An Evangelical Classic

A Short Life of Christ, by Everett F. Harrison (Eerdmans, 1968, 288 pp., $5.95), is reviewed by Richard N. Longenecker, associate professor of New Testament history and theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois.

In “a study that confines itself to the highlights” of the life and work of Jesus of Nazareth, Professor Harrison gives us a work highly suitable for use by the student, the minister, and the earnest layman. The book is hardly a retelling of events or a tracing of travels in the ministry of Jesus, as one might expect from the title; nor is it a critical introduction to the narratives, something the author provided ably in an earlier work. Rather, A Short Life of Christ is an interpretive study on an introductory level of the most theologically significant aspects of Jesus’ life and work, and it incorporates, easily and naturally, such often diverse features as history, biblical theology, apologetics, devotional asides, and even something of homiletics. It is the work of a master New Testament scholar who knows how to lead his audience effectively into the major issues of the Gospels, and how to write clearly and warmly.

A weakness one might cite in what is on the whole a most intellectually satisfying and spiritually stimulating work is an imbalance in the selection of topics. In the first fourth of the book we are taken through our Lord’s birth, infancy, boyhood, baptism, and temptation; the last half treats the events of passion week, resurrection, and ascension; less than one-fourth is allotted to Jesus’ earthly ministry between the temptation and the triumphal entry—only fourteen pages to “Jesus as Teacher” and fourteen ...

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