Monday, October 11, 2010

The Plan or The Drama?

I have a book review to work on for my TEE module on Bible Theology. The list of books to pick from consists of:

(a) G Goldsworthy, According to Plan (IVP, 1991)
(b) T D Alexander, From Eden to Promised Land (IVP, 2008)
(c) M Strom, Days Are Coming (Hodder & Stoughton, 1989) [= The Symphony of Scripture (P&R, 2001)]
(d) E P Clowney, The Unfolding Mystery (IVP, 1988)
(e) V Roberts, God’s Big Picture (Paternoster, 2009)
(f) C G Bartholomew, The Drama of Scripture (Baker, 2006)

I have briefly checked out all the books, and decided on either Goldsworthy's According to Plan or Bartholomew's The Drama of Scripture. I bought both the book, started on them and like them both. Now I am not sure which one to pick. Though they speak of the same topic, i.e. the bible story as a whole, their approach is different.

Goldsworthy goes into it by giving an excellent and simple introduction on what biblical theology is and why is it important to us. He then tackled the storyline of the bible from the beginning right up to the end of the Old Testament but linking every theme to the New Testament, he completes the study by looking into the New Testament with "new creation" as the theme.

Bartholomew on the other hand approaches it using the model of a play, i.e. the Drama of Scripture. He divides it into 6 acts:
Act 1: God Establishes His Kingdom – Creation
Act 2: Rebellion in the Kingdom – Fall
Act 3: The King Chooses Israel – Redemption Initiated
Interlude: A Kingdom Story Waiting for an Ending – The Intertestamental Period
Act 4: The Coming of the King – Redemption Accomplished
Act 5: Spreading the News of the King – The Mission of the Church
Act 6: The Return of the King – Redemption Completed

I started reading The Drama of Scripture about a month ago but I stopped a third way through. Now that I try to pick it up again, I found that I have forgotten what I read. So I have decided set it aside and start on According to Plan instead. I find According to Plan much simpler but The Drama of Scripture more creative in its presentation. I am not sure yet which I will end up reviewing. We’ll see how it goes.



  1. :) My INTJ approach would be to estimate the amount of time and preparation I would need to fully comprehend, grasp either book and do the write-up well. While one may be more "interesting" than the other, it do no justice to either author when you cannot have time to digest and critically comment on his works ...

    But of course, the INFP would gladly go for the "Drama" ...

  2. Yes, the "drama" book is more INFP but at this point of time, I am more inclined to the "plan" :P

  3. If you want the middle ground - just read Vaughan Roberts' God's Big Picture! (Full disclosure: Vaughan is my former pastor and boss!)

  4. BK,
    Hahaha...Good one.
    Yes, that is true, Vaughan's Big Picture will appeal to both INTJ and INFP because of both our N'ness, i.e. the iNtuition function in type personality. We see the forest rather than the tree.

  5. I think u also prob need to consider whether you see that all covenants that are mentioned in OT are related to Abrahamic covenant or they are totally quite separated. If u take the former, u prob prefer Bartholomew. If u take the latter, then Goldsworthy and Vaughn Robert would be preferred.

  6. Chee Keat,
    It does not quite matter which I take (I do not have a position yet BTW) because whichever I am to take, I can still review the book :)

    I have not really read much about the relation of the covenants but off hand I would take it that they are related. Thanks - i will take note of it when I read Goldsworthy.