Reviews on Resources for Biblical and Theological Studies

Valeri. “The Opening of the Protestant Mind” OUP, 2023

Written By: Paulson Pulikottil - Nov• 19•23

Valeri, Mark R. The Opening of the Protestant Mind: How Anglo-American Protestants Embraced Religious Liberty. New York, NY, United States of America: Oxford University Press, 2023. Pages: xiii+292. ISBN: 9780197663677

If you are interested in the history of religious pluralism and tolerance, you might want to check out this book: “The Opening of the Protestant Mind.” It traces how Protestants in England and America gradually changed their attitudes and practices toward other Christian denominations and non-Christian religions from the 17th to the 18th century.

The book argues that political, economic, and cultural factors, such as the Restoration of the monarchy, the rise of Whig liberalism, the expansion of overseas trade, and the emergence of evangelicalism drove this change. The author shows how these factors influenced Protestants to rethink their views on conversion, evangelisation, and moral liberty, and to adopt a more tolerant and respectful approach to religious diversity.

The book covers a wide range of topics, such as the debates over religious toleration, the Enlightenment moral philosophy, the missionary activities among Native Americans and Muslims, and the impact of religious pluralism on the formation of the state and secularism. The book also challenges some of the existing interpretations of Protestant history and offers a fresh perspective on the origins and development of religious pluralism in the modern world.

This book is well-written, well-researched, and well-argued. It is not a dry academic tome, but a lively and engaging narrative that will appeal to both scholars and general readers. It is a valuable contribution to the fields of religious history, intellectual history, and political history. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about the history of Protestantism and its interactions with other religions.

Idestrom. SHOW ME YOUR GLORY. Pickwick (2023)

Written By: Paulson Pulikottil - Sep• 22•23

Idestrom, Rebecca G. S. Show Me Your Glory: The Glory of God in the Old Testament. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2023. Pages: 325. ISBN: 978-1-4982-1795-8

The Bible is about the glory of God, whether it mentions the word “glory” or its synonyms. In his speech minutes before martyrdom, Stephen said that the God of glory appeared to Abraham, though the text of Genesis does not explicitly say so. However, Idestrom guides us through specific passages where the glory of God is mentioned to help us understand how this vital concept unfolds through the traditions in the Old Testament.

The author takes us through selected passages in Exodus to elaborate on how Israel experienced the glory of God first through her experience of deliverance from Egypt. Then, in the books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, which describe their wilderness wandering, the glory of God shaped them as the people of God.

As the people redeemed by the powerful display of the divine glory settled in the promised land, the glory of God was manifest in the Temple. We are invited to join the journey to explore this theme in the books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles. The glory of God was physically manifest in the Temple as the glory filled the Temple at its dedication. The Temple worship through music and dance was the celebration of God’s glory present among his people.

This jubilant celebration of the divine glory forms the crux of the Book of Psalms. Its response to the glory is multifaceted; the celebration of glory is not limited to the people of God. The nations and the creation all stand in awe of God’s glory.

While prophet Isaiah talks about the glory of God that would manifest in Zion, Ezekiel motivates the exiles in Babylon that though they are defeated, God’s glory dwells among them.

Just as the glory of God redeemed the people from the Egyptian bondage and led them through the wilderness, it would restore his people when exile was a thing of the past. This forms the core of the message of Habakkuk, Haggai, and Zechariah.

Idestrom’s work, which took about 15 years to complete, is thorough and outstanding.

Tupamahu (2023), Contesting Languages: Heteroglossia and the Politics of Language in the Early Church, OUP. Pages: x+255. ISBN: 978-0-19-7581-12-4.

Written By: Paulson Pulikottil - Jul• 30•23

Tupamahu, Ekaputra. Contesting Languages: Heteroglossia and the Politics of Language in the Early Church. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2023.

In his book Contesting Languages: Heteroglossia and the Politics of Language in the Early Church, Ekaputra Tupamahu investigates the role of language in the early Christian community in Corinth. Tupamahu argues that the city of Corinth was a multilingual city, and that this multilingualism had a significant impact on the way that the Corinthians understood and practiced their faith.

Tupamahu begins by challenging the traditional interpretation of speaking in tongues as an ecstatic, unintelligible phenomenon. He argues that this interpretation is an invention of German romantic-nationalist scholarship, and that it is not supported by the text of 1 Corinthians. Instead, Tupamahu draws on Mikhail Bakhtin’s theories of language to argue that speaking in tongues is a heteroglossic phenomenon, meaning that it is a way of speaking that incorporates multiple languages and voices.

Tupamahu then goes on to argue that the Corinthians’ use of tongues was a site of political struggle. He argues that the centripetal force of monolingualism, which attempts to force heterogeneous languages into a singular linguistic form, was at work in the early church. This force was used by the dominant group to control and subordinate minoritized languages. However, Tupamahu argues that the Corinthians’ use of tongues unleashed a centrifugal force that challenged the dominant group’s control over language.

Tupamahu’s book offers a new perspective on the role of language in the early church. He argues that the Corinthians’ use of tongues was a way of resisting the dominant group’s control over language. This resistance opened a space for the Corinthians to imagine a new socio-linguistic vision, one that was marked by unending difference.

Tupamahu’s book is a valuable contribution to the study of language and religion. It provides a new perspective on the role of language in the early church, and it challenges the traditional interpretation of speaking in tongues. Tupamahu’s book is a must-read for anyone interested in the intersection of language, religion, and power.

Lee, Daniel D. 2022. Doing Asian American Theology: A Contextual Framework for Faith and Practice. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic. Pages: xii+217. ISBN: 9781514000823

Written By: Paulson Pulikottil - Jan• 31•23

Lee explores a framework for doing theology by and for the Asian Americans. It is part of his own journey as a Korean American migrant who spent major part of his adult life in the United States.

At the very outset of the book, he highlights his own journey as an Asian Christian from the reformed tradition in a white male dominated society. This experience ignites his theological reflection.

He explores the issue of contextuality and particularity in the first two chapters. He concludes that the election of the people of God and covenant with them is the context for theological reflection. So, this paves the way to his conclusion that “Asian American Theology is about God revealed in Jesus Christ.”

The heart of the book is the third chapter where he suggests a quadrilateral as the heuristic tool for interpreting Asian American experience. Asian American Quadrilateral (AAQ) is the intersection of Asian heritage, migration experience, American culture, and racialization.

The rest of the book elaborates on this quadrilateral (AAQ). However, the last two chapters scrutinize the personal and communal aspects of Asian American theology. Here the pastor in Lee comes to the forefront prescribing trauma theory and interpersonal neurobiology to manage the Asian American experience in the white dominated context.

The book indeed offers fresh theological insights on the Asian American experience and how to manage it positively.

Averbeck, OLD TESTAMENT LAW, IVP, 2002

Written By: Paulson Pulikottil - Nov• 30•22

Averbeck, Richard E. 2022. The Old Testament Law for the Life of the Church: Reading the Torah in the Light of Christ. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. ISBN: 9780830841004. Pages: xvii+382


averbeck OT LawThis book is based on the author’s teaching experience over 25 years.

First, the author discusses the various Christian theological views on the Old Testament Law. This includes the reformed view, dispensational view, and the position that the Law is guidance for holiness.

The author argues that the Old Testament Law is still relevant for Christians today since all scripture including the Law is inspired by God. He presents his argument using three foundational theses. First, the Law is good. Second, the Law is weak, and third is a unified whole. He says, “all three correspond to significant statements about the law in both the Old Testament and the New.”

He develops the argument in eleven chapters falling into three parts as: “covenant and context”, “The Old Testament Law in context, and the Old Testament Law in the New Testament.

Though it appears to be bulky, it is packed with details and insights that a graduate student and a research scholar on Old Testament cannot ignore if they are committed to know the Bible. The work is so serious that its impact will last for many decades to come.

Reeves, Delighting in the Trinity (2022, Intervarsity Press)

Written By: Paulson Pulikottil - Nov• 10•22

Reeves, Michael. 2022. Delighting in the Trinity An Introduction to the Christian Faith. Downers Grove IL: InterVarsity Press. Pages: 141; ISBN: 978-08308-4707-5 


978-0-8308-4707-5This book is on the Trinity, a topic that we are tempted to dismiss as mystery, unintelligible, or hard to understand. 

However, Reeves has treated this topic in a language and style that is accessible even to those who do not have formal theological education. The wit and wisdom of the author is remarkable. His vast knowledge on the topic finds expression in simple and witty style keeping the readers hooked till the last page. 

The book is illustrated. Textboxes throw light on classical authors, and topics that brighten up the sidewalks of the main topic. 

Instead of parading dry theological arguments, though the book is sound in its theological foundations, the author argues that the truth of Trinity is an integral part of Christian experience. The undeniable truth of Trinity is evident in creation, salvation, and the Christian life. 

The main argument in support of God in three persons is the truth that God is love. Father God loved the son. The creation is an act of father’s love for the Son. Then the Son showed the Father’s love to us. Without the Son, we would never know or enjoy God’s love. We enjoy the Father’s love for us, shown to us by the Son by the ongoing ministry of the Spirit. If God was just one person, the statement that God is love would be void. 

I have read many books on Trinity, but for the first time, here is a book that explains how faith in the Triune God applies to my daily life as a disciple of Christ. 

The title justifies the experience of the book. It is indeed a delightful experience to read this book which leads to immersing us in the knowledge and experience of the Holy Trinity, all around us and in us. 

Kärkkäinen. Introduction to Ecclesiology. Historical, Global, and Interreligious Perspectives, 2021

Written By: Paulson Pulikottil - May• 19•21

Kärkkäinen, Veli-Matti. An Introduction to Ecclesiology. Historical, Global, and Interreligious Perspectives. Revised and Expanded. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2021. Pages: 281, ISBN: 978-0-8308-4189-9.


Karkannen Ecclesiology, 2021Ecclesiology is a highly relevant theological topic that requires constant revisions of textbooks in contemporary discussions. This work provides a thorough revision of a book published in 2002. As the title makes clear, this book is an introduction to ecclesiology and includes all that has happened in the field in the past two decades. Specifically, it is a work on comparative ecclesiology where we are given fresh perspectives on traditional ecclesiologies and discussions of emerging trends in less than three hundred pages.

The book serves as a primer on ecclesiology that introduces all the major trends. Having identified the key issues in ecclesiology today, the book is divided into four parts. (1) The first part of the book covers all major ecclesiological traditions, focusing on one or two representative theologians for each. However, Pentecostalists and charismatics are not represented by a representative theologian. (2) The second part examines contextual and global ecclesiologies. It examines how ecclesiological understandings are being developed as Christianity expands beyond its traditional centers in the West to the global south. African, Asian, Latin American, and womanist ecclesiologies are all included. (3) This section does not focus on a particular tradition or region. It focuses on the missional church, discussing the ministry, mission, and governance of the church. (4) The concluding section of the edition discusses the challenges that religious diversity presents. We cannot ignore similar ideas in other religions in today’s globalized world, so the author has offered brief comparisons of the Jewish synagogue and the church, the Islamic Ummah, the Hindu spiritual life, and the Buddhist Sangha.

It is a convenient resource for students of ecclesiology where all they need to know about the church is in one place. Furthermore, the specialist will not be disappointed as the extensive footnotes and bibliography provide sources that can be investigated further. The previous editions have already been successful, so it is likely that the revised edition will do even better.


Hilber, John W. Ezekiel: A Focused Commentary for Preaching and Teaching. 2019

Written By: Paulson Pulikottil - Aug• 28•20

9781498294218Hilber, John W. Ezekiel: A Focused Commentary for Preaching and Teaching. Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781498294218; Pages: 268

By this work, Hilber has demonstrated how to write commentary for pastors and teachers who are the major consumers of Bible commentaries. Many commentaries very technical the ordinary pastors and students of the Bible. On the other extreme are commentaries who compromise exegesis for detailed suggestions for application. What is unique about this commentary is that it has a proper balance between exegesis and application; and is not too technical for the non-specialist.

What makes this a very user-friendly commentary is its structure. In the short introduction, the author gives us an overview of the Book of Ezekiel. He also offers some advice on how to divide the book into ‘teachable units.’ This is followed by suggestions on how to apply the text to the context of the preachers and their listeners.

He divides the Book into teachable units. The key themes of each unit are presented in the form of bulleted lists. He then presents the specific context of this passage in the wider context of the Book of Ezekiel. In the section that follows titled ‘Interpretive Highlights’ comments on the significant verses are given. So, we don’t have comments on all verses and words or phrases! Only what is essential for our understanding of the key themes of the passages are discussed. Besides these, all units also have a section called ‘Theological Bridge to Application’ where the key themes of each unit are seen in the light of the larger Biblical theology. In the last section, titled ‘Focus of Application’ the author makes broader suggestions as to how that particular section speaks to contemporary situations that we live in.

This indeed is a commentary where the reader gets what they need to preach and teach without having wade through mind-boggling details. Every reader would long for similar volumes from Hilber on other books of the Bible.

Voelz. Mark 8:27-16:8 Concordia Commentary, 2019

Written By: Paulson Pulikottil - Jul• 24•20

Voelz MarkVoelz, James W., and Christopher Wright Mitchell. Mark 8:27-16:8. Concordia Commentary?: A Theological Exposition of Sacred Scripture. Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2019. ISBN: 9780758639554.

The ‘Concordia Commentary series’ is indeed the most magisterial commentary series of this decade. The latest addition to this most esteemed series is by Voelz and Mitchell on the second part of the Gospel of Mark. This is the sequel to Voelz’s work on Mark 1:1-8:26 that came out in 2013. The disputed verses of Mark’s Gospel (16:9-20) is done by Christopher W. Mitchell. Like all its predecessors, this is also an equally commanding interpretation of the Gospel.
Voelz and Mitchell have reconstructed the Greek text which they have translated with detailed notes on the text and translation. This is followed by notes on the important grammatical points. To add to the richness of the volume further, there is a section on the Greek of Mark. This pattern is followed in every passage! Then comes the verse by verse exegetical comments on the Greek text. A number of excursus makes it still more invaluable.
A critical review is beyond the scope of this note; students and scholars will certainly be stunned by the depth and authority of this commentary.

Sarisky. Reading the Bible Theologically, 2019

Written By: Paulson Pulikottil - Apr• 06•20

Sarisky, Darren. Reading the Bible Theologically. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019.


This book is yet another contribution to the discussion on how to read the Bible. It deals with the question if it is valid for the reader to bring their own theological framework to their reading or not?

The readers will certainly benefit from the detailed treatment of the contrary views of scholars presented here: between those who argue for a neutral, purely objective reading of the Bible and those who argue for a theological reading of the Bible. The book is trying to answer the crucial question of whether the readers should distance their faith from their reading of the Bible or not.

The author has clarified that the God-belief he talks about is Trinitarian, the Trinity that reveals itself to the humans through the text. On the outset, he also clarifies that the theological reading that he proposes is different from what most scholars hold. In his own words: ‘What this book does is to suggest that theological reading can be conceived differently than it usually is, as an interpretive response that inevitably results from thinking theologically about the reader and the text, thus challenging readers to reconsider their self-conception, their view of Scripture, and how both impinge on interpretation’ (p. 4).

One of the many valuable contributions of this book is the thorough survey of the ‘Literature on the Nature of Theological Interpretation’ (pp.16-26), a great treat for the student and the scholar as well.

He finds support for his view in the writings of Saint Augustine whom he considers as a model for the Hermeneutics of Restoration. He has attempted to convince the readers that the ‘theological reading’ he proposes is not an Eisegesis, but it is still bringing the meaning from the text rather than reading into it. He also discusses Descartes and Spinoza in building up his arguments.

The book is highly technical enough to intimidate novices and students, but experts on the subject will find it as a treat!