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
This book is a wonderful illustration of the value of canonical criticism. The author’s great knowledge of historical criticism is here employed in a study that takes the final form of the biblical texts as a literary unity. Bock’s work has a wonderful balance between a respect for the uniqueness of each Gospel and an appreciation of the overall unity in the portrait of Jesus provided for the church.
—C. Stephen Evans, University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Baylor University
This book drives students to the texts of the four canonical Gospels; defends their historical reliability; interpretively distinguishes the Synoptics from John in the main, but somewhat from each other as well; and harmonizes all of them as much as possible. Teachers of courses on the life of Jesus who want a textbook that blends these approaches are likely to find here just what they’re looking for.
—Robert Gundry, emeritus professor of New Testament and Greek, Westmont College
In this book Darrell Bock has accomplished for Evangelical theology what the late Raymond Brown achieved for its Catholic counterpart: a judicious synthesis of the scholarship of his colleagues with the concerns of a canonical reading of Scripture. The result is a readable textbook that respects the exegetical diversity of the Gospels while emphasizing the unity of their underlying witness.
—Bruce Chilton, Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Religion, Bard College
Rooted in outstanding scholarship and written with exceptional clarity, Bock’s presentation of Jesus’ life and teaching will be of great help to pastors, Christian leaders, and students of Scripture. Our students have already benefited from a pre-published version of this volume and speak with enthusiasm about it.
—Clinton E. Arnold, professor of New Testament language and literature, Talbot School of Theology