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Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible (DTIB)
General Editor: Kevin J. Vanhoozer
Associate Editors: Craig G. Bartholomew, Daniel J. Treier, and N. T. Wright
Publisher: Baker Academic
Pages: 896
 
It would be a mistake to think of this as a Bible Dictionary.  This dictionary seeks to do much more.  As Kevin J. Vanhoozen states in his informative introduction, “DTIB aims to provide clarification, analysis, and evaluation of the various approaches to biblical interpretation currently in the marketplace, with a view to assessing their theological significance­in particular, their value for reading Scripture in and for the community of the faithful.”  Without advocating any one particular approach to interpretation­the contributors represent diverse theological backgrounds, denominations, and interpretative approaches­the essays provide a framework for not only discovering what the Bible means, but also how to read it.
 
The opening article on the Book of Acts starts with an overview of its historical interpretation.  It includes the mention of John Chrysostom composing the first full commentary on the book to comment on more recent studies focusing on the form of the texts.  
 
The next section is a summary of the themes and meaning of Acts.  A short paragraph at the end touches on a topic debated today.  Is the Holy Spirit received in all his fullness at conversion, or is there a subsequent experience called the “baptism in the Holy Spirit.”
 
The last two sections highlight the place of Acts in relation to the rest of Scripture, and most importantly, its practical significance for believers today.
 
One of the concluding thoughts highlights the value of this resource: “The evangelistic speeches in Acts focus on the resurrection of Jesus, suggestive of a corrective to today’s evangelistic message and preaching,” which spend more time on the death of Jesus.
 
Each of the books of the Bible is covered in a similar fashion.  But many other topics and even key individuals are included.  You can find articles on art, music, anti-Semitism, postmodernity and Biblical interpretation, feminist Biblical interpretation, Jesus and the quest for the historical, and sexuality.  The latter includes a fascinating section on homosexuality, giving an overview of Jesus’ view, Paul’s view and a rationale based on Genesis.  Profiles of individuals that contributed in some way to a theological understanding of Scripture include Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and John Calvin.  
 
This tends toward the academic but any Christian could benefit from making use of this book.  “The ultimate aim of the present work is to commend ways of reading Scripture that lead to the blessing of knowing God and of being formed unto godliness.”  It’s a worthy aim, and those who take advantage of this resource will be helped on their way toward that end.
 
The Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible was the Christian Book Award Book of the Year for 2006.
 
Michael Dalton
January 30, 2007
 

 
 
 

 

 
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