Much of the research conducted by faculty at universities can appear to be inaccessible and daunting, produced largely for the benefit of other scholars. But their teaching, speaking and writing can also enrich a wider, more popular audience. In his recent published works, Craig Bartholomew takes that kind of “dual purpose” approach, which reflects his commitment to serve both the academy and the Church. These works centre on hermeneutics or, as he defines it, “learning how to listen to Scripture for God’s address.”
In November 2015, Baker Academic published Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics: A Comprehensive Framework for Hearing God in Scripture, a culmination of Bartholomew’s many years of scholarly work in this area. Next March, A Manifesto for Theological Interpretation, co-edited with Heath A. Thomas of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, will be released. Both of these books are significant scholarly accomplishments, providing fresh insights and a comprehensive approach to Biblical interpretation. They also build on the work of The Scripture and Hermeneutics Seminar, a growing community of Biblical and other Christian scholars, pastors and publishers. Bartholomew founded the Seminar and has led it for 14 years.
Bartholomew writes with an eye to pastors and laity as well. “Biblical interpretation should centred in the context and service of the church,” he notes. “These books are intentionally sensitive to the needs of professors, students and church leaders.” That practical focus is reflected in When You Want to Yell at God: The Book of Job, in which Bartholomew shares the beauty of one man’s struggle with God. Bartholomew’s service to the church is reflected in Jesus and Prayer in Luke, which will be published by Transformative Word next year, and in Excellent Preaching, which is based on an address he gave to the Synod of the Anglican Network in Canada. Both Excellent Preaching and When You Want to Yell at God will be included in a new 15-volume collection from Lexham Press.
Bartholomew has also provided the study notes for Ecclesiastes in the new NIV Zondervan Study Bible. “It has been a privilege to be part of the extensive team writing the notes for this new version,” he says. “Few things are more important than a renewal of Bible reading with a sense of the overarching message of Scripture, a distinctive emphasis of this new edition.”
There is a distinct, intentionally missional character to Bartholomew’s books and research. “All my writings, teaching and presentations, regardless of the audience, turn on the matter of ‘faith seeking understanding,’ in the service of Christ and his church.” It serves as a wonderful example of how the academy can work with and for the church for the advancement of the Gospel.
Dr. Craig Bartholomew is the H. Evan Runner professor of philosophy and professor of religion and theology at Redeemer. He has earned degrees from South Africa and England, including Oxford and Bristol universities. Bartholomew is also an ordained priest in the Anglican Network in Canada and has written a number of books for pastors and laity seeking to deepen their faith. He serves as priest and scholar in residence at St. George’s in Burlington, ON.