Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Core of Theology Books

I spent some time wandering around our relatively small theological library at college the other day. It was interesting to see what books were there and what were not (and in which languages). It got me thinking about what a "minimal translated collection" should be. I think I would want to see the following:

1 New Testament Overview
1 Old Testament Overview
1 Systematic Theology
1 Guide to How to do Exegesis
1 Book on Biblical Theology
1 Book on Preaching

What is there in Mongolian?

Grudem's "Bible Doctrine" exists in translation. I am not familiar with the English version, but can only presume it is an abridged version of his Systematic Theology. I might have preferred something more robust and less Grudemesque, but this is definitely better than nothing. There is also Milne's "Know the Truth" which, again, is on the short side. Still, these are two solid, conservative systematics.

There is a translation of Norton Sterrett's "How to understand your Bible" which, while old, is not a bad guide to reading and interpreting the Bible. I wish more students of mine had read it. I will set it as reading from now on. I might have preferred a more modern guide to exegesis. Something like Fee's NT Exegesis and Stuart's OT Exegesis, if they had been handily combined.

There is also a translation of "Book by Book through the Bible". Why this was translated in preference to "reading the Bible for all its worth" is a little beyond me. Something like Goldsworthy or Vaughan would be very helpful for teaching basic biblical theology. I have yet to see a really good book on Salvation/Redemptive-Historical interpretation, so that is something that is lacking in English, let alone Mongolian.

There is a book on preaching that has been translated, I forget its title, but I know that I would have preferred Bryan Chapell's "Christ-Centered Preaching"; I can't think of a better text. If someone turned the notes from Keller and Clowney's "Preaching Christ to a Post-Modern World" course into an actual book, that would also be brilliant.

All my students use a translated "Illustrated Bible Dictionary" which is good, but has the problem of relying on one, fairly 'encyclopedic-type' text. They also make heavy use of a Pentecostal study bible, which is less good. I have looked bits and pieces of it. It drives me insane to read very dubious arguments about how "wine in the bible wasn't wine, it was grape juice". AAARghh.. What is needed in this area is a strong one volume OT commentary and a strong NT one to complement. Something recent too. I'm sick of seeing my English-reading students refer to Matthew Henry.

No comments: