengths of a work like this. The editors (all �heavy-hitting� scholars in their own right) have selected scholars to write in the areas in which they have already done extensive work. This gives the reader access to what some of the greatest evangelical theologians are saying on a wide range of topics.
For serious Bible students, this work is an essential buy. One would be hard pressed to find any other single volume work which deals with such a wide range of biblical themes in such an excellent way.