A Brief Book Notice from Books At a Glance
by Fred G. Zaspel
D. A. Carson hardly needs an introduction to readers of Books At a Glance. Chances are you are already aware of many of his works. But this is my second post (see the first here) in a brief series highlighting books and authors I have found most helpful over the years – Carson is certainly one.
I always recommend that pastors read everything they can from Carson, and the list is not short! How to begin?
Carson’s commentaries on Matthew (revised, two volumes, here and here) and John are simply the best, and by the way, his little (and little-known) God With Us is the best brief overview commentary on Matthew you’ll ever read – really good. You’ll find yourself reading it first! Carson’s Exegetical Fallacies is one of those books every interpreter ought to master, and his Commentary on the NT Use of the NT is a resource you’ll always want to keep close at hand. His How Long O Lord is superb on suffering, both informed and warm. His Divine Sovereignty and Human Freedom is a classic on a subject of continual interest. His The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures is an arsenal of information you’ll want to have. I am more of a cessationist than Carson, but his Showing the Spirit: A Theological Exposition of 1 Corinthians 12-14 is both challenging and helpful. And his An Introduction to the New Testament (with Douglas Moo) remains my favorite.
Carson’s For the Love of God (vol.1, vol.2) set a new standard for daily devotionals – they actually teach something about the biblical passage at hand. His The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God sorts out the various aspects of God’s love that are too often conflated. I don’t know another book that accomplishes this. His little Jesus the Son of God is I think uniquely helpful in clarifying the significance of this christological title.
Carson is famously concerned that we understand the Bible’s own story, and his The God Who Is There is a helpful interpretive guide in easy-to-follow sermonic form. Other books of sermons include his The Cross and Christian Ministry (1 Corinthians), Basics for Believers (Philippians), The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus (John 14-17), Scandalous (passages on the cross and resurrection of Christ), Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7), and A Model of Christian Maturity (2 Cor. 10-13). His Praying with Paul fits this category also, expounding Paul’s prayers and providing helpful guidance for the Christian prayer life.
Carson of course has a seemingly endless list of edited works also. His The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures I’ve already mentioned above. His continually growing New Studies in Biblical Theology series has proven enormously popular and helpful. Each volume is a valuable contribution. Of course, his NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible fills a need in Study Bible notes. His two edited works with Woodbridge, Hermeneutics, Authority, & Canon and Scripture & Truth are valuable reads. His From Sabbath to Lord’s Day is the most important work on the subject.
Carson also engages cultural issues of the day. His The Gagging of God exposes today’s pluralism in depth. His Christ and Culture Revisited follows up on Niebuhr’s famous work in a helpful way. And his The Intolerance of Tolerance helpfully cuts through the confusion surrounding this concept today.
The list goes on, and it of course includes many journal articles also. But this I think covers the most important major works. I have long advised young preachers to read all they can of Carson. His careful exegetical eye and his breadth and depth of learning will prove helpful to every reader.
Buy the books
EXEGETICAL FALLACIES, by D. A. Carson