Around 2005 I had several friends suggest that I read Graeme Goldsworthy’s According to Plan; this volume opened my mind to the world of biblical theology and I quickly began devouring any and every work on the subject I could get my hands on.  I cannot comprehend how this continues to shape the course of my life.  I do know that I soon began to grow frustrated with the disconnect I saw between popular evangelism methods and what I was learning as I studied biblical theology.  I still remember the excitement as I read through D. A. Carson’s massive volume The Gagging of God and finally heard a credible source say what I had suspected for some time.  Carson writes, “the good news of Jesus Christ is virtually incoherent unless it is securely set into a biblical worldview.”  Now one can do this atemporally, as seen in the topical framework of systematic theology, or one can do this temporally, as in the narrative framework of biblical theology.  Continuing, he explains that the benefit of a biblical theological approach, over a systematic one, is that “establish[ing] such a framework while simultaneously tracing out the rudiments of the Bible’s plot-line strikes me as wiser, more strategic.  One is simultaneously setting forth a structure of thought, and a meta-narrative; one is constructing a worldview, and showing how that worldview is grounded in the Bible itself.  One is teaching people how to read the Bible.  For these reasons, evangelism might wisely become, increasingly, a subset of biblical theology.”[1]

Carson published those words in 1996 and then in 2010 Carson published The God Who is There: Finding Your Place in God’s Story.  If you want an introduction to the Bible, to biblical theology, a better grasp on the biblical narrative, or an explanation of how to simply share the gospel as a narrative this is the book for you.  The best part is it is amazingly simple; in the preface he writes, “by and large I have assumed very little prior acquaintance with the Bible.”[2]  If you don’t enjoy reading the head over the The Gospel Coalition website where you can download or stream the audio or video from a presentation of the material from this book that Carson did Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis.  Those sermons are also available as a DVD series if you want a physical copy.

[1]D. A. Carson, The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 507.

[2]D. A. Carson, The God Who is There: Finding Your Place in God’s Story (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2010), 9.