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We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry
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We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  159 ratings  ·  19 reviews
The heart of the biblical understanding of idolatry, argues Gregory Beale, is that we take on the characteristics of what we worship. Employing Isaiah 6 as his interpretive lens, Beale demonstrates that this understanding of idolatry permeates the whole canon, from Genesis to Revelation. Beale concludes with an application of the biblical notion of idolatry to the challeng ...more
Paperback, 341 pages
Published October 8th 2008 by IVP Academic
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Peter Krol
I really enjoyed this book. Beale's thesis was extremely CLEAR and well-presented: what we revere is what we resemble, either for ruin or restoration. If we worship idols, we become vain like them (having eyes but not seeing, ears but not hearing) and are destroyed by them. If we worship the true God, we become like him, reflecting his glory to the world around us.

One thing that saddened me was that critical biblical "scholarship" has gotten to the point that Beale often had to prove that two ve
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Scott
At the outset, it should be noted that I love Biblical Theology. Ever since reading Jim Hamilton's "God's Glory in Salvation Through Judgement" last year, I have been attracted to how authors have explored and developed biblical themes that can sometimes remain carefully hidden with language, culture and other factors.

I heard about G.K. Beale through Hamilton's footnotes and have wanted to read something by him for some time. I own two other books but decided to go with this one first partly be
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David Rathel
Beale, it goes without saying, is an amazing Biblical theologian. Here he argues that the Biblical text continually warns us that a person will become like the object they worship (e.g., Israel worshipped 'deaf' and 'dumb' idols and therefore eventually became 'deaf' and 'dumb' to the Word of the living God).

Beale's insights are very helpful and the book is an enjoyable read.
My only criticism is this: Beale's work depends much on the intertextual connections (i.e., allusions) he believes to be
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J.E. Jr.
This one is both thorough and rich; as a biblical theology should be, Beale looks long and hard at what the Bible says about idolatry and idol-worship, and especially how it is formative to our souls, how it shapes our lives and our understanding of the world around us.

Beale’s grasp of biblical theology doesn’t need my endorsement — clearly he is accomplished and skilled at both understanding and teaching the Scriptures to us. No less so in We Become What We Worship: Beale is attentive to be exh
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BJ
Greg Beale is one of my favorite biblical theologians. This particular study has value for the layman and the scholar. At times, Beale's hermeneutic of intertextuality is difficult for the reader who does not enjoy scholarly argumentation, but intermingled throughout are plenty of biblical resources and comment that is not strictly scholastic. Beale's thesis that what one reveres one resembles for ruin or restoration is biblically and theologically proven in this book. He has opened up aspects o ...more
Travis
I found this book to be a thorough examination of the theme we become what we worship whether for ruin or restoration throughout scripture. Beale does an excellent job of using passages of scripture to demonstrate the claim that throughout the Bible man becomes like the object of his worship either for ruin or restoration. It provided new viewpoints on some classic passages concerning the idolatry of Israel and I found it an enjoyable read. Some sections seemed to drag as Beale continued to make ...more
Mike
Very, very good. We become like what or who we worship. God made us to reflect his glory, but when we follow after false gods, we reflect that glory instead. To the extent that we reflect the glory of another god, we fall short of the Glory of God.
Douglas Wilson
This is world class biblical theology.
Jason Custer
Beale has written an excellent theology of idolatry in this book. His main thesis is stated in the title of the book: we become like what we worship. We are by nature worshiping creatures, and we will eventually become like what we worship. If that is God, we will be molded into God's image (which is what we were created to do). But if we worship idols, we will become like idols.

Beale demonstrates that this idea about idolatry and worship permeates the Scripture. He looks primarily at Psalm 135:
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Adam Bradley
I tried, I really did. But I think I'm on the twentieth page of him re-re-restating the same connection between the same three verses and re-re-stating the same observation about the structure of Baal worship, and I'm giving up. Useful as a technical text, but I should've known what I was in for when the "A Brief Note" section of the Introduction went on for 13 pages.

I say this as someone who has spent months immersed in deep technical commentaries; the thesis of this book is solid and deserves
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Mike Conroy
This is a tough read. I had no idea what I got myself into when I started reading it. Beale is a scholar, and perhaps one of the leading Biblical Theologians. He traces the theme that those who worship idols become like those idols; dead, lifeless, and unable to perceive anything spiritual (Psalm 135: 15-18). I was challenged to see how dead and calloused my heart can get as I look to things that are false. I was encouraged to pursue and worship and take delight in the True God.
Alisha
I had to read this in my first semester of Bible college. It's a very heavy read, but the things you learn about idolatry I think are key in understanding how easy it is to let idolatry slip into your life. Even though I felt like it was boring, I know it was worth reading & it has helped me in my understanding of the theology of idolatry.
Kristi-Joy
The scholarship is good, though he takes his thesis too far. It's simply the most boring theology book I've ever read, and I love theology with a passion. My whole class despised it.
Christian
Solid work, but Beale was persuading me of something that I was taught years ago.
KJ
A very technical read. Edifying, but you've got to come at with all systems running
Matthew
This book wrecked my life (In a good way). This is a must read for all, Enjoy!
Daniel Wells
THE book on the subject. Must read.
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G. K. Beale (PhD, University of Cambridge) is professor of New Testament and biblical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is the coeditor of the Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament and the author of numerous books, including A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New.
More about G.K. Beale...
Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament The Temple and the Church's Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New The Book Of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (NIGTC) Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament: Exegesis and Interpretation

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