I’m not aware of any recent book that attempts to do what Andrew Steinmann (professor of theology and Hebrew at Concordia University, Chicago) has done with his new book: From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology (Concordia Publishing House, 2011). In fact, Eugene Merrill says that “this meticulous and magnificent [work is an] addition to (indeed, replacement of) such magisterial works on biblical chronology as those by Edwin Thiele and Jack Finegan.”

You can download a 48-page excerpt from the book here. You can also see his basic NTChronology and OT Chronology online.

Nicholas Perrin (Franklin S. Dyrness Chair of Biblical Studies at Wheaton College Graduate School) writes in the foreword:

Andrew E. Steinmann’s From Abraham to Paul . . . is a book which should have been written decades ago. Here’s why. Steinmann not only assumes quite rightly that history matters, but he also shows two things about biblical history.

First, he shows that in many cases with a little scholarly spadework we can have a pretty good idea as to when key events took place, events like the life of Abraham, the Conquest of the Promised Land, the birth of Jesus, or Paul’s Second Missionary Journey. These events are not the yarn of legend: on the contrary, there is every good intellectually-compelling reason to accept them as history, history that really happened in time and space. . . .

The second thing Steinmann shows about history and this is no less important is its complexity. Some of the questions which the book takes up are thorny questions indeed, having provoked lots of black ink and fiery debate along the way. The author’s approach is never polemical, but always clear; the positions taken are not necessarily always the standard positions, but they are always defended from the evidence. Indeed, it is precisely this quality that makes the book such a delight to read. . . .

We should be grateful for books like this. We should be grateful, because God made history and history matters. Apart from the conviction that our faith is a historical faith, we are left only to cast about. But, when we are fully persuaded that sacred history meshes with the history in which we live and move and have our being, that is when biblical faith becomes a real possibility. Likewise, every intellectually serious reader of the Bible (pious or not so pious) will learn to think twice before allowing himself or herself to be bullied (happily or anxiously) by the skeptics. True, there is so much we don’t know. But, by the same token, there is much we can know and know with some confidence.

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12 thoughts on “A Biblical Chronology from Abraham to Paul”

  1. Glenn says:

    It always amazes me that there appears to be no problem excepting the Bible as historical fact until we get to the first 11 chapters of Genesis – still written as historical narrative; intended to be understood as historically accurate – therefore Adam & Eve are real historical people, Eve was created from Adams rib, the global flood really happened, the tower of Babel and the confusion of languages really happened etc, etc

    Not a song, poem, metephor or anything else – real history and before anyone tries to say that ‘science’ proves otherwise, no it does not; Science (testable, repeatable science) supports the flood and historical analysis of language and place names etc supports the existence of the sons of Noah.

    1. Martin Ricquebourg says:

      Totally. It makes “biblical” in “biblical chronology” sound a bit hollow when we drop Adam off the map. How could any serious chronology ignore the 1600 years worth of human history presented to us in Genesis 5…

  2. Kevin Olson says:

    He has done two interviews about his book on Issues, etc. I think they are planning two more. Here are the links to his interviews:

    Biblical Chronology, Part 1: “Time in the Christian Faith and the Ancient World” http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/issuesetc.org/podcast/848092811H2S2.mp3

    Biblical Chronology, Part 2: “Key Events for Dating the Old Testament”
    http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/issuesetc.org/podcast/854100511H2S1.mp3

  3. James S says:

    Just what I would expect from Andrew Steinmann. He is, I feel, one of the best writers of biblical commentary today, and deserves a close look by readers seeking sound biblical teaching.

    His Concordia commentary on the book of Daniel is one of, if not the best Daniel commentary on the market.

    This book looks excellent. I know I can’t afford to buy any books right now, but I will definitely place this high on my wish list for when I can. Thanks for the post, and I’ll check out the Issues Etc. interviews as well. He is one of my favorite guests on that program, and he’s always interesting.

    1. Brian Borgman says:

      James, I am glad somebody said something about Steinmann as a commentator and especially his Daniel commentary. I am preaching through Daniel right now and it is unparalleled.

  4. James S says:

    Hey Glenn, right on, dude. I’m with you on that.
    I am saddened to hear and read of so many folks jumping on the ‘poetic’ and ‘metaphoric’ bandwagon these days.

    I always used to be so highly respectful of Moore college in Sydney because of how many biblically sound teachers and ministers they produced, but I have been seeing that most of the students coming out of there today are being taught and believe the poetic/metaphoric garbage. Personally I don’t know how people can be so gullible, but at the same time I DO know.

    It just goes to show you that wherever Satan can find a crack he will exploit it as much as possible. I believe that crack will certainly widen and lead to further decay of the correct understanding and the authority of scripture around the world.
    It also shows that nobody and no theology college can be perfect, there’s always got to be something screwy there.

  5. Scott C says:

    It is hard to justify $80 a pop for a 460 page book no matter how important the content.

  6. Justin Taylor says:

    It may be worth calling your local library and encouraging them to purchase a book like this. You can then read it for free, and it enters the resources of your community where hopefully many others will find it throughout the years.

    1. AStev says:

      Sadly, my local library is too busy stocking their shelves with comic books with adult themes, under the absurd notion, “Hey, at least it’s getting kids to visit the library.” :/

  7. Fount says:

    This looks to be a very timely book – an adequate defense of the historical reality of the Bible is very needed today.

    However, I am saddened that Dr. Steinmann used the 430 year “plug” figure to get Abraham’s birth year as 2166 BC. By using the Septuagint version of the Old Testament we see the 430 years included the time in Canaan AND the time in Egypt. Josephus agrees with this in saying there were only 215 years in Egypt – and that timeframe fits the four generations of Jews in Egypt (Levi – Kohath – Amram – Moses).

    I know this is only a “notification” thread – so I will also truck over to the good Doc’s website and ask him about this huge difference.

    Thanks for the post!

  8. Joy says:

    I want this book. BUT why does it have to cost so much money, $80?

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Justin Taylor


Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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