Redemptive Reversals and the Ironic Overturning of Human Wisdom

By G. K. Beale, Series edited by Miles V. Van Pelt, Dane Ortlund

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“But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” 

Matthew 19:30

The Bible is full of ironic situations in which God overturns the world’s wisdom by doing the opposite of what is expected—people are punished by their own sin, the persecution of the church is the catalyst for its growth, Paul claims to have strength through weakness, and more. In this book, biblical scholar G. K. Beale explores God’s pattern of divine irony in both judgment and salvation, finding its greatest expression in Jesus’s triumph over death through death on a cross. Unpacking this pattern throughout redemptive history, Beale shows us how God often uses what is seemingly weak and foolish to underscore his own strength and power in the lives of his people today.

Read Chapter 1


G. K. Beale

G. K. Beale (PhD, University of Cambridge) is professor of New Testament and biblical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary. In recent years he has served as president and member of the executive committee of the Evangelical Theological Society. He has written several books and articles on biblical studies.

Product Details

Category: Biblical Studies
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 208
Size: 5.25 in x 8.0 in
Weight: 8.08 ounces
ISBN-10: 1-4335-6328-2
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-6328-7
ISBN-UPC: 9781433563287
Case Quantity: 64
Published: November 12, 2019

Table of Contents

Foreword by Andrew A. White
Series Preface

Chapter 1: God Judges People by Their Own Sin
Chapter 2: People Resemble the Idols They Worship
Chapter 3: The Irony of Salvation
Chapter 4: The Christian Life: Power Is Perfected in the Powerless
Chapter 5: Faith in Unseen Realities Contradicts Trust in Superficial Appearances
Chapter 6: The Irony of Eschatology

General Index
Scripture Index


“The apostle Paul said that the gospel was foolishness to the Greeks and a stumbling block to the Jews. The gospel is just as scandalous and surprising today—or to use Greg Beale’s term, ironic. To encounter that irony is to stumble into strong evidence of the gospel’s divinity. Beale does a masterful job of directing us to a powerful internal testimony the Scripture gives of its truthfulness. Furthermore, Redemptive Reversals is overflowing with anecdotal illustrations, pastoral cautions, cultural connections, and practical applications. It’s a refreshing, unique, and important book all serious Bible students should have in their library.”
J. D. Greear, Pastor, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina

“Greg Beale is one of the most perceptive and fascinating New Testament scholars of our day. He reads texts in their historical context, but he also illustrates how particular verses and passages fit into the larger storyline of the Scriptures. In this wonderfully accessible volume, Beale helps us to see that God often works in ways that we would not expect and uses unlikely and ironic means to accomplish his purposes. We see from Beale’s work that God is sovereignly working out his purposes and his will and that we can trust him with our lives.”
Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“An extraordinary book. It lays out a deeply biblical understanding of how God has reversed sin in Christ and how he judges sin in the world, sometimes in surprising ways. With its acute insights and unique perspective, it is a very helpful study.”
David F. Wells, Senior Distinguished Research Professor of Theology, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

“This book opened my eyes to look for the consistent way that God works ironically throughout the Bible—the way he punishes sinners by means of their own sin, makes life possible through his own death, shows his strength through our weakness, and exalts those who are humbled.”
Nancy Guthrie, Bible teacher; author, Even Better than Eden