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Work: A Kingdom Perspective on Labor Paperback – January 15, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (January 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802865410
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802865410
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #876,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Ben Witherington has given the whole people of God something desperately needed to make sense of Monday to Friday — a theology of work that breaks down the heretical sacred-secular distinction. . . . Offers a work-view and life-view that, if embraced, would revitalize the mission of God’s people in the world. It’s that good.”
— R. Paul Stevens
author of The Other Six Days and Taking Your Soul to Work

“Conducting a critical dialogue with the theological voices of our day, drawing upon the wisdom of the Christian tradition, and offering a sensitive reading of New Testament parables, Witherington delivers sound counsel on the Kingdom meaning of work and its implications for our lives today.”
— Lee Hardy
author of The Fabric of This World

About the Author

Ben Witherington III is professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky. His many books include We Have Seen His Glory: A Vision of Kingdom Worship and socio-rhetorical commentaries on several New Testament books. He writes a blog at and can also be found on the web at

More About the Author

Bible scholar Ben Witherington is Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary and on the doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University in Scotland. A graduate of UNC, Chapel Hill, he went on to receive the M.Div. degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from the University of Durham in England. He is now considered one of the top evangelical scholars in the world, and is an elected member of the prestigious SNTS, a society dedicated to New Testament studies.

Witherington has also taught at Ashland Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt University, Duke Divinity School and Gordon-Conwell. A popular lecturer, Witherington has presented seminars for churches, colleges and biblical meetings not only in the United States but also in England, Estonia, Russia, Europe, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Australia. He has also led tours to Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, and Egypt.

Witherington has written over thirty books, including The Jesus Quest and The Paul Quest, both of which were selected as top biblical studies works by Christianity Today. He also writes for many church and scholarly publications, and is a frequent contributor to the Beliefnet website.

Along with many interviews on radio networks across the country, Witherington has been seen on the History Channel, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, The Discovery Channel, A&E, and the PAX Network.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Donner C. S. Tan on March 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is one of several evangelicals' recent contributions to the theology of work from the christian perspective. Ben Witherington notes that until the last decade, there has been a dearth of theological reflections on this important aspect of the christian life. This is a glaring deficit, considering that we spend an enormous part of our life working, that the bible has a great deal to say about this subject and that work can and ought to be the main domain where the disciple of Christ is spiritually formed, fulfills his calling and brings glory to God. It is a strange omission in most works of christian theology. This is a welcome corrective to the long neglect.

Throughout the book, the author interacts candidly with the major conversational partners on the christian understanding of work and does not hold back from critiquing the thoughts of eminent writers and theologians, past and present, such as Miroslav Volf, Jurgen Moltmann, Gene Veith, Martin Luther, Augustine, David Jensen and Andy Crouch and putting forth his own case. Those familiar with Witherington's background will not be surprised by his inclination that shapes the way he thinks about work. His Wesleyan, Arminian, Pacifist leanings are conspicuous, and his tone is one of unabashed confidence in the biblical veracity of his position.

He begins with a theologically-oriented definition of work for the Christian and he puts it in the perspective of one who is lives in anticipation of the new creation. Work is for the Christian more than seeking self-fulfilment or meeting human needs or making money to survive/prosper but a participation in God's eschatological project of bringing in the new creation.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book should be a part of the library of anyone who is interested in the theology of work, work as worship, or business as missions movements. Witherington wrote this book out of his perceived dearth of material on the theology of work, and that is one weakness of the book-- he examines a few sources in depth but somehow has missed so many others. If you read Hugh Wenchel's How Now Shall We Work or Tim Keller's Every Good Endeavor you can find a host of sources over the centuries on this topic that Witherington somehow missed.
Andy Crouch, Mirslov Volf, H. Richard Niebuhr are three he extensively cites that are also cited by the aforementioned works. As such, there is much agreement between all of these books. But Witherington offers his insights which are different than the Reformed writers above. He offers this critique of other attempts to look at a theology of work: "they work forward through the Bible, rather than backward, and...never get to an eschatological or Kingdom perspective on work, that is, work in light of the in-breaking Kingdom," which is Witherington's contribution (p. xvi.)

Witherington offers his own definition of work: "any necessary and meaningful task that God calls and gifts a person to do and which can be undertaken to the glory of God and for the edification and aid of human beings, being inspired by the Spirit and foreshadowing the realities of the new creation" (p. xii).

Human beings were intended to work, and not just to do any kind of work, but to do good works, and do them in accord with the way we have been fashioned, the abilities we have been given, and therefore the vocations for which we are best suited (p. 7).
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Format: Paperback
Ben Witherington has written a easily digestible book on the theology of work that is theologically rich. Witherington comes from a distinctly Arminian perspective and so I do take huge issue with some of his exegesis and theology. That being said, here is a book that will make you think hard about how the gospel impacts your work.
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