A Biblical Theology of Repentance (A Review)

I’m thoroughly impressed by this book: Return to Me: A Biblical Theology of Repentance by Mark Boda.  As the subtitle suggests, the book traces the theme of repentance from Genesis to Revelation.  The term “biblical theology” here simply means that Boda walks through Scripture from beginning to end and points out the various ways repentance is mentioned, exhibited, and explained.  The material covers right around 200 pages, so it is not overwhelming or overly tedious.

The strengths of this book are many.  First of all, Boda writes clearly and with a level head.  He doesn’t go off on rabbit trails, nor does he speculate and make philosophical statements about repentance.  Instead, he takes biblical material, explains it, and summarizes it for the reader.  A second strength of this book is the summary section of each part.  Each part of the book is based on a section of the Bible (Torah, Former Prophets, Latter Prophets, Wisdom, etc.) and at the end of each part, Boda writes an excellent summary that really crystallizes the material.  I usually don’t get excited about summaries, but this book is an exception!

Another strong point of the book is the concluding points at the end of the OT section and the NT section.  In these concluding points, Boda makes some observations about repentance and does a little application work (he talks about the motivations and purposes of repentance, for two examples).  The final chapter of a book is a helpful discussion on the theology of repentance.  Finally, I appreciated how Boda didn’t just do word studies and trace words through the Bible; he did more than that by examining themes and stories as well.

I could go on in explaining how helpful this book was for me.  I’ll certainly come back to it here and quote parts of it in the next few weeks.  For now, if you want an outstanding biblical look at repentance, I very highly recommend Return to Me by Mark Boda.  It’s a great resource on what it means when Scripture calls us to repent and turn to the Lord!

Shane Lems
Hammond, WI

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