In recent years, historians and biblical scholars have been in active pursuit of the historical Jesus. The Jesus Seminar and similar efforts to place Jesus within his historical context have relied heavily on extra-biblical documents, since many historians consider the Bible propagandistic and biased. Darrell Bock, however, believes that the Gospels’ account of Jesus deserves further examination. Bock argues that when read together, the Gospels provide a clear picture of Jesus and his unique claims to authority. To demonstrate this claim, he offers Jesus according to Scripture.
While it notes how details of the canonical presentation of Jesus relate to first-century Palestinian culture, Jesus according to Scripture is not a historical study of Jesus. Instead, it’s an attempt to show the coherent portrait of Jesus that emerges from the Gospels—a portrait rooted in history and that’s produced its own historical and cultural impact.
Bock begins his work with a brief overview of each Gospel; he surveys its structure, themes, authorship, setting, and date. He then offers an examination of Jesus as portrayed in the Synoptic Gospels—however, he does not attempt to harmonize them, but leaves their narrative lines intact. Readers are invited to appreciate the contribution of each event internally to that Gospel as well as to its parallels. Next, Bock provides a detailed analysis of the Fourth Gospel’s portrayal of Jesus. He finishes with a summary of the main theological themes found throughout the Gospels, thus unifying them into a cohesive portrait of Jesus.
Jesus according to Scripture is an excellent textbook for advanced-college- and seminary-level courses on the life of Jesus. Additionally, pastors, teachers, and those interested in Jesus and the Gospels will enjoy this scholarly yet accessible book.
Darrell Bock is a well-known expert in the Gospels, and in Jesus according to Scripture he provides a detailed analysis of the portrait of Jesus from each Gospel as well as a theological synthesis of Jesus’ message and import as the Gospels portray him. Here we have a much more fulsome and helpful portrait of Jesus than is offered in many recent treatments of the historical Jesus. Highly recommended.
—Ben Witherington III, Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary
After writing three entire commentaries on Luke, Darrell Bock naturally turns his attention to all four Gospels. Neither a contribution to historical-Jesus research nor a conventional textbook on the Gospels, this is a common-sense yet academically informed commentary—first on a synopsis of Matthew, Mark, and Luke and then on John. Laypersons, theological students, and pastors needing a review course will greatly benefit from it. In many ways, Jesus according to Scripture is a successor to Dwight Pentecost’s Words and Works of Jesus, and a worthy one indeed!
—Craig L. Blomberg, distinguished professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary