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Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue [Kindle Edition]

Andreas J. Köstenberger
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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Book Description

We are called to excellence in all aspects of our lives and activities, and not least in our character. Andreas Köstenberger summons all Christians, and especially aspiring pastors, scholars, and teachers, to a life of virtue lived out in excellence. 

Köstenberger moves through Christian virtues chapter by chapter, outlining the Bible’s teaching and showing how Christ-dependent excellence in each area will have a profound impact on one’s ministry and scholarship. Virtues covered include grace, courage, integrity, creativity, eloquence, humility, diligence, and service. 

This unique book is an important character check for all Christians engaged in teaching and ministry, and especially for those in training. Köstenberger’s thoughtful volume will be a valuable touchstone for readers, for one’s character is a critical matter in both scholarship and ministry.

Editorial Reviews


“Here is an excellent, searching, full-length study on the moral and spiritual requirements of being a professional, evangelical, biblical scholar. This book will do great good to those of us who ply this trade.”
J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College

“Sadly, Christian scholarship often has more prima donnas than the New York ballet and more mediocrity than a Cuban car-making factory! In an age when scholars sometimes think of themselves as celebrities rather than as servants of the church, along comes Andreas Köstenberger with a great book on the virtues of the Christian academic. Köstenberger provides engaging reflections on how to turn your utmost scholarship to the highest ends of all: the glory of God. In this slim book, Köstenberger provides us with a pathway on how to cultivate the great virtues in the life of the Christian scholar. It is rebuking, moving, and inspiring!”
Michael F. Bird, Lecturer in Theology, Ridley Melbourne College of Mission and Ministry

Excellence is a lofty challenge and is most often measured in our culture by personal or financial gain. Dr. Köstenberger has given us a much-needed biblical and theological perspective on excellence, centered in the very character and works of God. The journey of excellence begins with God and is lived out in us in our own spiritual growth and development. This message has been a fresh reminder to me that I have no choice but to pursue excellence in all areas of my life because of the grace given to me in Christ.”
Selma Wilson, President, B&H Publishing Group

“Andreas Köstenberger, who has a distinguished career in the world of scholarship, addresses a topic few have had courage to tackle in a kind-spirited tone—namely, the practical application of intellectual virtues in scholarship. Grounded in the biblical text and balanced by the realities of life, this clear, concise, compelling, and convicting work points the scholar to the more excellent way, where conduct in scholarship weighs as important as the content of scholarship. For those who long to see Christian graces and civility permeate the world of scholarship, this book deserves careful attention. It is not to be read and then left on the shelf, but taken to heart.”
Bruce A. Little, Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Director of the Center for Faith and Culture, The Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

About the Author

Andreas J. Köstenberger (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is senior research professor of New Testament and biblical theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He is a prolific author, distinguished evangelical scholar, and editor of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. Dr. Köstenberger and his wife have four children.

Product Details

  • File Size: 780 KB
  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1581349106
  • Publisher: Crossway Books (October 5, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005UK87LE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,783 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellence in Proper Perspective November 23, 2011
By Sheep23
After finishing Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholary Virtue by Andreas Kostenberger, I am still awestruck by the way Dr. Kostenberger brought to bear the twin ideas of excellence being found in God and basing our scholarly virtues on Him. This seems sort of like an obvious statement, but I have never read a book that deals so biblically and faithfully with scholarly virtue and God. Most times what you get from a book about scholarly virtues is concepts related to philosophy and Greek thinking, but Kostenberger rightfully situates scholarly virtues in the character of God. How does he do this? Kostenberger writes, "Undergirded by the grace of God, we will make progress in our pursuit of excellence as we add to our faith the various virtues discussed throughout this book" (28). The virtues themselves that the author is talking about fall into line with the various headings: vocational, moral, foundations and relational excellence.

One of the best things about this book was the way that it was formatted in each chapter. Each chapter has a section regarded to taking that virtue through the Bible (diligence in the NT, components of biblical spirituality). Next, Kostenberger gives an analysis of various texts involved and finishes with an application of the various virtues to the Christian life. One of my favorite sections was on spirituality. Kostenberger writes, "Christian spirituality, properly understood, is a spirituality of engagement, not withdrawal, even though there will times when Christians will retreat temporarily" (73-74). Kostenberger goes onto place a proper spirituality in line with loving engagement in community and fellowship.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
For those entering the world of scholarship, Andreas Kostenberger provides Christians with this helpful compendium, filled with wisdom, knowledge, and insight. Kostenberger knows and understands the importance of the scholarly task, as well as the insufficiencies of some aspects of evangelical scholarship that need to be addressed in order that Christian truth may gain a broader hearing.

I strongly commend Dr. Kostenberger's humility as a scholar, and his prescription to the aspiring scholar to offer their views carefully, cogently, and persuasively, while acknowledging that others will disagree for justifiable reasons. In this way, Kostenberger understands the scholarly task, and cautions those who would take up the task of scholarship to avoid the vices and temptations of the discipline. He exhorts his readers to represent opposing view points in accordance with what the scholar has actually argued, to avoid ad hominen arguments, and to carefully state one's case. He instructs scholars to offer their viewpoints persuasively and humbly, avoiding inflammatory rhetoric. Kostenberger desires to see evangelical scholars take up the work of research in an excellent way, furthering knowledge in Christlike ways.

Two additional strengths of this book: Kostenberger is thoroughly biblical, and enlightening philosophically and theologically. His exposition of scholarly virtue is developed first from a careful reading of 2 Peter 1:3-11 as the basis for scholarly excellence, but the full counsel of Scripture is woven throughout the book. Based in his understanding of the excellence of God, Kostenberger explains God's excellence should inspire the excellence of the scholar.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Every now and then I'll read a book that feels like it came at just the right time. Working my way through Andreas Kostenberger's recent book Excellence, was just one of the those times. Post-seminary, I'm finding myself in a kind of no-man's land. I went to seminary to train for the academy, but I'm not yet really in the academy. Dallas is an excellent seminary, but the Ph.D program is where more of the academic formation takes place, rather than the Th.M program (not that I wasn't developed academically in getting my degree, far from it!). As I look forward to completing Ph.D studies one day (we'll see!) I'm working with my church and am teaching in a local Christian high school.

This basically means I'm trying to continue developing academically outside of a school structure. As far as knowledge expansion goes, I think I'm good to go, but Kostenberger's book has brought a fresh perspective into view and reminded me that character is a key part of what makes a good scholar. While I can work on developing my character, it is really as I seek to know God more clearly that the Spirit will work in my heart to develop these virtues. I can try, but I am dependent on God to grow in excellence.

The essence of Kostenberger's work is that it "represents an attempt to probe the nature of scholarly excellence and to suggest ways in which we can make progress in our quest to achieve it." (40) He then adds that "This book cannot substitute for a flesh-and-blood mentor, but perhaps it can help you follow the calling of God in your life and inspire you to pursue greater excellence in your fulfillment of that call." (41)

As a tool to send you down the path to virtue, Kostenberger's book is highly accessible. It is written to young scholars (ideally Ph.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
The admonition to strive for excellence in every area of life was challenge all should consider and heed.
Published 1 hour ago by Nancy
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
An excellent reminder on the importance of diligence in Christian scholarship! While not everything in this book is exactly fitting of the Christian minister, there is much here... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jeff Straub
5.0 out of 5 stars Encouraging!
Great read for the evangelical scholar or aspiring scholar. Kostenberger gives insights into Christian scholarship which are pertinent for the Student, pastor, and scholar. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Anne Marie Scherer
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent use of word studies with practical application
The author clearly states that the intent or focus group of the book is for students and scholars (that's why not 5 stars- Some does not apply to me). Read more
Published 16 months ago by MANTA
5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable Advice
My worship has always had a scholarly bent. Studying the Bible and books about the Bible has always come naturally to me, where as other aspects of the Christian life (like prayer)... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Bradley Bevers
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
An excellent treatment on excellence! Kostenberger has presented us with an excellent work that while directed toward scholars, has practical applications for every believer.
Published 18 months ago by Mark Ballard
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written
This is a treatise on excellence, especially geared toward researchers and educators. It suggests that we must be excellent because that reflects the character of God. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Suzanne R. Arnholt
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book for our time
A sober reminder of our excellent calling and duty to produce our best. A scholarly writer with a humble and accessible style of writing with a much needed challenge.
Published on September 7, 2012 by Chris Jordan
5.0 out of 5 stars A book serious Christians and Christian leaders need to read
This book turned out to be much more of a pleasure that I expected. What really helped was the layout of the book and how well each section is explained or written. Read more
Published on August 25, 2012 by Beth DeRoos
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid, Scholarly Book about the Religious Virtue of Excellence
Andreas J. Kostenberger's "Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue" is a fine book about being a Biblical scholar in a time where it seems that if you... Read more
Published on August 10, 2012 by Barb Caffrey
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More About the Author

Dr. Kostenberge is Senior Research Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Southeastern Seminary and the founder of Biblical Foundations™. A native Austrian, Dr. Kostenberger is a prolific author and editor. He has co-written textbooks in NT studies, NT Greek, hermeneutics, and missions and is editor or co-editor of the BTNT, EGGNT, and BTCP series. Dr. Kostenberger and his wife Margaret, also a published author, have four children and live in Wake Forest, North Carolina.


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