Book Review: Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics by Graeme Goldsworthy

gospel-centered-hermeneuticsAbout a year-and-a-half ago, I begin reading Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics by Graeme Goldsworthy, and I just finally finished. I’ve been reading, more like plodding, through this text with my good friend, Richard Baliko. Richard lives in Macon, MS and I live in Nashville, TN, so we video skype once a week and discuss a chapter of the book at a time. I studied hermeneutics in seminary, but not with this book, so reading Goldsworthy’s treatment has been a new experience for both of us.

This is a great book to say the very least, but it’s waaaaaay more technical than I expected (or at least it’s waaaaaay more technical than the previous hermeneutics book I read). However, I can unequivocally say that reading through Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics is a worthwhile endeavor.

The book is broken up into three main sections: 1) Evangelical Prolegomena to Hermeneutics, 2) Challenges to Evangelical Hermeneutics, and 3) Reconstructing Evangelical Hermeneutics. To explain those headings a bit, after setting out a brief vision for how and why hermeneutics should be done in section one, Goldsworthy then deconstructs wrong approaches to Biblical interpretation in section two, and then reconstructs a proper method of Biblical interpretation in section three. Through these sections, which span a little more than 300 pages, Goldsworthy masterfully points everything towards Jesus and His gospel. To use Goldsworthy’s words:

“The purpose of God’s word is to bring us to God through the salvation that is in Christ. It does this by revealing his plan and purpose, by conforming us more and more to the image of Christ, and by providing the shape of the presence of God with his people through the Spirit of Christ” (317).

This book has been extremely helpful in expanding my understanding of Biblical theology and its role in proper interpretation, and its up-to-date treatment of more recent trends, such as postmodernity.

I’m no expert, so I can’t say this is the “best” hermeneutics book, but it’s darn good. If you’re up for the challenge, it’s a rewarding read.

5 out of 5 cups of black coffee!

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