Köstenberger & Patterson: Invitation to Biblical Interpretation

I have read many helpful books on interpreting the Bible, and the new book Invitation to Biblical Interpretation, written by Andreas J. Köstenberger and Richard D. Patterson, ranks among one of the best that you can currently get. In many ways, this book is much more than an “invitation” to biblical interpretation. Because they construct their hermeneutic around the triad of history, literature, and theology, this is a book that provides an education on numerous levels. As you read through this book, the authors are consistently providing sections on other disciples that have a direct bearing on interpreting the Bible (such as canon, theological analysis, and practical concerns).

The book consists of 16 chapters with one appendix. You can go to WTSBooks to see further details, but let me mention the broad sections. After the opening chapter on “Preparation,” they outline “Interpretation” in three parts: History, Literature (which covers canon, genre, and language), and Theology. Finally, they end the book with Application and Proclamation, which is a practical section on preaching and applying the word, the ultimate goal of our interpretation.

I cannot provide a full review on my blog, so let me provide a few reasons why I think this would be a helpful book to read, especially since it comes in at 880 pages.

  • First, it is has a solid structure, is well-written and clear. Although it is a long book, different readers (depending on where you are in your interpretive journey) could take any portion of the book and gain a better understanding of biblical interpretation.
  • Second, the book has both breadth and depth. For example, someone can read it as a broad overview, or spend some extra time digging into a text more deeply. Thus it can function as both an introductory work or a more intermediate work.
  • Third, this is a great book for teachers. It can be used in a classroom setting, and the publisher has provided additional teaching material online (such as PowerPoint).
  • Fourth, the book has a strong practical perspective. They consistently ask the questions regarding how to apply the Bible, and reading this book will truly help you as a teacher and preacher.
  • Fifth, the book provides a comprehensive, up-to-date bibliography. This will allow you to dig deeper into specific topics.

I would say that of the works on biblical interpretation that are available (by writers such as Grant Osborne, Kline/Blomberg/Hubbard, Kaiser/Silva, and others) this book is at the top of my list. Thanks to Kregel for sending me a review copy and for publishing this work.