• Moo is well-known to students of the book of Romans, having written a commentary on Romans in the Wycliffe series (Moody, now out of print), a major commentary on Romans for Eerdmans (NICNT, 1996) and the NIV Application Commentary volume on Romans for Zondervan (2000). In addition he has written numerous journal articles on aspects of Romans, both exegetical and theological. He has also written commentaries on James and Colossians/Philemon in the Pillar New Testament Commentary series (Eerdmans), and his Galatians commentary is due this fall in the Baker Exegetical Commentary series. His NICNT volume is excellent! Like other books in this series, Encountering the Book of Romans is designed to be used in a classroom. The chapters are brief and divided into clear sub-units. Each chapter begins with clear objectives (“after reading this chapter you should be able to….”) The chapters conclude with study questions that could be used for writing assignments for a class on Romans. Key terms are listed at the end of a chapter and appear in bold in the body of the text. Like most textbooks, there are numerous text boxes scattered throughout the book that give additional information or connect the text of Romans to larger questions of Pauline theology. The book is divided into six parts, beginning with some basic orientation to the study of Paul. The first three chapters discuss briefly the impact of the New Perspective on Paul on the study of Romans. For the most part, Moo does not depart from the standard conservative view on the origins of the Roman church and the situation for Paul’s writing of the letter. For Moo, the letter is written in A.D. 57 from Corinth, just prior to his return to Jerusalem to deliver the Collection. Paul’s intention is to prepare the way for a potential ministry trip to Spain. The church of Rome was founded by Jewish believers who perhaps first heard the Gospel at Pentecost, but many of those Jewish believers were expelled from Rome by Claudius. While some Jews have returned to Rome, the churches Paul addresses are primarily Gentiles, especially God-Fearing Gentiles. Moo contrasts the “classic” view beginning with Luther with the recent critique of that status quo by E. P. Sanders, but more important for Romans, James Dunn’s Word Commentary on Romans. Moo states that most scholars find Sanders’s view of first century Judaism accurate (p. 25), but the New Perspective goes too far when they reduce the gospel in to only a “people of God” issue. For Moo, Romans 1:16-17 is “basically about the restoration of the individual sinner’s relationship to God” (p. 28). Moo describes his approach as a “modified reformation approach,” although he does attempt to show how both side approach any given text or issue in Romans. Moo says that “The reader should know that I have taken a mildly critical stance toward the new perspective in this volume” (p. 28). But this book does not vilify the New Perspective. For Moo, there is still much to be learned from Dunn. Moo is not able to interact with N. T. Wright’s commentary on Romans (in the New Interpreter’s Bible), which was published the same year as this book. As an introduction to the book of Romans, this book is an excellent choice for undergrad classes and a good choice for graduate classes. I have posted a more detailed review on my blog:
    1. Baker Academic released a third edition of their New Testament Survey textbook in May of 2013, the Old Testament textbook is in a second edition (2008). I have used both books in Bible Survey courses and found them to be excellent textbooks for an undergrad, freshman level course. Both books come with a CD-ROM containing a number of student helps. (The introduction to the books describes this CD as “fun and informative to use,” my students did not find it helpful at all.) Baker has continued to improve the books by adding online resources for both professor and student for Encountering the New Testament. Both books are written by solid evangelicals and demonstrate a commitment to the inspiration and authority of the Bible. In EOT, Arnold and Beyer state that “plenary verbal inspiration seems to deal best with all the biblical evidence” (EOT p. 25). Both books begin with a chapter orienting the student to the study of the Bible, placing an emphasis on the importance of the Bible for personal salvation and understanding what truth God has revealed. For example, “The Bible’s words are God’s words” (ENT, p. 22) But this does not mean that these books ignore contemporary methods for reading the Bible. In EOT Arnold and Beyer discuss the Documentary Hypothesis as well as multiple authorship theories for books such as Isaiah. While they do not accept these theories, they are conversant with and respectful of these views. Likewise, in ENT Elwell and Yarbrough have a very well-written chapter on Historical Jesus issues. Their conclusions are solidly conservative evangelical, but the student will have enough understanding of the issues at stake to move on to more advanced studies in the gospels. Both books are richly illustrated and have many side-bars and charts to help the student manage the information presented in the chapters. Some of the pictures in EOT are not very high resolution (or are old, p. 185, Tel Dan). The presentation of maps in both books is minimalistic, which in most cases works very well. They use a few colors to highlight the theme of the map, and only mark locations that are important for that map. These books are well-designed for use in a classroom. My impression is that they will be welcome in a conservative undergraduate environment, although there is enough depth in each book that they could be used in Introduction courses at the seminary level. I think that both books would be excellent for an interested layperson who wants to develop their knowledge of the Old and New Testaments. Encountering the Old Testament is still in the second edition and is not as advanced as ENT in the Logos version. There are no photos or maps in the electronic version. All of the text features are present, but none of the bells and whistles. In fact, there is no ePub version available for EOT at this time. I assume that if Baker does a third edition of Old Testament book that they will develop classroom resources and will include the features found in ENT. I have posted a more detailed review on my blog: