APOSTOLIC HISTORY AND THE GOSPEL (Essays presented to F.F. Bruce), Edited by W. Ward Gasque and Ralph P. Martin; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1971; 378 pp., $7.95.
It has become increasingly common to commemorate some anniversary of outstanding scholars in the field of Biblical studies with a “festschrift.” Such a festschrift is a series of essays written by scholars and presented to the scholar whose anniversary is being acknowledged as a recognition of his labors. This book recognizes the vast learning and notable contributions which F.F. Bruce, Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester, has made to the field of New Testament studies. There is no question about it that F.F. Bruce deserves this honor which is given to him on his 60th birthday. Twenty-four scholars from all over the world and from many different denominations have contributed to this book.
The book is divided into three sections: the first contains various essays based on the book of Acts; the second deals with subjects relating to Paul and the Pauline epistles; the third section has three essays which consider the Chi-Rho sign, some of the apocryphal Acts and epistles and the implications of Romans 1 for missionary work.
With so many different authors contributing to the book it is not surprising that there is considerable variation in the quality of the essays. Nevertheless, there are sufficient essays of worth to make this book well worth purchasing. It is impossible in this review to comment on each essay separately. But, in my opinion, some of the outstanding essays are the following. “The Form, Meaning and Background of the Hymn Quoted inI Timothy 3:16,” by Robert H. Grundy. “Revelation and Tradition in Paul,” by G.E. Ladd. This essay alone is almost worth the price of the book. “I Corinthians 11:2-16: An Interpretation,” by William J. Martin. “The Theme of Romans,” by Leon Morris. This essay ends with the following quote:
The point I have been concerned to make in this essay is that (Romans) is not (like the other books of Scripture). God comes more prominently before us in Romans than in any other part of the New Testament (with the possible exception of I John). Elsewhere Paul dwells on Christ and what Christ has done for men. This theme is not absent from Romans; but as long as we concentrate on it to the overlooking of the stress on God, we do not get quite what Paul is saying to us. Romans is a book about God and we must bear the fact in mind in all our interpretation of what it says. Otherwise we shall miss some of the wonderful things it says.
“Further Reflexions on Philippians 2:5-11,” by C.F.D. Moule. While we cannot agree with all that the author writes concerning this difficult passage, he points to some very important aspects of the text which are often overlooked. “Caesarea, Rome, and the Captivity Epistles,” by Bo Reicke. Again we do not agree with the author’s conclusions—that Philemon, Colossians and Ephesians were written while Paul was in captivity in Caesarea, while Philippians was written from Rome. But the material the author presents is interesting and important.
The book is very technical and is therefore of value to those who are ministers and teachers. But to them this volume is highly recommended. And we join in congratulations to F. F. Bruce and in acknowledging his many contributions to Scriptural studies.
THE HEART OF THE YALE LECTURES, Introduction by Ralph G. Turnbull, edited by Batsell Barrett Baxter; Baker Book House, 1971; 332 pp., $3.95 (paper).
In 1871 Mr. Henry N. Sage donated to Yale College the sum of $10,000.00 for the purpose of founding a lectureship in the Department of Theology, in the branch of Pastoral Theology which would give opportunity to evangelical ministers to lecture for the seminary students on the subject of preaching. It was to be called “The Lyman Beecher Lectureship on Preaching.” Since that time, every year, with a few I exceptions, various outstanding ministers have delivered a series of lectures on various aspects of the subject of preaching.
This book is a summary of those lectures which dealt in whole or in part with the technique of preaching. That is, these lectures deal with the formal aspects of preaching, with the aspect of delivery and related topics. The book does not simply quote the lectures as a whole, but organizes the lectures under various headings and gives quotes and comments on different aspects.
The book is divided into three parts: the first deals with the preacher and discusses such subjects as “The Power of Personality,” “Qualifications,” “Attitudes”—towards self, towards the audience and towards the ministry. The second part deals with the sermon and covers such subjects as “Style,” “Delivery,” “Setting for the Sermon,” “Types of Sermons,” “Length of Sermons,” “Maturation,” etc. The third section deals with the congregation and discusses “Analysis of the Audience,” “Approach to the Audience,” etc.
The book is a very excellent one. It is filled with a mass of worthwhile and important material. It takes, for the most part, a properly serious view of preaching and emphasizes the importance of preaching in the Church of Christ. It exposes many weaknesses to which ministers pay insufficient attention. It gives excellent suggestions to improve a minister’s delivery of his sermon. It is delightfully humorous in places and discusses matters which all ministers will appreciate. It is almost required reading for anyone who enters the pulpit and can well serve as a textbook in Homiletics.
We urge all our ministers to purchase this book. We have no doubt that it will be of assistance to them and that many hours of enjoyable reading will result from the purchase of this volume.
It is another book in Baker’s series on “Notable Books on Preaching.” We recommend it to all our Seminary and Pre-seminary students as well.