Review of Magnifying God in Christ: A Summary of New Testament Theology by Thomas R. Schreiner

  • NTTPaperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic; 1 edition (February 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080103826X

Thomas R. Schreiner’s Magnifying God in Christ: A Summary of New Testament Theology is actually an abbreviated version of his more substantial New Testament Theology: “I hope that this slimmer edition will make the main argument of the book available to laypeople, students, and pastors who are also interested in the message of the NT.  The fundamental argument of my larger book is summarized here in shorter scope.  I have eliminated virtually all footnotes and invite readers to consult my larger work for more in-depth discussion, but the present work contains a digest of what is found in the larger work.”

An Overview

Schreiner’s Introduction tackles the questions of why “Why Study New Testament Theology?” “How Should We Student New Testament Theology?” and “In Defense of a Thematic Approach,” “The Question of a Center,” and a “A Short Tour of the Book.”  And while there are times when the reader wishes for in-depth discussions (at which point Schreiner points to his larger work), Schreiner is often to the point.

Major themes of Christian theology are engaged to a degree by the various NT writers, beginning with “The fulfillment of God’s Saving Promises” and concluding with “The Consummation of God’s Promises.”  For Schreiner, NT theology is about how God fulfills his saving promises through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, explaining the Trinitarian approach of this work: “The NT is radically God-centered.  We could say that the NT is about God magnifying himself in Christ through the Spirit”–a summary statement which is akin to something of a paradigm.  There’s also a decidedly already-but-not-yet character to the work: “A day of resurrection is coming.  The new exodus, the new creation, and the new covenant will be fulfilled.  And believers will praise and honor God.”

A Critique

Thomas R. Schreiner, a leading NT scholar, is quite conservative and evangelical in his approach.  This is evident in his work.  As a summary, the work points to his larger work for more in-depth discussions–an element I had to adjust to (the reader should keep this in mind).

A times, I thought Schreiner too belaboring when it came to the divinity of Christ, but then I had to remind myself of the work’s title, “Magnifying God in Christ.”  One major critique of this summary (even though a summary) is its failure to devote a chapter to the sacrament (ordinances, if you like).  Perhaps this speaks to the beggarly and impoverished Baptist treatment of the sacraments.  Schreiner knows better.


Overall, I find this summary of NT theology a fine work (perhaps this is owing to my appreciation of Schreiner’s pen).  As mentioned above, the reader will want to consult Schreiner’s more substantial New Testament Theology for in-depth discussions on a number of sections.  Now I must dust off mine.

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