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Captive to the Word of God

Miroslav Volf (Eerdmans: November 2010), 192 pages.

Captive to the Word of God: Engaging the Scriptures for Contemporary Theological Reflection is a collection of six of Volf’s essays written over the last sixteen years that show this systematic theologian’s understanding of the role of the Bible for Christians in the twenty-first century. The only essay written for this text is the first: “Reading the Bible Theologically,” which explains how Volf engages Scripture in the other essays and in general. He describes the essays as “theological readings of biblical texts” (p.4) that are not dependent on a single method, but rather build upon the “return of biblical scholars to the theological reading of the Scriptures, and the return of systematic theologians to sustained engagement with the scriptural texts” (p.14) with “hermeneutic of respect” (p.34) that balances its “historicality” (p.16) with an understanding that the text speaks today (p.18). Rather than crafting a new method or defending an existing method of engaging Scripture, readers from many theological perspectives will be enriched through an encounter with a non-methodological dependent exploration of multiple texts. Thoughtful and thought provoking, this theologically moderate and modern text is an invitation to experience Volf’s work while also using it to refine one’s own way of engaging the biblical text. ~ Greg Smith at

Table of Contents

  • Part I Doing Theology
    • 1 Reading the Bible Theologically 3
    • 2 Theology for a Way of Life 41
  • Part II Communities of Faith in a Pluralistic World
    • 3 Soft Difference: Church and Culture in 1 Peter 65
    • 4 Peculiar Politics: John’s Gospel, Dualism, and Contemporary Pluralism 91
  • Part III Of God and Mammon
    • 5 God Is Love: Biblical Reflections on a Fundamental Christian Claim in Conversation with Islam 133
    • 6 Hunger for Infinity: Christian Faith and the Dynamics of Economic Progress 151
    • Afterword 179