Andrew E. Steinmann. Genesis: An Introduction and Commentary. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2019. 496 Pages. $28.00 (paperback)
Fundamental to the Christian faith are questions such as “Who is God?” “Why is this world broken?” and “What is God doing to fix it?” These questions are raised and answered in Genesis—the first book of the Bible. In the pool of doctrinally and methodologically diverse biblical scholarship on Genesis, Andrew E. Steinmann, Distinguished Professor of Theology and Hebrew at Concordia University in Chicago, adds a strong voice for a traditional, conservative reading of Genesis—as a theological, anthropological, and historical book.
As a work written with the pedagogical aims of the Tyndale Commentary series, this commentary seeks to help Bible readers understand both the meaning and significance of Genesis. To do this, Steinmann begins by discussing Genesis’ authorship, date, original setting, and purpose. After analyzing the structure of Genesis, Steinmann exegetes the text in chunks, explaining main themes and interpretive problems through three repeated headings: context, comment, and meaning. Additionally, Steinmann offers a reconstructed timeline of the events from Abraham to Joseph’s death.
Steinmann’s commentary is a valuable resource because it offers a scholarly work that is (1) exegetically thorough, (2) doctrinally consistent, and (3) canonically oriented. First, Steinmann’s exegetical prowess is evidenced by his extensive knowledge and use of the Hebrew language. He repeatedly dives deep into grammar and syntax in order to clarify the meaning of a text. Yet, this commentary is not overly technical—a reader without Hebrew training could follow his argumentation. Using both linguistic and historical knowledge, Steinmann is able to offer insightful exegesis throughout this work.
Second, Steinmann maintains a theologically conservative reading of Genesis. Readers will differ in their opinions about this approach, but a commentary that upholds a doctrinally consistent reading is useful, as readers are not left wondering where Steinmann lands on the theological discussions that Genesis raises. Third, this commentary is dedicated to demonstrating how Genesis relates to the rest of the Bible. Especially in the introduction, Steinmann illustrates how the themes of creation, the Fall, God’s chosen people, and justification by faith all begin in Genesis and continue through the rest of the biblical story. Steinmann argues that these themes then culminate in the Messiah, Jesus. He states that “themes found first in Genesis grow throughout the rest of the Old Testament until they bud and flower in the New Testament in the person of Jesus, the Christ” (39). Because of its thorough exegesis, doctrinal consistency, and canonical vision, Genesis: An Introduction and Commentary is a worthy addition to any biblical commentary collection.
CBS book notices provide brief descriptive summaries and assessments of new publications in biblical studies and biblical theology. The present book notice was written by Jonathan Wright, a Ph.D. student at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.