A summer of theological reading

What books have Oak Hill’s faculty found helpful or stimulating recently? Dip into our summer theological reading list.

Echoes of Exodus
Bryan Estelle

This is an exciting work of biblical theology, clearly written and yet at a fairly advanced level. In addition to some close text work and tracing of the exodus theme across the canon, it offers a mix of hermeneutical reflection on issues such as typology and intertextuality. It will leave you marvelling more at God as Creator and Consummator, and loving Jesus more as your Redeemer. Brad Bitner

Thinking Through Creation
Christopher Watkin

A brilliant – and I mean brilliant! – introduction to Christian social theory using Genesis 1 as a foundation for the deep patterns which enable us not to simply look at the Bible, but look through the Bible to interpret our world. Highly recommended. Dan Strange

The Gospel of John
Frederick Dale Bruner

Bruner deserves to be better known than he is. He has an excellent two-volume commentary on Matthew, and this commentary on John is brimming with insight. For every passage there are sample readings drawn from across church history, which makes this a wonderfully informed and informative work. If you’ve got Carson, buy this next. David Shaw

Christian Dogmatics
Michael Allen and Scott R Swain

Each essay in this collection covers a significant topic in systematic theology, and presents it from a firmly Reformed perspective in charitable conversation with traditions across the universal church. As well as functioning as a helpful introduction to important issues in major Bible doctrines, the book demonstrates the importance of doing unapologetic dogmatics and allowing the ‘church catholic’ to provide context and shape for ‘Reformed theology’. Chris Stead

Hermeneutic of Wisdom
J de Waal Dryden

A way into understanding how to grow in wisdom, and how to read scripture to that end. Mike Ovey would have liked this. Enough said. Kirsten Birkett

Glittering Vices
Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung

This book on ‘the seven deadly sins and their remedies’ is about vices, but it’s also about virtues, and how a tradition of being formed by Christian virtues has run through church history. It introduced me to, and shook the dust off, a way of thinking and being that modern everyday life had hidden, or reduced to caricature. Also, it helped me think through my own discipleship, and how I’m discipling others, at home, college and church. As a bonus, it’s very readable, and well illustrated within modern culture. I’ll look to use it as a book-reading club text in months to come. Matthew Sleeman

The Spiritual Life
Campegius Vitringa

Vitringa was a 17th century Dutch minister and scholar. Towards the end of his career, he gathered his thoughts about the biblical basis for (and healthy habits related to) spiritual growth in the Christian life. It’s only recently been translated into English for the first time. This is a wonderful blend of Bible, doctrine and practical advice for following Jesus faithfully and for enjoying the riches of spiritual life given to us by the Triune God. Brad Bitner

Awaiting the King
James KA Smith

This is Smith’s best book of the cultural liturgies project, largely because he’s been reading lots of Augustine and Oliver O’Donovan. Stimulating, provocative and (for me) convincing. Dan Strange (For engagement with other aspects of Smith’s work, see Matthew Bingham’s session 'Humanity in Ministry' at the 2019 Oak Hill School of Theology.)

Justification
Michael Scott Horton

This is fantastic. First, an overview of the history of the doctrine of justification, with particular focus on medieval and Reformation discussions, followed by Horton’s own constructive case for the Reformed, covenantal doctrine. He takes on all the current debates and issues, weaves it into a larger web of theology to show how all God’s truth is unified, and above all leaves you in no doubt about the bottom line: justification is about Jesus, and his life, death and resurrection, in whom we participate by faith and from whom we get all the treasures of life. Chris Stead

Lost in the Middle
Paul David Tripp

If we, made in the image of God, grow and mature, then we might well need help along the way. How can I have a good and Christian midlife crisis, or perhaps dissipate the need to have one at all? This book, in the vein of biblical counselling, is very helpful, scriptural and grounded in that regard. I’ve appreciated it for my own self-help, my college teaching, and for teaching students (who are often younger than midlife) what to look out for and minister to others. It’s a book I’d gladly take into local church ministry, for its wisdom and guidance. Matthew Sleeman

The Ten Commandments
Kevin DeYoung

DeYoung directs us back to the centrality of God’s holy law expressed in the Ten Commandments. This is a clearly written account with practical applications. It will stir fruitful thinking and discussion and increase your love for God, his law and his gospel. Brad Bitner

Revelation
Ian Paul

The Tyndale New Testament Commentary series went through a round of updating in the 1980s, and is going through another now, with lots of great recent additions, including 1 Corinthians by Thomas Schreiner, and Mark by Eckhard Schnabel. This is another: Ian’s worked on Revelation for decades and does a wonderful job of distilling that into 370 accessible and thoughtful pages. The book will serve pastors very well and deserves a place on their shelves alongside one of Greg Beale’s Revelation commentaries and Richard Bauckham’s Theology of the Book of Revelation. David Shaw

Self, World, and Time, Finding and Seeking, Entering into Rest
Oliver O’Donovan

Oliver O’Donovan’s thought has developed and become (even) more profound since his book, Resurrection and Moral Order. I recommend this trilogy of books with the overall title, Ethics as Theology. At least read the first volume. Kirsten Birkett

The Lord is Good
Christopher RJ Holmes

The task of this book on the Psalter is to reflect on the goodness of God. It goes about its work in some unfamiliar ways – with lots of Aquinas, and some deep exegesis of single verses – but it is a gloriously rich reflection on the goodness of God, and how classical categories of being can help bring out the full implications of the biblical text. Holmes wants his reader to discover what he has found to be true: that the goodness of God is to be studied, contemplated, and tasted, and that meditating on the psalms with this in mind is good for the soul. Chris Stead

Download a PDF of this reading list

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