Book Notice: The Story Retold: A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament

G. K. Beale and Benjamin L. Gladd. The Story Retold: A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2020. 560 pages. $55.00 (hardcover).

The writing of New Testament introductions has proliferated over the past decade with scholars offering insights from various perspectives and emphases. Into this suddenly crowded mix, G. K. Beale (J. Gresham Machen Chair of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary) and Benjamin L. Gladd (associate professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary) have produced a distinctively biblical-theological introduction to the New Testament. In The Story Retold, Beale and Gladd point out that very few introductions have sufficiently integrated the Old Testament into their survey, with even fewer incorporating the storyline of the Old Testament. In view of this, the authors’ aim in this volume is to explore each New Testament book in light of the broad history of redemption, with a special emphasis on the New Testament use of the Old.

The book is divided into twenty-three chapters, with three introductory chapters followed by a book-by-book survey of the New Testament. Chapters 1 and 2 provide an essential foundation for the rest of the volume. In chapter 1, Beale and Gladd outline the grand story line of the Bible according to a creation, fall, redemption schema. In chapter 2, they introduce basic issues related to the New Testament use of the Old Testament, including relevant terminology (e.g. quotation, allusion, concept) and approaches to interpretation (e.g. fulfillment, typology, analogy). Following an introduction to the Gospels in chapter 3, Beale and Gladd survey each of the New Testament books in canonical order. For each book, the chapter opens with a brief section covering introductory matters (authorship, date, purpose, outline), followed by a section on biblical-theological themes. In this latter section, the authors focus on one or two prominent themes in a given book in relation to the history of redemption. Furthermore, throughout their survey Beale and Gladd give special attention to textual or conceptual links to the Old Testament by examining numerous Old Testament quotations and allusions.

Overall, The Story Retold is a wonderful introduction to both the literature and theology of the New Testament and the discipline of biblical theology. In this vein, it serves as a much more accessible version of Beale’s larger volume, A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New, and of Beale and D. A. Carson’s edited volume, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. The book is beautifully laid out with images and graphics embedded throughout each chapter. As a New Testament Introduction, the present volume serves as a valuable companion to other standard works (e.g., Carson and Moo or Köstenberger, Kellum, and Quarles). Additionally, while the authors’ biblical-theological approach is not unique (e.g. see Michael Kruger, ed., A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized), the opening chapters on the storyline of the Bible and the New Testament use of the Old distinguish this volume from other similar introductions. Chapter 1 is particularly noteworthy as it highlights much of Beale’s scholarship on the significance of the temple motif in the storyline of Scripture. Altogether, The Story Retold will serve pastors and lay audiences (especially college-aged) exceptionally well.

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 Jimmy Roh, a Ph.D. student at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Content Manager for the Center for Biblical Studies.


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