Book Review : The Moody Handbook of Theology

moodyhbIn order to become a true student of the Bible, it is necessary to take advantage of the wide array of study materials available today. A casual glance around most any book store will reveals shelves upon shelves of resources such as commentaries, handbooks, gospel harmonies, maps, charts, and concordances. Each of these resources is beneficial in their own way and serves to advance the biblical knowledge of the student. One particular work, The Moody Handbook of Theology by professor Dr. Paul Enns is celebrating its twenty-fifth year of circulation.

Dr. Enns has arranged his book in an easy to follow and find system. The nearly 800 page single volume is divided into five major parts:

1. Biblical Theology – the study of God’s revelation of Himself to man through His written Word. Subjects covered in this first part include Introduction to Old and New Testament Theology, Theology of the Patriarchal, Noahic, Mosaic, and Monarchial Eras, and Theologies of the Synoptics, Acts, Paul, Hebrews, and John.

2. Systematic Theology – the discipline of Christian study that compiles an orderly account of the Christian faith. Subjects covered in this second part include Bibliology, Theology Proper, Christology, Pneumatology, Soteriology, and Ecclesiology.

3. Historical Theology – the development of Christian theology throughout the centuries from its inception. Subjects covered in this third part include Ancient, Medieval, and Reformation Theologies.

4. Dogmatic Theology – the examination of the Christian doctrine in a systematic way through the lens of a specific church or theological position. Subjects in this fourth part include Calvinistic, Arminian, Covenant, and Dispensational Theologies.

5. Contemporary Theology – the study of Christian doctrine taking into account modern influences and trends. Subjects in this fifth part include Liberal, Socialist, Catholic, Conservative, Charismatic, Postmodern, and Reformed Theologies.

I really enjoyed this book. First, Enns’ choice of organizational style allows the reader to readily access a particular area of interest quickly. Second, he has included charts throughout the book that give a summary of the doctrine he is discussing; often in side-by-side format. This is helpful. As far as negatives, I would like to have seen more detail given to certain areas. This could have been a multi-volume work. It is that good. The final part, Contemporary Theology, could have been expanded. That being said, Enns told the reader in the preface that it would be impossible to deal exhaustively with the covered content. At the end of each section, Enns offers a “for further study” list of resources for deeper study. Enns’ work is solid and trustworthy. This book should be on your bookshelf.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Moody Press as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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