The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden

biggestKevin DeYoung. The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015.
This book targets children ages 5–12. As with Kevin DeYoung’s other publications, he writes clearly, creatively, and soundly. It’s short enough that I read the whole book in one sitting to my three girls (at the time ages 7, 4, and almost 3). They followed it intently. And a few months later my wife read it to the girls in several sittings.

This book isn’t ideal to use to teach children the Bible’s detailed storyline; it’s too brief for that. It makes more sense if you already know the Bible’s basic storyline so you can follow the witty story-telling and fill in the gaps. But what it does, it does very well. No wasted words. Compact. Crisp. Compelling.

Kevin explains the book’s background here.

See also some brief reviews:

  1. Ray Van Neste
  2. Carl Trueman
  3. Doug Wilson

NIV Zondervan Study Bible

nivzsbThe NIV Zondervan Study Bible releases on August 25.

D. A. Carson is the general editor; Desi Alexander, Rick Hess, and Doug Moo are the associate editors; and I served as the assistant editor. I worked on this study Bible full-time for four years and for a fifth year part-time. I managed the project and helped copyedit all of the notes and essays for content and style.


I briefly explain my role in this video (1:55 min.):

The study Bible has completely fresh content from new contributors. Its audience is as general as the target audience for the NIV itself: the English-speaking world.

As I edited this study Bible, I consulted many other study Bibles. In my view these were the four best study Bibles at the time:

  1. ESV Study Bible (which I warmly recommended in JETS in 2009)
  2. NIV Study Bible (which is remaining in print)
  3. HCSB Study Bible
  4. NLT Study Bible

Now I think that the top two study Bibles available are the ESV Study Bible and the NIV Zondervan Study Bible.

  • They share many of the same strengths that any good study Bible does: the introductions to each book of the Bible explain the broad literary context and relevant historical-cultural context, and the study notes explain individual parts in that larger context.
  • They have complementary strengths: a major strength of the ESV Study Bible is systematic theology, and a major strength of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible is biblical theology. And that’s not surprising since the general editor for the ESV Study Bible is Wayne Grudem and the general editor for the NIV Zondervan Study Bible is Don Carson.

Biblical theology is a main distinctive of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible. In two recent “Ask Pastor John” episodes, Tony Reinke asked Don Carson about this:

  1. What Is Biblical Theology? And Do We Need It? (Episode 644)
  2. Why We Must Understand the Temple in God’s Plan Today (Episode 645)

(Those links include both the audio and transcripts.)

There are five theological disciplines: exegesis, biblical theology, historical theology, systematic theology, and practical theology. I briefly explain them in this short video (2:50 min.):

I try to show how Harry Potter illustrates biblical theology in this 4-minute video:

The notes in the NIV Zondervan Study Bible make biblical-theological connections, and the study Bible concludes with 28 essays on biblical theology:

  1. The Story of the Bible: How the Good News About Jesus Is Central (Timothy Keller)
  2. The Bible and Theology (D. A. Carson)
  3. A Biblical-Theological Overview of the Bible (D. A. Carson)
  4. The Glory of God (James M. Hamilton Jr.)
  5. Creation (Henri Blocher)
  6. Sin (Kevin DeYoung)
  7. Covenant (Paul R. Williamson)
  8. Law (T. D. Alexander)
  9. Temple (T. D. Alexander)
  10. Priest (Dana M. Harris)
  11. Sacrifice (Jay A. Sklar)
  12. Exile and Exodus (Thomas R. Wood)
  13. The Kingdom of God (T. D. Alexander)
  14. Sonship (D. A. Carson)
  15. The City of God (T. D. Alexander)
  16. Prophets and Prophecy (Sam Storms)
  17. Death and Resurrection (Philip S. Johnston)
  18. People of God (Moisés Silva)
  19. Wisdom (Daniel J. Estes)
  20. Holiness (Andrew David Naselli)
  21. Justice (Brian S. Rosner)
  22. Wrath (Christopher W. Morgan)
  23. Love and Grace (Graham A. Cole)
  24. The Gospel (Greg D. Gilbert)
  25. Worship (David G. Peterson)
  26. Mission (Andreas J. Köstenberger)
  27. Shalom (Timothy Keller)
  28. The Consummation (Douglas J. Moo)

In addition to writing the above biblical-theological essay on holiness, I coauthored the notes for three New Testament books:

  1. John (coauthored with Don Carson)
  2. 2 Peter (coauthored with Doug Moo)
  3. Jude (coauthored with Doug Moo)

And I’m grateful that two of my colleagues at Bethlehem College & Seminary contributed God-glorifying, Jesus-exalting notes to the study Bible:

  1. Jason DeRouchie wrote the notes on Zephaniah. (Jason recently drafted a commentary on Zephaniah for Crossway’s ESV Bible Expository Commentary series and is currently finishing a more detailed commentary on Zephaniah for the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the Old Testament series.)
  2. Brian Tabb wrote the notes on Revelation. (Brian is currently writing a biblical theology of Revelation for Don Carson’s New Studies in Biblical Theology series.)

Here are some more videos about the study Bible:

NIV Zondervan Study Bible, General Editor, Dr. D.A. Carson (4:31 min.):

Interview with Don Carson (5:20 min.):

Meet the team of scholars behind the new NIV Zondervan Study Bible (4:23 min.):

Andy Naselli on the NIV and the Committee on Bible Translation (2:04 min.):

Related: Announcing the NIV Zondervan Study Bible

20 Interviews

Here are links to 20 interviews I’ve conducted over the last six years (mostly for my friend Justin Taylor’s blog):

  1. David Reimer on Ezekiel
  2. Andreas Köstenberger on 1 Timothy 2:12
  3. Tom Schreiner on New Testament theology
  4. Sam Storms on Colossians
  5. John Frame on the problem of evil
  6. Nathan Busenitz on apologetics
  7. Clint Arnold on Colossians
  8. Steve Baugh on Ephesians
  9. Mike Bullmore on preaching (audio)
  10. Rolland McCune on systematic theology
  11. Randy Alcorn on suffering and evil
  12. Simon Gathercole on the Gospel of Judas and the Gospel of Thomas
  13. Desi Alexander on biblical theology
  14. Chris Morgan on the glory of God
  15. Steve Dempster on Old Testament theology
  16. Peter O’Brien on Hebrews
  17. Michael Lawrence on biblical theology and the church
  18. Chris Morgan on the theology of James
  19. Champ Thornton on God’s Love: A Bible Storybook
  20. J. D. Crowley on Romans

What Is Biblical Theology? A Guide to the Bible’s Story, Symbolism, and Patterns

BTMy first impression of this book was twofold:

  1. It has no footnotes. No, not even one.
  2. It’s short—about 110 pages not counting the front and back matter.

But don’t be deceived: it’s rich.

James M. Hamilton Jr. What Is Biblical Theology? A Guide to the Bible’s Story, Symbolism, and Patterns. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013. 38-page sample PDF.

Jim has a reputation for teaching the Bible with no notes, even in graduate-level classes. Some call him a Bible-Jedi. That’s what he seems like in this book. [Read more…]

Jason Meyer’s Biblical Theology of Preaching

preachingThis book releases on October 31:

Jason C. Meyer. Preaching: A Biblical Theology. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013. 368 pp.

Jason recently replaced John Piper as the pastor for preaching and vision for Bethlehem Baptist Church, where my wife and I are members. I’m thrilled that our preaching pastor believes and practices what he writes in this book. [Read more…]