What Am I Reading For Lent?

February 22, 2012 — 4 Comments

The short answer is that I’m aiming to finish Robert Peterson’s Salvation Accomplished By The Son: The Work Of Christ. I’ll have a more extensive review when I’m done, but in the meantime, here’s a short overview. Peterson divides his study into two sections:

  1. Events
  2. Pictures

Overall though, the whole book is really about the events, which keeps with the emphasis in the title on what has been accomplished. The events of Part One include chapters devoted to:

  • Christ’s Incarnation
  • Christ’s Sinless Life
  • Christ’s Death
  • Christ’s Resurrection
  • Christ’s Ascension
  • Christ’s Session (his rule)
  • Christ’s Pentecost
  • Christ’s Second Coming

Having detailed each of the events involved in Christ’s saving work, Peterson then shifts the focus slightly in Part Two in order to look at the pictures Scripture uses to further explain those events. Though I’ll refrain from a triperspectival parsing, the multiplicity of pictures in Scripture for Christ’s saving work does lend itself to a multiperspectival view. The particular pictures that Peterson presents are:

  • Christ our Reconciler
  • Christ our Redeemer
  • Christ our Legal Substitute
  • Christ our Victor
  • Christ our Second Adam
  • Christ our Sacrifice

Those familiar with debates and discussion about the atonement will recognize these. By drawing all of them together in one extended analysis, Peterson is able to avoid extreme positions that prioritize one picture over the others and in some cases in exclusion to the others.

In each chapter, Peterson outlines a biblical theology of each event or picture, starting with key Old Testament passages and then a thorough survey of the New Testament passages that unpack the event or picture in question. Though the book may seem daunting since it weighs in at over 500 pages, it is surprising clear and concise in style and more or less reads devotionally. If you were looking for some Lenten reading yourself, this might make a great book for two reasons:

  1. It relentlessly Christ-focused and will draw your attention to his person and work
  2. It will require sacrifice of time on your part in order to finish it before Easter

I could probably add others, but I think those are the two most definitive reasons I could give you why this is a great book to use as pre-Easter/Lenten reading. If you’re looking for something that is easy to read yet has a depth missing in many devotional treatments, then this book is for you.

There are of course other fine books, and here below are a 10 other books I would suggest that are a bit shorter (some of them at least), but still thoroughly Christ focused:

Nate

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I'm an avid reader, musician, and high school Bible teacher living in central Florida. I have many paperback books and our house smells of rich glade air freshners. If you want to know more, then let's connect!

4 responses to What Am I Reading For Lent?

  1. I’d be interested to know (since my budget is tight these days!), in your reading of this book, since the work of Christ includes saving people, where in the book this is discussed. I don’t see a separate place for it in the chapter titles you mention, and in the Westminster excerpt they graciously provided at that link you found. As the children recite in many a Christmas pageant, “you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Mt 1:21).

    Michael Horton has a humorous comment on a common myopia in American evangelicalism. It’s in a book called “Christless Christianity,” and I (unfortunately for me, fortunately for them) gave my copy away! He says we rely on Christ to do so many things in our culture — to help us lose weight, stop this habit, start that one — but we have a harder time believing that He, the Savior (Mt 1 again), saves us, that He actually does it. Instead, we substitute a scheme of Him helping, getting prerequisites done, etc., so that what we really think it is that WE must do, to save ourselves, is done, by us, thanks to Jesus’s preparations! Warfield calls this autosoterism, in The Plan of Salvation, chapter 1. Greek — it may be his sniglet Greek (!) ;) — for the doctrine that we save ourselves.

    • Larry,

      The work of Christ saving people is pretty much the subject of the whole book. So in other words, each chapter has a section about how either that particular event or that particular picture actually saves.

      Or maybe better, the chapters listed are the trees and saving people is the forest!

      Nate

  2. I’ll get back to you after I get a chance to read the book. Let me suspend response on the answer to my question until then.

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  1. Theological Interpretation, Justification, Lent, and Death Metal | Marturo - March 4, 2012

    [...] What Am I Reading For Lent? In each chapter, Peterson outlines a biblical theology of each event or picture, starting with key Old Testament passages and then a thorough survey of the New Testament passages that unpack the event or picture in question. Though the book may seem daunting since it weighs in at over 500 pages, it is surprising clear and concise in style and more or less reads devotionally. [...]

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