Book Review: An Introduction to Biblical Ethics
Author: David Jones
Publisher: B&H Academic
Reading Level: Moderate
“The Ten Commandments are not a form of bondage but are a result of freedom from bondage and will produce liberty. Indeed, God was telling his people that the goal of the law was to produce freedom, not captivity” (138-139)
An Introduction to Biblical Ethics (henceforth, IBE) is part of the “B&H Studies in Christian Ethics.” Author David Jones bolsters an already successful series with a look at biblical ethics and its daily practice in the Christian life. Written for
Jones starts IBE with an extremely helpful introduction chapter. Presuming no prior experience with ethics, Jones breaks down the field in general before moving to the detailed approach of biblical ethics. He defines biblical ethics as “the attempt to understand what it means both to live and to think biblically” (6). There are qualifications on ethical systems (7-13) and the differences between conduct, character, and goals (20-26). This introduction establishes the Scripture-focused baseline for Jones’ work. The remainder of the book is divided in talking about the law in general (chapter 2-6) and the Ten Commandments specifically (chapter 7-8).
Jones takes a position on God’s revealed law that walks a fine historical line. There are important qualifications about the law and historical Christian positions in the chapters titled “The Relevancy of the Law” (chapter 4) and “The Coherency of the Law” (chapter 5). The theologies of theonomy, antinomianism, and Luther are evaluated with strengths and weaknesses described. Oversimplifications and misconceptions are dissolved on every page. Jones’ position falls along a strong Reformed perspective which permits some phenomenal assertions such as “to suppress knowledge of God’s attributes is tantamount to breaking the law” (50) and “Indeed, the gospel is no less comprehensive that the fall, which affected all areas of life” (64). God’s revealed law is highly praised throughout IBE by Jones.
The final two chapters of IBE are dedicated to walking through the Ten Commandments (chapter 7-8). These chapters are good introductions to the Commandments. However, they do not add anything of significance to the reformation confessions and catechisms. In some areas, Luther’s Catechism as well as the Westminster Standards provide
In conclusion, An Introduction to Biblical Ethics makes for a good “
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.