Faculty, Press Releases, TEDS

Trinity’s Beitzel wins 2019 Christianity Today book award

Trinity CommunicationsDecember 12, 2018

Emeritus professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages Barry J. Beitzel of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) edited a book accorded top honors in the biblical studies category of the 2019 Christianity Today Book Awards.

The annual award announcement this week marks the fifth time in six years a book written or edited by a TEDS faculty member has captured top honors from Christianity Today.

The awarded book, Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels, “delivers fresh insight by paying attention to an often overlooked component of the Gospel stories—their geographical setting,” according to an introduction to the book on the Lexham website. Kristopher A. Lyle assisted Beitzel with the book.

Beitzel devoted much of his career to exploring biblical geography, contributing to such works as The Moody Atlas of Bible Lands (Moody Press, 1985), Biblica, The Bible Atlas:  A Social and Historical Journey Through the Lands of the Bible (Global Publishing, 2006) and The New Moody Atlas of the Bible (Moody; Oxford: Lion Hudson, 2009).

“When one takes a look at Scripture, one finds hundreds and hundreds of references to geographic reality,” Beitzel said in a Trinity Magazine article about his 2016 retirement after 40 years of service. “The Bible’s use of the geographic dimension allows it to stand in radical opposition to other holy writings.”

“We congratulate Barry Beitzel on his fine work as well as this most significant recognition,” president David S. Dockery said.

Grant Osborne, Beitzel’s late colleague on the TEDS faculty, wrote a review at the time of the book’s release.

“It is very rare for me to say in an endorsement that a work is ‘invaluable’ and a ‘must purchase,’ but this is one of them,” Osborne wrote. “As one who has been writing commentaries for over 30 years, my only question is why someone didn’t think of this a long time ago?”

“None of the current ‘background commentaries’ offer quite the same level of detail on geographical places,” wrote J. Daniel Hays, professor of biblical studies at Ouachita Baptist University in a review cited in the award announcement. “Particularly when studying the Gospels, geographic context is helpful.”

Hays added: “One of the strengths of the book is that it doesn’t just discuss geographical places in isolation but interweaves them with the Scriptures themselves, producing insights that help clarify our understanding of specific texts.”

Other recent Christianity Today Book Award winners from the TEDS faculty:

  • 2017 – Kevin Vanhoozer, theology/ethics
  • 2016 – John F. Kilner, theology/ethics
  • 2015 – Kevin Vanhoozer, theology/ethics
  • 2014 – Constantine Campbell, biblical studies

Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels is available for purchase online at Lexham Press.

Another 2019 Christianity Today Book Awards winner is a two-time TEDS alumnus.

Sam Chan earned a Master of Theology (2000) and a Doctor of Philosophy (2006). His book, Evangelism in a Skeptical World: How to Make the Unbelievable News about Jesus More Believable, took top honor in the Apologetics/Evangelism category. Emeritus professor of New Testament Donald A. Carson wrote the foreword for Chan’s book, which Zondervan published in 2018. 

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