There are five books that have greatly shaped my understanding of the kingdom of God. These are my top-five and the books that I recommend to pastors, students, and anyone interested in the theology of the kingdom.
#5 – The Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God, by George Eldon Ladd. Yes, Ladd is a prominent figure in my list, as you’ll see. This is a fairly short book (143 pages) and was the first book I ever read by Ladd. It blew my mind. Ladd makes the case that Jesus’ central message was… the kingdom. Through The Gospel of the Kingdom, Ladd demonstrates through the teachings of Jesus that Jesus inaugurated the kingdom through his life and ministry (as well as death & resurrection!). This is a great place to begin.
#4 – A Theology of the New Testament, by George Eldon Ladd. How does an “already and not yet” framework shape NT theology? What does each book of the NT have to say concerning this topic? How does it all fit together? Ladd’s NT theology is rich with kingdom substance. This is Biblical Theology being shaped by inaugurated eschatology from start to finish. Fantastic stuff. If you don’t own a NT theology, this is the first one to get! My only complaint is that it’s not as comprehensive as one would hope for (the treatment of some NT sections, e.g., Hebrews, is not as robust as I’d like). But over-all, it’s really good. [Read more…]