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The Word of God for the People of God: An Entryway to the Theological Interpretation of Scripture Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 235 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (January 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802862357
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802862358
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #495,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"This roadmap through the field of theological interpretation of Scripture is a feast for the mind and for the edification of the church."
Kevin Vanhoozer, Wheaton College Graduate School

"Simply marvelous. . . . A major book, The Word of God for the People of God covers a wide range of themes and covers all of them well."
Matthew J. Levering, University of Dayton

"In The Word of God for the People of God Todd Billings gets to the core of the issues and states them with great clarity and firmness of line."
John Webster, Kings College, Aberdeen

"This is good work! I found myself saying 'Amen!' repeatedly as I read through the text. This wise and timely book will guide preachers and worship leaders in the service of the Word for the life and mission of the church."
Michael Pasquarello III, Asbury Theological Seminary

About the Author

J. Todd Billings is associate professor of Reformed theology at Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan, and an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America. He is also the author of Calvin, Participation, and the Gift (Oxford), for which he won a 2009 Templeton Award for Theological Promise.

More About the Author

J. Todd Billings is the Gordon H. Girod Research Professor of Reformed Theology at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, MI. He received his B.A. in Philosophy and Literature from Wheaton College (IL), his M.Div. from Fuller Seminary and his Th.D. from Harvard. His first book, "Calvin, Participation, and the Gift " (Oxford, 2007), won a 2009 Templeton Award for Theological Promise, awarded internationally for the best first books of scholars in theology and religious studies. His third book, "Union with Christ" (Baker Academic, 2011), won a 2012 Christianity Today Book Award. He has lectured internationally, and has published articles in a variety of journals, including Modern Theology, Harvard Theological Review, Missiology, and International Journal of Systematic Theology, as well as popular periodicals such as Christianity Today, The Christian Century, and Sojourners.

Customer Reviews

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See all 6 customer reviews
Striking that balance makes for a rare book indeed.
Kent D. Eilers
This is a must read for ALL students and pastors interested in reading Scripture theologically in and for the life of the church.
Nate Dawson
This is something I believe every preacher and pastor must return to.
Michael Philliber

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael Philliber on August 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
There are loads of approaches to reading Scripture on tap. Most of these methods utilize some aspect that is helpful, though not an end in itself. J. Todd Billings has joined the conversation with his levelheaded book, "The Word of God for the People of God." This 253 page paperback was written with pastors and seminary students in mind to "help readers gain a clarity about the wide and spacious yet specified way of approaching Scripture as readers who belong to Christ" (xvii).

The primary premises advocated in "The Word of God for the People of God," is that there is a proper way to approach Holy Scripture that moves beyond (though it includes) the greasy mechanic work of other methods. To begin with, the Bible reader needs to come with humility. He is not a technician who manufactures meanings out of Scripture, or manipulates and controls the outcome of this Word of God, but that through Scripture "God "reads" us, reshaping us into Christ's image by the Spirit's power" (80). Instead of Christians owning the truth, we are owned by the One who is the truth (82), which means that as the Word of God comes to inhabit us and our cultural context, it will often critique and challenge us and our cultural context (108). Therefore, coming to Scripture in this expectant humility, there is renunciation and transformation, for "reading Scripture is about being mastered by Jesus Christ through a biblical text that functionally stands over us as the word of God, not under us as a word we can control, rearrange, and use for our own purposes" (203).

A second, and extremely important, aspect of properly approaching Scripture is reading the Bible through the lens of the rule of faith.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bradley L Kautz on March 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
The second-to-last section of the Gospel of John is a discussion between Jesus and Peter. They have a bit of back-and-forth conversation, with Jesus asking Peter if he, Peter, loves him, to which Peter offers a heartfelt, "You know that I love you." This exchange happens three times, with Jesus' response to Peter's affirmation of love being, "Feed my lambs," "Tend my sheep," and "Feed my sheep." One of the things happening here is that Jesus is highlighting the importance of the task being given to Peter of providing ongoing care for Jesus disciples.

The task of "feeding God's sheep" remains among the primary responsibilities of those in pastoral ministry today, and the food that God has given for the task is his word, as contained in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. In The Word of God for the People of God: an entryway to the theological interpretation of scripture, J. Todd Billings provides those who would teach and preach God's word with an understanding of their own particular entry-point as they open their Bible and he gives them some things to be mindful of as they study, so that they can bring the fullest possible understanding to those in their care.

(Disclaimer: I studied systematic theology with Prof. Billings, where he taught several of the concepts he writes of in this book.)

Billings is well aware of the many different ways people approach the Bible, recognizing that the point of entry often shapes what is found and how it is used. The goal of his book is "to introduce readers to the practice of interpreting Scripture in the context of the triune activity of God, the God who uses Scripture to reshape the church into Christ's image by the Spirit's power.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nate Dawson on January 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
In this constructive and pastoral work, J. Todd Billings gifts the church with a wise articulation of a constructive `theological interpretation of Scripture.' Not only does this work cover some of the most important scholars working in the field today, but to date it's the most pastoral work on the theological interpretation of Scripture I'm aware of. That is not to say that others haven't done fine work in this area, but in this book - Billings does a huge favor to those just entering the burgeoning field of theological interpretation. This is a must read for ALL students and pastors interested in reading Scripture theologically in and for the life of the church. When the back of your book is comprised of such scholars as Kevin Vanhoozer, Michael Pasquarelo, Matthew Levering and John Webster - you know that you're reading some good work.
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