Scot McKnight on Four Moments With God

Image: Photo by Robert Nyman on Unsplash
Image: Photo by Robert Nyman on Unsplash

Where to begin? That might be the best and biggest question when it comes to talking about God, the God of the Bible (as refracted through the Christian tradition). One could study names – YHWH, Adonai, El/Elohim, Lord, Father. One could study attributes, and divide them as theologians have done into communicable and incommunicable – love, holiness, righteous, omniscient, omnipresent. One could study the history of discussion about God or one could study Trinitarian theology and its manifold debates.

Bible experts and historians want to focus more closely on the texts in the Bible, and no one is more gifted for such an endeavor, even if only in a brief and accessible study, than Richard Bauckham. His new book is called Who is God? I commend it to Bible students as a study that transcends history to become at times devotional. For the more academic among us, it’s the kind of devotional study that appeals.

Who is God? is a set of four lectures with no academic apparatus in the footnotes and with only a few bibliographic recommendations at the end of each lecture/chapter. It is always readable and, when it does touch on some of his special gifts of examining a NT text in light of the history of that text in the Old Testament and Jewish traditions, it’s never too heavy for students.

Four themes:

The Revelation of the Divine Presence
The Revelation of the Divine Name
The Revelation of the Divine Character
The Revelation of the Trinity

He takes Jacob and God’s promise to be “with” him in Genesis 28:10-22 for this first concentration text. This is a first indication of God being “with” someone in the Bible as God bypasses all and comes to earth to be with Jacob. God, then, is not just in a place but wherever Jacob is. God is present in all creation, of course, but there’s a special relational sense that God is “with” us. Tabernacle, temple, Jesus as Immanuel, and John 1:1-14 – those are central texts for this theme, along with the end of Revelation (21:3). Jesus is the staircase of Jacob in John 1:51 (this is vintage Bauckham).

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Source: Christianity Today