Feldmeier and Spieckermann have produced a work which contains in it, rigorous biblical study combined with a tightly sealed theological engagement with the text of the Bible. The production of God of the Living: A Biblical Theology (Baylor University Press, 2011) has been written, “to present the Christian Bible’s understanding of God as a coherent scheme” (Preface), and it does not disappoint in doing so. An impressive work at 550 pages representing the greatest minds in Biblical Theology does more than present God as they leaf through the pages of the Bible but they also take the historical matters contained within the text and bring them to light for the reader.
The thesis of the text rests on, as has already been stated, presenting a coherent scheme of the living God through the pages of Scripture, but more practically this works its way out in a way that takes the witness of the Biblical authors and traces a common thread through their writings which point to one single deity. Taking the various ways which God interacts with His creation, the authors have sought to rip down the facade of mere human interaction with deity and have exposed the deeper nature of God and his relation to mankind.
The book is broken into three main parts. Part 1, “Foundation”, is broken down into chapters based on different attributes of God, The Name and the Names, Lord God and Father God, The One as the Unifier, The Loving One, The Almighty, and Spirit and Presence. Part two moves on from the attributes to examining how God interacts with his creation and the witnessing of those actions. The section begins with Word and Creation and moves through sections like, Blessing and Praise, Justice and Justification, Suffering and Lament, Covenant and Promise and ending with Hope and Comfort. The last section of the book consists of the conclusion where the authors make some good closing remarks and bring the study to a satisfying end.
One of the most benefiting sections that has helped my own study of God has been the chapter titled, “Covenant and Promise”. The authors examine the covenants in great detail, comparing and contrasting the various covenants made, the promises made through them, the men to whom the covenants were made and the role of various other details within the covenant structure. They make the conclusion that the covenants made were an example of the radical love of God extending to his enemies, “through which reconciliation is extended to an unholy world” (467).
This book is quite the task to read. Page after daunting page of Greek language and Hebrew text would dissuade even the most headstrong layperson from laying their hands to the plow. This book, I fear, may have been lost on me as a rookie aspiring theologian. I would say this book is meant for more scholarly studies and seminarians but by no means does that mean those in the church, who are not scholars, should steer clear. I encourage the ongoing study of texts which may be a bit beyond us in order to stretch our mental capacity and increase our unceasing joy as children of God.