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God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology by [Hamilton Jr., James M.]
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God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Description

About the Author

James M. Hamilton Jr. (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is professor of biblical theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and preaching pastor at Kenwood Baptist Church. He is the author of God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment and the Revelation volume in the Preaching the Word commentary series.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2925 KB
  • Print Length: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (4 Nov. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
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  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #460,268 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Hardcover
Is there a singular purpose behind everything that God does in history? Did this same purpose also motivate the human authors of Scripture? Jim Hamilton would answer `yes' to these questions, and believes the purpose to be God's Glory in Salvation Through Judgment, hence the title of this book.

Here's Hamilton's thesis:

"God means to reveal himself in an astonishing display of his mercy and justice, with the justice highlighting the mercy." (Kindle Loc. 637-638)

Basically, Hamilton argues that God's glory is revealed in salvation being given in the context of judgment. In this book he pursues this thesis by examining the Biblical books in order, with a final chapter responding to criticisms of his thesis.

Approach & Content:
Taking a canonical approach, each larger Biblical section (Torah, Prophets, etc.) is introduced before addressing each book within the set, summarizing its message and showing how it fits in the canon. Next comes a summary of main concepts and themes, outlines of narrative structures, and a commentary through the broad sections of text.

This book particularly shines when examining the literary structure of each book. Hamilton sifts through contemporary scholarship and lets the reader reap the benefits, carefully tracing the flow of each book and drawing attention to connections throughout Scripture; many of which were profound and completely new to me. It is refreshing to see the whole Bible put together rather than pulled apart, as in much of scholarship today.

The many diagrams and tables are worth the price of the book alone.
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Format: Hardcover
This is quite a tome! However, it certainly pays to read from page to page if possible. Although Hamilton has written the book to support his thesis that the central theme running through the Bible is "the glory of God in salvation through judgement", a view I do not particularly agree with, nevertheless his insight into the unity of the Bible and Biblical theology is extremely illuminating. I was continually excited by the connections he made between Old and New Testament texts which I personally, had not seen before. The book is a very useful contribution to the library of reference material pastors and Bible students will turn to again and again
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 40 reviews
45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Center of Biblical Theology 22 Nov. 2010
By Brendan Knox - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Biblical Theology is an interesting discipline. It can often yield powerful insights into the text of Scripture and yet there are so many different approaches suggested by those who do the work of Biblical Theology. Often the particular book of the Bible or whole Bible is approached from different proposed meta-narratives. When a particular author's theology is approached there is usually a suggested main overarching theme that is suggested is the center of that author's theology. Ultimately, different centers are proposed and sometimes other important elements are left out. In the search for the "forest" it may easy to leave out some important "trees". James Hamilton's newest book "God's Glory in Salvation Through Judgment: A Biblical Theology" seeks to show that there really is a theological and thematic center for the entirety of the Bible. That proposed center is God's Glory manifested and furthered both through salvation and judgment.

This is a comprehensive book (640 pages) that covers every book of the Bible and seeks to show how this theme arises as the center of every book in the Bible. The first chapter serves as an introduction to Hamilton's methodology and includes an argument for having a center and the importance for better understanding the Bible. The next six chapters work through each book of the Bible canonically (he uses the Hebrew order for the OT) drawing out how God's glory in salvation through judgment is manifested in particular ways in each book of the Bible.

This book is different than many biblical theologies available. While many of these books examine each book of the Bible and draw out its major theological themes, Hamilton instead is searching for a theological center and therefore does not draw out all the other theological elements in each of the books. This does not mean he ignores those, as he does bring them out by necessity as he works through each of the books, but in general he seeks to bring out the major elements of God's glory, salvation, and judgment.

While this proposed center is more obvious in some books than in others, Hamilton shows how it arises naturally from books where one might think Hamilton's proposed center will fail. I am thinking of such books as Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Ruth, and Proverbs among others. It is in these areas where I believe Hamilton's book is extremely helpful. Hamilton shows how these books fit into the entire meta-narrative of the Bible and how they express God's glory in salvation through judgment in their own unique ways. The last two chapters respond to possible objections to Hamilton's proposed center and explain the relevance for life and ministry today.

Aside from arguing for the proposed center, Hamilton's book serves as a solid survey of the whole Bible as he works through all the major sections of each book explaining the significance of major events and teachings. The book also contains some 100 charts and outlines throughout the text showing major themes, cross-references, chiastic structures, and other important data for understanding the text of Scripture. Often tables and charts like these can be distracting but here they are quite helpful and do not feel unnecessary or gimmicky at all.

While Hamilton makes a good case for his proposed center, I don't necessarily think that all other proposed centers are therefore illegitimate. The themes that Hamilton draws out as the center are major biblical themes and do function as a major meta-narrative. But I am sure we could define the center in other ways as well. As a whole, Hamilton's center helps one to see the "forest" in incredible unity and helps to make sense of the biblical storyline. I highly recommend this work!

Thank you to Crossway for providing me with a review copy.
27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Resource 3 Jan. 2011
By Michael Leake - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Perhaps the fastest growing discipline in Christian study is that of biblical theology. There are numerous books, series, magazines, etc. that are rightly coming to understand the Bible as not just a book of facts but as a story. This is a welcome movement. But one thing that is often lacking in biblical theology is the belief that the Bible has a center, one single meta-narrative. Jim Hamilton hopes to change that. In this book Hamilton goes through every book of Scripture to prove his thesis: The center of the Bible is that God is glorified in Salvation through judgment.

Essentially what Hamilton is expressing is that the glory of God is the center of the biblical narrative. Of course that may be a tad broad so Hamilton narrows that to the glory of God is most clearly seen in his providing salvation through judgment.

I am actually shocked that this is "new" to the field of biblical theology. Maybe Hamilton just did such a good job proving his case. Perhaps the glory of God has just been assumed by many other authors on biblical theology and they have taken up other topics. But Hamilton's work will be prove to be foundational in this field.

It also will serve as a helpful biblical introduction. I love that the reader is given a strategy for reading this book. Hamilton is correct, many "long books sit unread in sad neglect". Therefore, he suggests that many
should simply browse through the book, get a feel for the overall tenor of the book and then dip into sections as you work through sections of Scripture. It is extremely wise of Hamilton to set up this massive book in such a way that it is more of a resource than anything else.

This book is an extremely helpful resource. It will be one that I frequently consult as I preach through books of the Bible. Every pastor and serious student of Scripture should buy this book. Even if at the end of the day you disagree with Hamilton on something, this is an important enough work that you will need to interact with him to prove your own points.

As a book to sit down and read cover to cover I would rate it a 4 star. But as a book that is used as a resource (and I believe it is) I would rate this as a 5 star book. The only thing that would make this more helpful would be to tag the analytical outline with some page numbers. This is a great book and worthy of your purchase.

Crossway was kind enough to give me a free copy in exchange for a review. It did not have to be a positive review but I freely give it 5 stars.
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hamilton nails the theological center of the Bible! 23 Mar. 2011
By Craig P. Hurst - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
With God's Glory in Salvation Through Judgment, James Hamilton Jr. makes a significant contribution to the growing number of books seeking to tackle the daunting task of canonical biblical theology. Hamilton sees biblical theology as concerning itself "with what the Bible meant for the purpose of understanding what the Bible means (p. 45)." Thus, the purpose of biblical theology
is to sharpen our understanding of the theology contained in the Bible itself through an inductive, salvation-historical examination of the Bible's themes and the relationships between those themes in their canonical context and literary form (p. 47).

From this purpose we see Hamilton's binocular-like view for doing biblical theology. The first lens looks at the canon itself. "I will interpret the Protestant canon, and the Old Testament will be interpreted in light of the ordering of the books in the Hebrew Bible (p. 44)." This falls in line with how biblical theology has traditionally been done. After all, the word "biblical" in this context implies that one is dealing with the whole cannon. The second lens in Hamilton's binocular view is literary. Of the two features of Hamilton's approach, this seems to be the most unique. Hamilton explains, "I will seek to interpret books and sections of books in light of their inherent literary features and structures as we have them in the canon (p. 44)." This literary emphasis is clearly seen throughout the entire book and on almost every page. Hamilton proves himself page after page at being very adept at picking out the inherent literary features of the text both within verses, chapters, individual books, groups of books (i.e. Pentateuch) and both testaments together.

Hamilton believes that the Bible has a center and that if we listen to Scripture we will hear it tell us what that center is. Hamilton further believes that the Bible has a center because "the Bible has a coherent story" and therefore "it is valid to explore what that story's main point is (p. 39)." As the title of the book indicates, Hamilton believes the Bible communicates to us that its central theological message is the "glory of God in salvation through judgment (p. 41)." This central message "is the ultimate reason the Bible gives to explain what God has done (p. 48)." Throughout the book (and all 66 books of the Bible for that matter) Hamilton shows how this central idea is repeated over and over again as it is woven into the very fabric of the canon, each book and the thought of each biblical author.

Though Hamilton unashamedly puts forth what he believes to be the center of biblical theology, he is not blind or ignorant of the fact that others have previously put forth other proposed centers. In light of this, Hamilton seeks to show the willing listener and ardent skeptic to the proposition of a definite theological center, how he and/or how one arrives at this theological center of the Bible. Hamilton states,

"The center of biblical theology will be the theme that is prevalent, even pervasive, in all parts of the Bible. This theme will be the most demonstrable centerpiece of theology contained in the Bible itself, because this theme will be what the biblical authors resort to when they give ultimate explanations for why things are they way they are at any point in the Bible's story (p. 49)."

For Hamilton, the overarching story or metanarrative of Scripture is the four-fold sequence of creation, fall, redemption and restoration. He sees this sequence not merely as an overarching grid to understand the big story of Scripture but as something that "is repeated again and again in the Bible" (p. 49)." For example, he sees this in the life of Israel as God creates them as a nation, the nation falls at Mt. Sinai, "they are redeemed by God's mercy, and, in a sense, is restored through the second set of stone tablets (p. 49)." This pattern is repeated so much throughout the Bible that it leads Hamilton to conclude that "within the grand drama that goes from creation to consummation there are many such "plays within the play (p. 49)."

After having briefly surveyed many proposed centers of biblical theology (p. 53-56), Hamilton explains what the phrase "God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment" means. First, the display of God's glory is the ultimate message and purpose of Scripture and thus biblical theology. God's glory is

"the weight of the majestic goodness of who God is, and the resulting name, or reputation, that he gains from his revelation of himself as Creator, Sustainer, Judge, and Redeemer, perfect in justice and mercy, loving-kindness and truth (p. 56)."

Secondly and thirdly, God responds to the fallen state of mankind in salvation through judgment. These two themes or acts are to be viewed together and as working in tandem with each other. "Salvation always comes through judgment" and "everyone who gets saved is saved through judgment (p. 57-58)." The two are inseparable acts of God and reveal inseparable aspects of God - God is both a Savior and Judge of man and sin.

It is not realistic to do a book by book overview of how Hamilton brings to surface his proposed biblical center. It is possible to summarize the canonical structure that Hamilton moves through in his quest to prove his proposed biblical center.

In dealing with the Old Testament, Hamilton follows the lead of Stephen Dempster and addresses the books as laid out in the Tanak. Thus he follows the three-fold outline of the Law, the Prophets and the Writings (see also Luke 24:44). This method walks the reader through the historical narrative first as seen in the Torah and the Former Prophets which covers Genesis to Kings. Next, we examine the commentary on that story line in the Latter Prophets as covered from Isaiah through Malachi. This commentary continues through part of the Writings from Psalms to Ecclesiastes. Finally, picking up with Esther and ending with Chronicles, the narrative story line continues (see Table 1.3 on pg. 61).

The New Testament is approached in similar fashion again following after Dempster. The Gospels through Acts provide the introductory narrative material. The narrative is followed by commentary on the Letters (Romans through 3 John). Finally, the narrative is picked back up in Revelation.

From chapters 2-7 the major sections of the canon are addressed and the biblical center of God's glory in salvation through judgment is brought to light page by page. There is an introduction to each major section with a one-sentence summary of each book in that section. Then each book of the Bible is worked through with concluding summary. The book is structured such that one can read through it in its entirety as you would any other book. It is also written and constructed in such a way that as you read through a different book of the Bible on your own, you can read the relevant section on that book of the Bible and not feel like you are jumping in the middle of a story or argument that you have no context for. These two approaches are the intended strategies of reading this book (p. 29-30).

Throughout the book Hamilton repeatedly uses the phrase God's glory in salvation through judgment. This is probably unavoidable, but nonetheless becomes tiresome at times. The reader may find it a struggle to track with the argument when it comes to the Minor Prophets as the discussion is scant compared to the rest of the books. While the reader will appreciate the many literary nuances Hamilton brings to light, there are times when one wonders if things are being stretched just to make them fit. Thankfully, there are a number of these instances when the author recognizes the possible stretch. I felt the discussion from Genesis to Acts and on Revelation to be the most fruitful and engaging. I found it to be less so from Romans to 3 John though Hamilton does stay on course throughout the entire book.

I highly recommend this book as a good way to work through the Bible in order to grasp the overall story line. It will also aid the reader in gaining a better understanding of the purpose for each book in the canon. Hamilton not only seeks to prove his proposed biblical center but he also weaves many sub themes throughout the book like creation, rest, the garden, the seed of Satan and of God/Christ, the temple and how Christ ultimately fulfills and brings to close in the NT, now and in the future what was promised and anticipated in the OT. This is a great whole Bible tool and book study reading companion from the Bible college student to the seasoned pastor and teacher. I would suggest that a new believer read through the Bible on their own first and then use this volume as a companion the next time through.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Recommend (With Some Caveats) 6 Sept. 2014
By Shane Lems - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment" by James Hamilton is a 550+ page discussion of Hamilton’s thesis, namely, that the main theme of the Bible is “God’s glory in salvation through judgment.” Hamilton says that this is *the* center of both the Old and New Testaments.

The structure of the book is pretty straightforward. After an introduction that talks about a “center” of biblical theology and Hamilton’s thesis, the rest of the book is a walk through the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation and every book in between, Hamilton attempts to prove his thesis – that each book of the Bible is about God’s glory in salvation through judgment. To summarize it in a most basic way, Hamilton simply discusses every text in every Bible book that proves his point.

"God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment" is a very detailed and dense book. It doesn’t really read like a story; rather, it reads like an intricate defense of a thesis. (This is not necessarily a critique, just an observation). I was hoping to read it straight through, but I have to admit I got bogged down around Leviticus and Deuteronomy because there were so many details that I became overwhelmed. I then began to read sections of it that interested me (including a few books of the Bible that I’m currently studying in depth). Hamilton has done his homework – there are scores of proof texts on almost every page (which is good to see but makes for cumbersome reading).

So what do I think of the book? Well, as I already mentioned, it’s not an easy read because of the density. Also, I have to admit that I’m not 100% convinced that “God’s glory in salvation through judgment” is the main message or center of the Bible. I do believe it is one of the big themes, but I’m not ready to say it is the theme (for example, it doesn’t hold true before Adam’s sin [pre-fall]). However, the book is still helpful in tracing this theme throughout the Bible in great detail.

Another thing that struck me was that other major themes in the Bible were downplayed at the expense of Hamilton’s thesis. For one glaring example, Hamilton didn’t really deal too much with the covenants in the Bible. He did mention them, of course, but not in much detail or in a way that really affected his theme/thesis. And unfortunately Hamilton only spent 3 pages discussing the book of Hebrews. Another theme I was hoping Hamilton would discuss was revelation – but there was almost nothing on how/when God reveals himself or the progressive aspect of revelation. I suppose anytime someone traces a theme through the Bible there’s a good possibility of missing or downplaying other themes. It’s impossible to do it all in one book, to be sure.

Finally, while Hamilton’s thesis and his walk-through of the Bible is a helpful addition in the area of biblical theology, I noticed that some of the content of the book builds on other work (i.e. Greg Beale, N.T. Wright, and Thomas Schreiner, among others). And some of the summaries of Bible books are similar to those in evangelical commentaries and Bible summaries, so I saw overlap there as well (for example, I read Hamilton’s summary of 1 Samuel, which didn’t really tell me anything that my commentaries had not already told me).

"God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment" is a helpful resource that discusses a major Bible theme in a biblical-theological way. It is level-headed, well argued, biblical (of course!) and very comprehensive. Even though I’m not 100% in agreement with everything Hamilton says, his argument is stimulating and it gets the reader into the text and story of Scripture – for this I am thankful!

If you’ve read other biblical theologies (i.e. Vos, Beale, Goldsworthy, etc.) this book might simply be a review of biblical theology from a different angle. Also, if you have a lot of newer evangelical commentaries and resources on various books of the Bible, the material will overlap them to some extent. But if you’re not familiar with biblical theology and you want an extremely detailed defense of Hamilton’s thesis (that the center of the Bible is ‘God’s glory in salvation through judgment’), then you’ll for sure want to get this one.

By the way, for a condensed summary of Hamilton’s thesis, you might want to check out his similarly titled essay in Tyndale Bulletin 57 (2006): 57-84. For those of you who are already well-read in Biblical theology, you may want to read the essay before getting the book.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is there a Central Theme to the Bible? 17 Jan. 2011
By William D. Curnutt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Biblical Theology is often viewed as a difficult discipline to master, but Christians should not shy away from the study of Theology. Our task as Christians is to honor and glorify God and delight in Him. We do this by knowing God and making Him known.

Biblical Theology is easily defined as getting to "know" God. It's not just "knowing" about Him, but it is imperative that we "know" Him in a personal relational way.

James Hamilton, Jr. wants all of us to be able to study the Bible as a whole unit, not just 66 individual books with 66 individual central topics. He believes that there is a "central" theme to the Bible and one that we should keep in mind as we read through the Bible in a year, or study individual books and chapters of books.

Hamilton is aware that many may disagree with his premise, so early in the book he declares, "Anticipating the charge that it might be too broad to be useful, I am sharpening the proposal to focus specifically on the glory of God manifested in salvation through judgment." He then asks the question, "Can the center hold?"

His book will seek to answer the question that yes, the center can hold. He will also seek to show how the theme of God being manifested in salvation through judgment is part of each of the 66 books of the Bible. As such after a brief introduction to his topic he delves into examining each book of the Bible to show how it fits into the central theme that he is working from.

I believe that you will find that his work is thoughtful and well documented. You will be drawn to see the case that he is making and be challenged to adopt or refine his thesis. He does not shy away from sharing how other Theologians would differ with him in his thoughts. That is comforting because it shows that he is not trying to just dismiss others views to push his own.

As a Missions Pastor I teach part of the Perspectives Course every year regarding "Missions" and the major theme of the Bible being, God's Story of making His name known among the nations.

Each of us has our leanings towards how we see Scripture fitting together as a whole. I was very encouraged by Hamilton's book to meditate on his structure and theme and see how that complimented or helped to further explain the Theme of the Bible that I have taught for years.

The work is well written and will be easy for the average laymen to understand as well as provide good material for serious Bible students to contemplate as they work through understanding the whole Theme of God's Word.

Particularly helpful is Hamilton's Analytical Outline at the beginning of the book. It will help you quickly catch the structure of his thesis as well as find a section that you might be particularly interested in.

At 640 pages this is not a quick read, but it is a very interesting one.

I want to thank Angie at Crossway Books for making this review copy available to me, it was a wonderful gift.

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