I have read a good number of books on the topic of Scripture and human suffering. While many of them have offered helpful exegetical insights or theological frameworks, too many seem academically sterile and impersonal. Well, I am so pleased that a new book was brought to my attention – Through the Valley: Biblical Theological Reflections on Suffering (Wipf & Stock). It is by my friend Jeff Wisdom, a wonderful teacher and writer with a pastoral heart. The book is subjective, as Jeff shares about his own battle with cancer. But just because it is personal doesn’t mean it is not informative and insightful- Jeff’s book earns praise from folks like Scot McKnight, James Dunn, and Scott Hafemann.
Here is the back-cover description
A diagnosis of a stage IV cancer is quite a jolt for any family. This is the news that came to Jeff Wisdom, a husband and father in his mid-forties. When the diagnosis of an advanced cancer comes to a family, it can challenge faith and hope. Through the Valley is a biblical-theological reflection on suffering. It details what Scripture says about suffering and what God has promised, both now and in the future. It draws comfort and encouragement from some lessons learned. And it acknowledges and wrestles with some unresolved questions and issues. Jeff’s reflections, as one who has endured cancer and chemotherapy, help to bridge Scripture’s message and the experience of living with a deadly disease. Excerpts from his wife’s journal are included to provide a window into this walk in a dark valley. This book does not address every aspect of the Bible’s teaching on suffering, but it makes an important contribution to the topic of the suffering that comes seemingly unexplained as the result of living in a fallen world.
I have not read the book, but it is now on my reading list! Check it out here.
The latest Scottish Journal of Theology (65.1) has some very interesting articles, including a piece by John Webster on T.F. Torrance’s theology of Scripture. There is a special engagement with Doug Campbell’s Deliverance of God by Alan Torrance, with a pretty lengthy response by Campbell – the discussion continues! Simon Gathercole has a review of Gospel Fragments (Oxford Press, 2009) – does anyone else think this is an unusual choice of book review to appear in SJT? Anyway, this issue is worth checking out!