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Bible Matrix Paperback – June 1, 2010
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"...this book distills into popular form a great deal that we have been teaching at Biblical Horizons over the last 20 years." --James B. Jordan, Biblical Horizons book catalogue
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Bible Matrix is amazingly concise, traversing the entirety of Scripture in 221 succinct pages. The book begins with a brief introduction to typological/symbolic interpretation (don't make the mistake of thinking that this opposes the historical), moves on to an overview of the pattern that Bull sees embedded in all of Scripture, and then enters into a more or less character-by-character (Adam, Noah, Abraham, etc.) examination of the entire Bible. He ends with a pithy reiteration of the big picture of the book, as well as a vision for worship and an exhortation.
If you aren't familiar with Bull's blog (or the work of James B. Jordan, Peter Leithart or Douglas Wilson), the book can be a bit of a challenge to work through. It's not meant to be read for the sake of gathering more information. This book is a work of art, requiring the same sort of approach you'd take to admire a painting or sculpture. I found myself having to read, ponder, and reread in order to work my way into what was written. But like observing anything beautiful, the more time you spend in the book the more you will see. And not just see in Bull's book, but see in Scripture itself. That's part of the genius of Bull's work: it doesn't simply point you to the proper way to read Scripture. The form in which the book is written trains you to read rightly, as a lover who relishes beauty rather than a student looking for answers to an exam.
In sum, the book is brilliant. Buy it. Read it. Digest it. Pray through it. You won't be disappointed.
Michael Bull is no Marcionite, and he believes the best weapon against this ancient heresy, as well as apathy toward Scripture in general, is to unveil the artistry and beauty of God's designed Word. That's right, God designed the Scriptures, as an architect designs a skyscraper, but unlike man's attempt to build himself up to reach God, the Scripture is God's building, a reverse Babel, reaching down to us. And it is masterfully constructed. Reading the Bible as doctrine manual or moral textbook can only bring a limited amount of satisfaction, but Bull teaches us to read the Bible as art, God's art.
As Bull instructs, the Bible uses an ancient literary device called chiasm, and in the case of Scripture, hundreds of these sevenfold patterns emerge. This is the pattern of growth and maturity that God utilizes to reiterate, time and time again, his sovereignty over all things, history included. Creation, division, ascension, testing, maturity, conquest, and glorification: the Bible is full of this pattern, divine comedy after divine comedy. Allow Bull to walk you through this, and you will be thankful for the journey. The Bible is gloriously patterned, indeed.
As for the delivery itself, the book is very pithy, refraining from theo-jargon, and includes many helpful charts and illustrations. These help to reinforce Bull's effort of giving his readers a big handle on the Bible. I have not yet read Jordan's book, "Through New Eyes", but this appears to be less dense and more of an introductory work on the topic. At times it even gives the impression of a workbook of sorts, Bull inviting his readers to think of other applications and connections that he does not explicitly mention. Overall, "Bible Matrix" is a very satisfying introduction to the typology and chiasm of Sacred Scripture.
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I have read Leithart's book on Athanasius and was quite pleased with it.Read more