The Shadow of the Almighty introduces readers to the nature of God by exploring the biblical references to God as “Father,” “Son,” and “Holy Spirit.” This fruitful approach offers fresh insight into the meaning of the biblical language used for God, giving readers the background necessary for properly understanding the trinitarian perspective of the New Testament and of the Christian faith. Divided into four chapters, the book looks at “Father" language in early Judaism, at “Father” language in early Christianity, at “Son” language, and at language designating the Spirit. This thorough review of the traditional God language across the biblical texts shows what the earliest Christians understood by using these terms and, ultimately, what these terms mean for modern faith and practice.
While much of this material is deceptively familiar, the authors’ close examination of how and where the different terms are used reveals some surprising results. It makes clear, for example, that speaking of God in trinitarian terms was not as radical a departure from early Jewish monotheism as many have thought, and it shows that while early Christianity was characterized by disparate ideas, the first Christians nevertheless shared a common understanding of God. Equally engaging findings of the book include the authors’ support for the traditional gendered term “Father” when speaking about God. Complete with helpful questions at the end of each chapter, The Shadow of the Almighty provides an excellent place to begin a deeper study of God.
“It is Jesus himself who places the emphasis on God as Father, and this explains why the usage in the NT is so much more prevalent than in the OT.” (Page 5)
“we should at least some of the time pray to God as abba, just as Jesus did himself” (Page xi)
“God is seldom named as or prayed to as Father in the Hebrew Scriptures” (Page 1)
“The abuse of something does not rule out its proper use” (Page x)
An excellent introduction to the nature of God and the Godhead in Scripture.
Ben Witherington III is Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky, and is on the doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University, Scotland. Witherington has twice won the Christianity Today best biblical studies book of the year award, and his many books include socio-rhetorical commentaries on Mark, Acts, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philemon, Colossians, Ephesians, and 1 and 2 Thessalonians.