The God Who Makes Himself Known: The Missionary Heart of the Book of Exodus, By W. Ross Blackburn
The God Who Makes Himself Known
  • Length: 238 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.5 in
  • Published: May 24, 2012
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 2629
  • ISBN: 9780830826292

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The Lord's commitment to make himself known throughout the nations is the overarching missionary theme of the Bible and the central theological concern of Exodus.

Countering scholarly tendencies to fragment the text over theological difficulties, Ross Blackburn contends that Exodus should be read as a unified whole, and that an appreciation of its missionary theme in its canonical context is of great help in dealing with the difficulties that the book poses. For example, how is Exodus 6:3 best understood? Is there a tension between law and gospel, or mercy and judgment? How should we understand the painstaking detail of the tabernacle chapters?

From a careful examination of Exodus, this New Studies in Biblical Theology volume demonstrates that

  • the Lord humbled Pharaoh so the world would know that only God can save
  • the Lord gave Israel the law so that its people might display his goodness to the nations, living in a state of order and blessing
  • the Lord dealt with Israel's idolatry severely, yet mercifully, for his goodness cannot be known if his glory is compromised

In the end, Exodus not only sheds important light on the church's mission, but also reveals what kind of God the Lord is, one who pursues his glory and our good, ultimately realizing both as he makes himself known in Christ Jesus.

Addressing key issues in biblical theology, the works comprising New Studies in Biblical Theology are creative attempts to help Christians better understand their Bibles. The NSBT series is edited by D. A. Carson, aiming to simultaneously instruct and to edify, to interact with current scholarship and to point the way ahead.

"The God Who Makes Himself Known is a thought-provoking book. . . . Careful reading of this volume demands frequent pauses for reflection on the inner-canonical connections that Dr Blackburn unpacks with stimulating verve. I am quite certain that most who work their way through this volume will never be able to read Exodus in the same way they did before doing so—and that is high praise."

D. A. Carson

"Blackburn deserves our thanks for skillfully steering us through the whole of Exodus, enabling us to see not only the trees but also the forest itself. Not only does the text of Exodus come alive in a new way, but the God of whom it speaks becomes more clearly known. To this end, Blackburn truly guides his readers to the missionary heart of Exodus."

T. Desmond Alexander, Evangelical Quarterly, 86.2 (2014)

"Blackburn's book is a stimulating study that will provide those who plan to preach or teach through the book of Exodus with much useful material."

Vox Reformata, 2013

"I recommend this book to anyone with a desire to better understand the book of Exodus, especially the missionary theme of Exodus."

Kadija Hedley, Missiology, 41(4)


Series preface
Author's preface

1. Introduction
Concerning biblical mission
Purpose and approach

2. The name of the redeemer (Exodus 1:1—15:21)
The problem: Exodus 3 and the name of the Lord
That the name be known (Exodus 1:1)
The name unknown (Exodus 1:8—2:25)
The name made known (Exodus 3—14)
Israel?s continued acknowledgment: ceremonies of deliverance
The name known (Exodus 15)
Conclusion: concerning Exodus 6:3

3. Training in the wilderness (Exodus 15:22—18)
The problem: the significance of the wilderness
Exegesis of the wilderness section
Conclusion: the theological function of the wilderness section

4. The law and the mission of God (Exodus 19—24)
The problem: law, gospel and the generosity of God
You shall be holy
The law and the goodness of God
Conclusion: law and gospel in Exodus

5. The tabernacle instructions (Exodus 25—31)
Problems with tabernacle interpretation
The theology of the tabernacle

6. The golden calf (Exodus 32—34)
The theological problem of Exodus 34:6-7
Exodus 20:3-6
From (near) ruin to restoration: the theology of Exodus 32—34
Conclusion: a proposal for Exodus 34:6-7

7. The tabernacle construction (Exodus 35—40)
The problem: tabernacle theology and canonical order
The priority of presence in the Lord?s mission
The repentance of Israel
Conclusion: the glory of God among the nations

8. Conclusion
Index of authors
Index of Scripture references


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W. Ross Blackburn (Ph.D., University of St. Andrews) serves as the rector of Christ the King, an Anglican Fellowship in Boone, North Carolina, and teaches biblical studies at Appalachian State University.

D. A. Carson

D. A. Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.