In the last several years InterVarsity Press has published four impressive Bible dictionaries: Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (1992), Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (1993), Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments (1997), and Dictionary of New Testament Background (2000). Now the senior editor of that press has selected articles from those four dictionaries for this one-volume compendium. The 133 articles by 95 authors in this impressive volume include essays on key theological topics such as Christology, God, the Holy Spirit, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, the death of Christ, sin, salvation, miracles, resurrection, judgment, worship, and many others; essays on each of the New Testament books; and articles on other topics such as Son of Man, the Synoptic Problem, and Women.
Some articles on a given topic (e.g., death of Christ) that originally appeared in all of the first three dictionaries are included here. Articles that were in the original dictionaries but were excluded here are referenced at the ends of related articles. For example, at the end of the article “Birth of Jesus” is included this reference: (“DJG: Genealogy; Mary’s Song; Simeon’s Song; Zechariah’s Song.” In this way readers are directed to four other related articles in the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels that are not included in this dictionary because of lack of space. Readers should be aware that a number of the essay’s authors are amillennial. The church is the new Israel, according to Kevin N. Giles (pp. 206–7, 209), and yet William S. Campbell states that the church is not spiritual Israel (pp. 525, 527–28).
Premillennialists will be disappointed in George R. Beasley-Murray’s suggestions that John the apostle was not the author of Revelation (p. 931) and that the numeral 666 refers to Nero who will be resurrected to be the Antichrist (pp. 932–33). Both Beasley-Murray and Greg Beale present the view that the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments in the Book of Revelation are recapitulations, presenting the same events in different ways (pp. 359, 361, 929). This overlooks the clear statement in Revelation 8:1–2 that the seventh seal opens the trumpet judgments. One is also surprised to read Seyoon Kim’s statements that the 144,000 in Revelation 7 are the church as “the army of the Messiah” and that the beasts of Revelation 13 are the Roman Empire in its fierce opposition to the church (p. 665). Obviously these views are based on preterism, the view that the events in Revelation 6–18 are all past, in contrast to premillennial futurism, which sees these events as yet future.
Despite these differences in eschatology this dictionary and its four predecessors present a wealth of information on the New Testament.