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The Triumph of Faith in Habakkuk

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Gathering interest


Donald E. Gowan offers new insights into what may be the Old Testament’s earliest treatment of the problem of suffering: the book of Habakkuk.

“That small, obscure part of the Old Testament tucked away somewhere in the middle of the minor prophets,”—as Gowan put it—Habakkuk has been a middle child of too many Bible students’ non-attention. Yet Gowan makes no claim that this book should be more central than it has been. Instead, he shows his own personal, pastoral, and scholarly involvement with this powerful tract.

After an introductory chapter, the author examines each of Habakkuk’s three sections. Gowan offers his own translation of the text, applying a critical approach, and providing a decisive commentary.

Gowan compares the first section’s dialogue between the prophet and God (Habakkuk 1:1–2:4) with other Old Testament dialogues about God’s justice. He also discusses God's response, “But the just shall live by faith,” as a meaningful answer to Habakkuk’s questions.

While the “woe-oracles” of the second section (Habakkuk 2:5-20) have not seemed very important in the past, Gowan shows how they form a mock funeral dirge sung in advance of a great tyrant's death. He then applies this insight to the problems of tyranny and liberty today.

The psalm (Habakkuk 3) which concludes the book is discussed in terms of Israelite traditions, theophany, faith, and history. The central focus is placed on Habakkuk’s striking personal statement concerning the ability of the man of faith to live through suffering joyfully. Recognizing the relationship of our suffering to that of Christ, Gowan concludes The Triumph of Faith in Habakkuk by drawing together relevant themes from Habakkuk's time and Jesus’s experience.

Key Features

  • Explores themes of justice and suffering
  • Examines issues of form criticism
  • Approaches Habakkuk from personal, pastoral, and scholarly perspectives


  • Why Habakkuk?
  • But the Just Shall Live By His Faith
  • Woe!
  • Yet I Will Rejoice!

Praise for the Print Edition

Any minister or layman who takes the Bible seriously will find this work difficult to put down.

—Donald G. Miller, President Emeritus, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Gowan’s delightfully easy conversational style captivates the reader. I was deeply moved by the author’s sympathetic and effective application of a little known and appreciated book, distinctly a tract for our time. The work ought to appeal to cleargymen, laymen, and serious students of religion. It bets on a transcendent hope that rings true even amid the adversities, sufferings, and injustices of our world.

—Jacob M. Myers, Lutheran Theological Seminary

Product Details

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Donald E. Gowan is Robert Cleveland Holland Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and has authored several books on the Old Testament, including Theology in Exodus and Theology of the Prophetic Books.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


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    Digital list price: $15.00
    Save $8.01 (53%)

    Gathering interest