The strength of According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible is its accessibility to the layperson. Other books that seek to develop a biblical theology make for thick reading. Goldsworthy avoids delving into intricate exegetical details.
Instead, he seeks to provide his readers with an overall grasp of biblical theology. He focuses on the “big picture.”
To accomplish this task, Goldsworthy encourages readers to bypass some of the harder chapters and perhaps return to them later. The “How” section focuses on issues of epistemology. Goldsworthy realizes that some of these chapters will be tough sledding for newcomers to theology. But he is wise to include them, as our presuppositions regarding knowledge and truth have a direct impact on how we understand the Bible. So Goldsworthy’s book remains accessible, without abandoning the thoroughness necessary for the task at hand.
According to Plan remains accessible to laypeople, not because Goldsworthy avoids rich theological teaching, but because he utilizes helpful tools that break down his concepts into simple forms.
For example, summary paragraphs are found beneath each chapter heading. This practice helps readers understand where the author intends to take them in any given chapter.
The book also provides summaries, charts, diagrams, and key terms and phrases at the end of each chapter, making it very easy for readers to quickly access the foundational information of each section. Goldsworthy has succeeded marvelously in making key theological concepts accessible to the laypeople.
The second strength of According to Plan is its Christ-centeredness. Goldsworthy emphasizes again and again that Christ is the one to whom all the Scriptures testify. God reveals himself primarily in Jesus Christ, showing us what the promises of the Old Testament are about.
“God in fact reserves his greatest revelation until the point of fulfillment. Jesus does not simply fulfill the promises; rather, he is the final and fullest revelation of what the promises are really about. This means that the form and the content of the fulfillment exceeds by far the form and the content of the promises themselves. The very act of fulfilling the Old Testament promises is itself the most important revelation of all” (65).
This emphasis on Christ as the center of all Scripture is sadly lacking in many evangelical churches today.
Goldsworthy insists on a Christ-shaped reading of Scripture, as evidenced by his emphasis on the gospel itself as the entry point into studying Scripture rightly.
According to Plan also raises a few questions for me. Tomorrow, I will examine some of the questions that Goldsworthy’s proposal leaves unanswered.