Home > Biblical Theology, Recommendations > Top Ten Books on Biblical Theology

Top Ten Books on Biblical Theology

Offering my recommendations for only ten books on biblical theology is very hard because there are so many that have positively influenced me in one way or another.  There are even books that are not primarily concerned with biblical theology that have greatly influenced my beliefs about the subject that I have a hard time not including.  Nevertheless, I have kept this list to ten as a resource for those who are first discovering biblical theology.  These ten books are some of the first I read on the subject and are essential reading for anyone beginning to learn biblical theology.  These books are in no particular order.  At the end of my recommendations I have a list of other helpful books on biblical theology. 


The Goldsworthy Trilogy, by Graeme Goldsworthy.  This book is really three books in one, so I suppose this list is my top twelve books on biblical theology.  Goldsworthy’s triology is a simple read and has study questions.  The real plus to this series of books is that Goldsworthy takes biblical theology and relates it to other genres of Scripture (e.g., wisdom literature, apocalyptic literature).  If you want to understand how all (especially poetry) of Scripture testifies to Christ then read his trilogy.


According to Plan, by Graeme Goldsworthy.  This book is a more general overview of the Bible.  Aside from Vos’ book, Goldsworthy’s work is the standard for biblical theology.  Goldsworthy offers a good overview of what biblical theology is and follows an outline of understanding God’s rule, God’s people, and God’s place.  At the end of each chapter Goldsworthy provides study questions and further reading. 


Biblical Theology, by Geerhardus Vos.   Vos’ work is the classic reformed standard for biblical theology.  If you are serious about understanding biblical theology, then you have to read Vos.  Although the writing style is laborious at times and although he does not fully develop the New Testament his work is still a stimulating read. 


The Symphony of Scripture, by Mark Strom.  Although unique, Strom’s book is very similar to According to Plan.  I really like Strom’s work and usually recommend his book over Goldsworthy, simply for its format and accessibility.  He employs various figures, charts, and illustrations that help the reader grasp biblical theology.  He also provides discussion questions for a group study and various exercises for individual use. 


Dominion and Dynasty, by Stephen Dempster.  Dempster’s book is not a study of the whole Bible, but a study of the Old Testament.  Dempster’s grasp and presentation of the Old Testament is excellent. He demonstrates that despite the diversity found in the Old Testament there is unity.  You can read a slimmed down version of Dempster’s book in his essay, “Geography and Genealogy, Dominion and Dynasty,” in Biblical Theology: Retrospect and Prospect.


The Drama of Scripture, by Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen.  This book is very good.  I was surprised at how good this book was because I was not very familiar with the authors at the time.  A nice feature of this book is that the authors include a section on the inter-testamental era and how its fits within the biblical plotline.  Bartholomew and Goheen have put their book on powerpoint.  Check it out here


The Unfolding Mystery, by Edmund Clowney.  Clowney’s book is not a book about biblical theology per se, but more about finding Christ in the Old Testament.  There are a plethora of books on this topic (e.g., Gospel in OT Series, Reymond, Drew, Robertson, etc.), but this book is a classic in my estimation.  When I was first coming to understand biblical theology, a good friend in seminary directed me to this book.  It forever changed my perspective on Scripture.  Many people say that the whole Bible is about Jesus, but what does that mean?  Well, Clowney shows in many ways how the whole Bible, particularly the Old Testament is about Jesus. 


New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, by T. Desmond Alexander, et al, eds.  Although this is a dictionary rather than a book it is a necessary resource.  I would suggest that you read through this whole dictionary.  The editors are first rate scholars on the subject of biblical theology and the introductory articles are excellent.  The dictionary provides a biblical theology of each book of the Bible as well as numerous biblical topics.  This is probably one of my most frequently used resources.


Interpreting God’s Plan, by R. J. Gibson, ed.  Gibson is the editor of a series of essays by the faculty of Moore College.  This book discusses how biblical theology relates to pastoral ministry.  The topics in the book are excellent (e.g., preaching, interpretation, ethics, etc.) and each chapter offers questions at the end.  Although the book is out of print, I would highly recommend that you track this book down if you can.


God’s Big Picture, by Vaughn Roberts.  Roberts book is very similar to According to Plan and the Symphony of Scripture.  It is very simple and very short (160 pages), but quite helpful.  Like other works, Roberts provides discussion and study questions at the end of each chapter.  This is a good primer on biblical theology and its size and readability takes away any intimidation someone might experience when first learning biblical theology.

You have probably seen a general theme with these book recommendations: they all seem to follow the same format.  They follow the same format because the Bible has one storyline and that’s what these books want to develop, but they also follow the same format because they are all books at the beginners level.  I have recommended these books for those who are first becoming familiar with biblical theology.  Below I have offered a list of other books on biblical theology that are unique in their scope and level.

Michael Williams, Far as the Curse is Found.

T. D. Alexander, The Servant King.

William Dumbrell, Covenant and Creation.

Charles Scobie, The Ways of Our God.

O. Palmer Robertson, The Christ of the Covenants.

Willem Vangemeren, The Progress of Redemption.

Marvin Pate, et al, The Story of Israel.

Scott Hafemann, ed., Biblical Theology: Retrospect and Prospect.

  1. Ferron Morgan
    May 22, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    I am currently taking my disciple through Vaughn’s “God’s Big Picture.” To say that the content and the format is obliterating much of what he understood or held to before is an understatement. Vaughn does a fantastic job of using very simple language to convey some enormous themes and ideas (i.e. consummated kingdom, biblical theology, etc.). I concur with Chad’s assessment that is a very solid study, especially for a newbie who is trying to understand these momumental truths at a very basic level. Vaughn does an excellent job of laying a foundation for reading the entire bible through the lens of Christ, which is always a rich and rewarding, yet difficult, task

  2. Kristi Stephens
    June 28, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Thank you for these recommendations!

  3. September 17, 2010 at 1:28 am

    A couple of other recommendations:
    There are several books and articles by a guy named John Sailhamer, that helped me greatly read through and understand the Bible better: “The Messiah and the Hebrew Bible” [article in JETS 2000], “Introduction to Old Testament Theology: A Canonical Approach”, his recent “The Meaning of the Pentateuch”, and a little book called “Biblical Prophecy”.
    TD Alexander also just came out with a book on biblical theology called something like “From the Garden to the City”. From what I’ve read its really good.

  4. David
    October 27, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    I have read some of these. Which would you recommend first to someone? Thanks.

  5. Chad
    October 27, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    I would start with Roberts and / or Goldsworthy’s stuff.

  1. June 1, 2007 at 10:13 pm
  2. March 1, 2010 at 11:21 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: