Herbert Bateman’s Charts on the Book of Hebrews is the latest in Kregel Academic’s Series, Charts of the Bible. Hebrews is a book that has always been fascinating to me. Unsure of who wrote it, and often shocked at the overt depictions as Jesus as the Messiah, still the Council of Nicea voted to include it in the New Testament canon. Tons of books have been written on the subject, but the beauty of Bateman’s work is the simplicity of it. He covers virtually every aspect of Hebrews through simple to use (and easily reproducible, for those teachers out there) charts which offer a systematic approach to studying the Book of Hebrews.
In particular, I thoroughly enjoyed Part 2, “Old Testament and Second Temple Influences on Hebrews.” Ever since my introduction to worldview-story biblical theology by N.T. Wright, I’ve been drawn to studying the context of not only the Biblical writers, but their audiences as well. Bateman offers a clean, and simple analysis of how these worldviews (which rightly belong in the first century AD) had an impact on the Book of Hebrews. The examination of Melchizedek was particularly interesting, and has given me much to chew on in the coming months.
The other three parts of the book are, of course, worth looking through as well. The sections devoted to “Theological Themes” and “Interpretive Issues” would have served me well in college. I would imagine those sections alone will find their way into many a graduate student’s personal notebooks in the near future.
Bateman’s knowledge is precise and deep. While I personally feel Kregel’s price of $27 is a bit steep, I can’t deny that this is a valuable book. For pastors and students of the Bible, this is a great tool to have one the shelf.