Review: Michael Bird’s The Gospel of the Lord

I’m fairly certain that Michael Bird publishes more books per year than the average person reads. But it’s not just the quantity of his output that’s impressive—the depth and quality across a wide range of topics (e.g. 1 Esdras, Pauline studies, historical Jesus, Christology, systematic theology, etc.) is just as notable. And sprinkled throughout his excellent scholarship is always a generous dash of humor. Bird’s latest The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus is “concerned primarily with the questions of how the Gospels came to be, what kinds of literature they are, and how they relate to Christian discourse about God” (viii). Hence it’s not a gospels survey, as it doesn’t deal with issues typically found in books on the gospels such as provenance, content overview, and life of Christ. “Primarily this volume is focused on the origins and development of the books we call ‘Gospels’ in the context of the early church” (ix).


After some introductory remarks, the first issue The Gospel of the Lord tackles is the purpose and preservation of the Jesus tradition. Some of the questions addressed are: “Why did Jesus’s followers attempt to keep his teachings alive, tell stories about him, and narrate the story of his death and resurrection? In addition, did they transmit these stories and traditions in a way that faithfully communicated what actually happened?” (22).

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Review: James D. Bratt’s Abraham Kuyper

“Son Herman struck the tonic note of Reformed piety in bringing the ceremony to a close: ‘We his children know that he was redeemed as a poor sinner who by faith had found peace in Christ’” (374).

That eulogy by Kuyper’s son Herman struck me as summing up the life of Kuyper and the way in which Bratt successfully conveyed his life. There’s a complexity to Kuyper’s life in the way he was raised in a religious home, pursued liberalism for his young adult life, converted to Calvinism and Orthodoxy before taking his first pastorate. How he sought to soak ever square inch of life in Christ, yet for a time stopped attending church (129). Or how he as Bratt says, “Abraham Kuyper was a great man but not a nice one. He was immensely talented, energetic, and driven to great exploits. He appeared always confident, partly to quiet his own insecurities” (xxii).

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Review: Michael Graves’ The Inspiration and Interpretation of Scripture

For Christians, the Holy Bible is the standard for faith and obedience. Understandably, the interpretation of these Scriptures has been the principal activity of the church since its foundation. In The Inspiration and Interpretation of Scripture Michael Graves presents a sweeping introduction to the thoughts and perspectives of early church fathers in this field, knowing, “Many of their beliefs about Scriptures prove to be not only helpful but even essential for contemporary Christians who want to read Scripture and hear its divine message” (3). Working on the basis that the idea of inspiration and interpretation were knit tightly together (2), Graves presents these men’s views through some simplified and uniform categories.

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