Book Review: The Holy Spirit–In Biblical Teaching, through the Centuries, and Today by Anthony Thiselton

Holy Spirit quote

Introduction: Thiselton seeks to look at the doctrine of the Spirit biblically, historically, and theologically.

The Good: The most helpful part of the book was his historical survey of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, particularly the key figures and their theology.

The Bad: Thiselton needs a new editor. The book had numerous mistakes throughout. Also, I found the book to be frustrating because he doesn’t show his cards until several hundreds of pages in. Perhaps seeking to remain ‘neutral,’ Thiselton will describe an person’s theology and then give no judgment statements; readers are left to guess whether Thiselton agrees or disagrees with the theology just described. Additionally, Because of the magnitude of his undertaking (biblical, theological, and historical– in one volume!), the book feels like his is skimming along the surface of nearly every area. The size of his task makes depth of study near impossible.

Overall: I was super excited to dive into this book. Thiselton’s reputation, especially in hermeneutics, produced much excitement when this book was released. Unfortunately, this book was ultimately disappointing. It was, however, helpful to me in one area: an historical summary of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. For that reason alone, I will keep it on my bookshelf as a reference. Other than that, there are other works that I would recommend on pneumatology (e.g., Ferguson, Bloesh, Cole…) before this one.


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