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Favorite Books on Hermeneutics

With the release of the Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, I thought I would compile a list of my favorite books on hermeneutics.  If you don’t see your favorite on the list please share it with us.

The Right Doctrine from the Wrong Text, ed. G. K. Beale.  This book is a compilation of various essays engaging the topic of apostolic hermeneutics.  Beale’s essay is perhaps the best.  If you cannot purchase the book at least get his essay, which is also available in Themelios (14.3).

Foundations of Contemporary Interpretation, ed. Moises Silva.  This book is six volumes in one.  It contains a wealth of helpful information on hermeneutics.  Silva’s chapter alone is worth the price of the book and his work on lexical semantics is helpful too.

Exegetical Fallacies, by D. A. Carson.  Carson deals with many fallacies that Greek (and Hebrew) students tend to commit.  We all have been guilty of such fallacies and Carson’s book is a helpful guide to correcting such mistakes and understanding the Scriptures in a more responsible fashion.

Let the Reader Understand, by Dan McCartney and Charles Clayton.  I believe this book is the best introduction to hermeneutics.  The authors do a good job introducing the subject, while discussing the history of interpretation and current trends in hermeneutics such as postmodern theories and historical-critical methods.  They have an excellent section on redemptive-historical interpretation.

Out of Egypt, ed. Craig Bartholomew.  This book is a collection of essays related to the subject of biblical interpretation and biblical theology.  Some of the scholars who contribute to this book are Richard Bauckham, Al Wolters, William Dumbrell, Trevor Hart, Christopher Wright, and Charles Scobie.  A helpful book with many good essays.

The Hermeneutical Spiral, by Grant Osborne.  Osborne’s book is a classic and a basic introduction to the subject of hermeneutics.  His general premise is that “hermeneutics is a spiral from text to context, from the original meaning of texts to their significance for the church today.”

Is There a Meaning in This Text, by Kevin Vanhoozer.  A tour de force dealing with postmodern issues and hermeneutical theory.  This is an excellent book for those who want to seriously understand literary theory, biblical authority, and the interpretive process. 

Gospel Centered Hermeneutics, by Graeme Goldsworthy.  Goldsworthy’s book is a capstone of his previous works in which he adopts a Christ-centered perspective of Scripture.  Goldsworthy also interacts with past and current hermeneutical debates.

How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart.  A simple read that deals with reading the Bible as a piece of literature.  Although, I disagree with the authors about our ability to replicate the apostles interpretive process, they do a good job helping people understand the importance of genre analysis for biblical interpretation. 

Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible, ed. Kevin Vanhoozer.  This massive work deals with all things related to interpretation, such as past debates, current theories, and key thinkers.

After Pentecost, ed. Craig Bartholomew.  This book is a collection of essays dealing with how language functions in the biblical text.  The essay by Vanhoozer is especially helpful where he deals with speech-act theory (which is also discussed in his book listed above).

He Gave Us Stories, by Richard Pratt.  Pratt provides a helpful and thorough guide to understanding Old Testament narrative.  Along the way Pratt puts to use his three-step method by giving plenty of examples from the Old Testament. 

  1. January 17, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    Wow. I can’t believe I’m looking at my bookshelf. 🙂 Esp. when I have every book in your title graphic. 🙂

    There’s a (relatively) new book that I think is simple, but helpful… and I plan to use it the next time I teach hermeneutics: Nigel Beynon & Andrew Sach, “Dig Deeper! Tools to Unearth the Bible’s Treasures”.

    Poythress’ “God-Centered Biblical Interpretation” I have found to be helpful in articulating the Second speaker in the text.

    Hays and Duvall have some helpful ideas in “Grasping God’s Word”, as does Doriani in “Getting the Message”.

    Other books that help with interpretation, but aren’t necessarily strictly hermeneutics would include Clowney’s “Preaching Christ in All of Scripture”, Johnson’s “Him We Proclaim”, Horton’s “Covenant and Eschatology”, VanHoozer’s “Drama of Doctrine”, Vos’s “Biblical Theology”, Goldsworthy’s “Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture”, Goldsworthy’s “According to Plan”, Roberts’ “God’s Big Picture”, Chappel’s “Christ-Centered Preaching” and Greidanus’ “Preaching Christ from the Old Testament”. It’s not a coincidence that many of these books are books on homiletics. 🙂

    Bartholomew is very underrated by the BT community, IMHO. He’s a must read.

  2. January 19, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Hi Chad B.,

    Why can’t I find Nigel Beynon & Andrew Sach, “Dig Deeper! Tools to Unearth the Bible’s Treasures at Amazon or anywhere on Google? Are you sure the spelling is correct?


    Greg Gibson

  3. January 20, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    The title spelling is correct. And the problem is not in your set. 🙂 It’s a British title not sold here in the U.S. I first became aware of it at the Simeon Trust Workshops in Chicago last May… the Dick Lucas guys were pushing it… apparently it’s the closest thing to the “Lucas Lessons” that has been published.

    I bought it from Amazon Canada:

    It’s an IVP-Britain title:

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