One of the recent Crossway publications sent to me for review is Work and Our Labor in the Lord by James M. Hamilton, Jr. (2017, 123 pp.).
Part of a new series, “Short Studies in Biblical Theology,” this title along with the others (so far on Jesus the Son of God and on marriage) are designed “to serve as bite-sized introductions to major subjects in biblical theology.”
The publisher gives this as a brief description:
About Work and Our Labor in the Lord
“You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.”
Work has been a part of God’s good creation since before the fall—created to reflect his image and glory to the world. What are we to make of this when work today is all too often characterized by unwanted toil, pain, and futility? In this book, pastor, professor, and biblical scholar James Hamilton explores how work fits into the big story of the Bible, revealing the glory that God intended when he gave man work to do, the ruin that came as a result of the fall, and the redemption yet to come, offering hope for flourishing in the midst of fallen futility.
The author, professor of biblical theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, KY) and preaching pastor at Kenwood Baptist Church, covers the following topics according to the table of contents:
- Creation: Work in the Very Good Garden
- Work after the Fall: Fallen, Futile, Flourishing
- Redemption: Work Now That Christ Has Risen
- Restoration: Work in the New Heavens and the New Earth
In his “Introduction” Hamilton states the following:
How did the biblical authors view work? To answer this question we need to understand the place of work in biblical theology. Biblical theology, in my view, is the attempt to understand and embrace the interpretive perspective of the biblical authors. To attempt to understand the interpretive perspective of the biblical authors is to attempt to understand their worldview. …Understanding the worldview of the biblical authors requires the ability to see the ways they intended their statements to be read against a wider understanding of the history of redemption….
Because this is a biblical theological study of the topic of work, the structure of the canon will play a less explicit role. For our purposes here, the following questions will help us to seek the interpretive perspective of the biblical authors on the topic of work:
- What part did work play in the big story of the world through which the biblical authors interpreted their lives?
- What propositional truths about work did they understand to flow out of and back into that big story?
- Do the biblical authors understand work to symbolize something beyond mere labor? [11-12]
If this is a book you would be interested in reading and reviewing for the Standard Bearer, let me know. Otherwise, I will reference it here a few times this year.