2023 Books: New Books I Want to Read This Year: April-June

2023 Books: New Books I Want to Read This Year: April-June February 7, 2023

If you read this blog sometimes, you know I love books! So, even before 2022 was over, I started drooling over 2023 releases. Lots of exciting new material in the Biblical Studies world. I will break the year down into three separate posts, Jan-March, April-June, July-Dec. For the first post on Jan-March, see HERE.

April 2023

Scot McKnight, Lynn Cohick, and Nijay Gupta, Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, Second Edition (IVP Academic, April 4)

Our editorial team worked on this for several years; I am so excited about this new edition, mostly because we have amazing contributors who really prove their expertise. This is, hopefully, going to be one of those “must-have” reference works. Up-to-date, well-written, diverse contributors, affordable. What else can you ask for?







David Horrell, 1 Peter ICC (Volume 1 Release, T&T Clark, April 6)

I know David has been working on this for a long time, and it looks like he enlisted Travis Williams to step in and help. We know it is going to be two volumes, and this volume covers introductory material as well as chapters 1-2 of 1 Peter. It’s almost 900 pages (!), but the one downside: $110 (ouch!). Praying for a quick paperback release. (Lord, hear our prayer.)






Philip Barton Payne, The Bible vs. Biblical Womanhood: How God’s Word Consistently Affirms Gender Equality (Zondervan, April 4)


A biblical defense of egalitarianism that relies on Scripture to affirm gender equality in the church and in the home.

“Biblical womanhood” is the idea that the Bible teaches God-ordained male leadership and female submission in the home and subordination in the church. Some say this hierarchy of authority is sufficiently evidenced by examples of male leadership (and lack of female leadership) in the Bible: the first human was male, Israel’s official priests were male, most authors of Scripture were male, Jesus was male and chose twelve male Apostles. God is addressed as Father. Wives are commanded to submit to their husbands.

In The Bible vs. Biblical Womanhood, New Testament scholar Philip B. Payne argues that the very Bible passages that are often believed to teach male headship and female subordination actually teach gender equality. He demonstrates that the Bible does not endorse gender hierarchy but instead emphasizes:

  • The Holy Spirit gifting all believers for ministry
  • The oneness of the body of Christ (the church) and the priesthood of all believers
  • Humility, service, and mutual submission required of all believers
  • Freedom and willingness to relinquish freedom in order to spread the gospel

These concepts are examined in 14 Bible passages throughout the Old and New Testaments, using careful exploration of Greek and Hebrew word meanings, historical and cultural context, and examples from Scripture. Payne defends his position by providing detailed answers to common objections at the end of each chapter.

The Bible vs. Biblical Womanhood is for those struggling to reconcile the Bible’s seemingly contradictory teachings about man and woman. Readers will come away with greater confidence in the reliability of Scripture’s consistent, harmonious message of gender equality.

May 2023

Constantine Campbell, The Letter to the Ephesians (Eerdmans, May 4)

I expect this to be an excellent contribution to Ephesians scholarship – “May the Fourth Be With You,” Con!







Matthew Bates, Why the Gospel? Living the Good News of King Jesus with Purpose (Eerdmans, May 16)

Another great contribution from Bates on the meaning and purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ—this one is great for group study!

DESCRIPTION: We know what the gospel is—but do we know why it is?  

As Christians, we often ask what the gospel is, when we should be asking why it is. Matthew W. Bates has previously demonstrated that the “good news” of the gospel is that Jesus is King. But in his latest book, he explores God’s intentions: why has God issued this royal proclamation? And what role can it play in our everyday lives?

As Bates observes, we find the answer in a simple but challenging realization: “I am a horrible king of my own life.” With examples from Scripture, literature, and personal experience, Bates explains what pledging allegiance to Jesus as ruler of our lives actually looks like. Living authentically according to God’s reign conforms humanity to the image of Jesus and extends his glory and honor to all creation.

Perfect for church studies, evangelism, or personal spiritual reading, Why the Gospel? invites readers to consider how we can transform our lives and communities through loyalty and devotion to King Jesus.

Robyn J. Whitaker, Even the Devil Quotes Scripture: Reading the Bible On Its Own Terms (Eerdmans, May 11).

Clever title! From the official description: 

“We are meant to take the Bible seriously, not literally.” —from the Introduction

 In Even the Devil Quotes Scripture, Robyn J. Whitaker looks to the Bible as a guide to interpreting the Bible, and her findings breathe new life into our understanding and use of Scripture. As it turns out, the uses of Scripture within Scripture are flexible, open to frequent reinterpretation, and rarely literal.

For instance, Ezra and Nehemiah reinterpret laws about whether Jews can marry foreigners in the wake of the Babylonian exile. Their contradiction of earlier traditions found in Deuteronomic law do not invalidate Scripture but rather represent its diverse applications for the prophets’ specific situations. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus presents a more demanding interpretation of Mosaic law in the Sermon on the Mount, while in Mark’s Gospel he all but ignores its prohibition of working on the Sabbath. Yet the common ethos of the two gospels prioritizes compassion over legalism.

Ultimately, Whitaker ascertains one definitive characteristic of inner-biblical interpretation: love. After all, the Old Testament passage most frequently quoted in the New Testament is Leviticus 19:18: “Love thy neighbor.” Thus, Whitaker proposes a hermeneutic of love—a litmus test for the validity of a scriptural interpretation measured in charity. Ideal for any devoted reader of the Bible, Even the Devil Quotes Scripture opens our eyes to the Bible as a living, loving gift of God’s unfolding revelation.

Cheryl Bridges Johns, Re-Enchanting the Text: Discovering the Bible as Sacred, Dangerous, and Mysterious (Baker, May 16)

Description: In an age when the Bible has been stripped of its sacredness and functional biblical illiteracy reigns, this book makes the case that we must work to re-enchant the text in order to return the Bible to its rightful place in the lives of Christians.

Cheryl Bridges Johns explains how the Enlightenment’s turn to the rational human subject made it possible to objectify the Bible and has distorted our interpretations of Scripture. This move generated a belief that studying the Bible was primarily a means of supporting facts and providing evidence of competing visions of reality. This “modern” version of the Bible does not trouble our nights with apocalyptic images. It has been stripped of its power. She also shows that both “liberal” and “fundamentalist” interpretation are failed forms of disenchanted readings.

Johns argues that we must rediscover the Bible as a sacred, dangerous, mysterious, and presence-filled wonderland to counteract biblical illiteracy in an increasingly post-Christian landscape.


June 2023

Scot McKnight, The Second Testament: A New Translation (IVP Academic, June 6)

The counterpart to Goldingay’s The First Testament. Scot has been working on this for several years as a labor of love.

From the publisher:

Experience the New Testament afresh in Scot McKnight’s bold translation. Typical translations of the New Testament make the biblical text as accessible as possible by using the language of our own day. At times this masks the distance between the New Testament text and modern readers. Scripture continues to speak to us but it speaks as an ancient text to the modern world.

New Testament scholar Scot McKnight offers a translation of the New Testament with a daring approach to the ancient text. Clever in its expression and at times stunning in its boldness, The Second Testament will challenge readers to experience God’s Word anew.

God blesses the beggars in spirit because theirs is Heavens’ Empire.

God blesses the grievers because they will be consoled.

God blesses the meek because they will inherit the land.

God blesses the ones hungering and thirsting for the rightness because they will be satisfied. (Matthew 5:3-6)

Features include:

  • Complete text of the New Testament
  • Brief introductions to each book
  • Maps of key locations and events
  • Glossary of key terms in the translation
  • Full-cloth hardcover with foil stamping
  • Deluxe bookmark ribbon


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