About books > Vol. 1 > Commentaries
"Introduce subject matters found in the Bible and search for the interpretation within the Bible"
A book is a summarization of the author's beliefs. It expresses the author's set of beliefs, knowledge and ideologies, thus becoming the criterion upon which the author receives praise or criticism. An assessment of a person should be based upon primary sources such as his book, thesis, or other writings, not upon secondary sources, for those only serve to assist. I am not an acquaintance of the author. Not only have I not met him, but also I have not seen him from a distance or heard any recordings of his sermons. The only knowledge I had about him was from what I gathered from hearsay.
Coincidently, I had the opportunity to read this book. Unlike other times, I assumed a critical attitude in reading this book, underlining portions of it as I read. I read carefully and critically with curiosity. I thought, "What could he be saying in this book that is causing so many rumors about him? "
Dr. Nam-Sik Kim
Chief Editor of Kidok (Christian) Times
Visiting Professor of Chongshin University
Director of the Counseling Missions Research Center of Korea
President of the Presbyterian Church Korea History Association
I would like to summarize the characteristics of this book in a few points. First, the book interprets the Bible from the perspective of God's work of redemption. The history of mankind is unfolding according to God's providence and plan for the redemption of mankind. Emphasizing this point, the author narrates the entire book from the perspective of God's work of redemption, in line with the title of the book. This is a clear expression of the author's creed and an indication of the philosophical foundation that he believes and follows.
Second, the author promotes proper understanding of the Book of Genesis. Genesis is the introduction to the Bible, and is the gateway to the study of the Bible. The author chose to explore the core of Genesis, the genealogies (toledoth). The genealogies in Genesis are more than simple chronological records of births and deaths, for they work to reveal God's providence for salvation. The author endorses proper understanding of Genesis through his in-depth study of the significance and the flow of the genealogies in view of the history of redemption.
Third, the author allows the Bible to interpret itself. The author indicates in the introduction that he does not intend this book to be "atheological or scholarly piece of work." he is a minister and evangelist. His purpose is not to introduce a theological doctrine, but to introduce subject matters found in the Bible and search for the interpretation within the Bible, which is the most fundamental method of interpretation. There are many books that blur the main point with enumeration of different theories. However, this book brings out the extraordinary from the ordinary by simply following the theme of redemption history and interpreting it through the Bible.
Fourth, the book contains helpful reference inserts. This book introduces other people's views on the subject matter and offers readers the grounds on which to make a proper judgment for themselves. At times, authors tend to assert that their view is the best and foremost, but this book introduces differing views along with the author's standpoint and thus broadens the readers' scope of understanding.
Fifth, the book is written in simple, everyday language. The author explains that the book is a compilation of his sermons. Perhaps this is why the book is written in colloquial style and contains the liveliness of a sermon, as if it were being preached from the pulpit. The language we use to communicate needs to be a language used in daily life, and this book does an excellent job at utilizing the advantages of such method of communication.
The book is soundly structured and well edited. The length of the book has the merit of being adequate for the readers to read without feeling burdened. However, I would like to suggest two places for improvement. First, as I noted, the book is written in colloquial form, but it uses some footnotes. Footnoting is not mandatory in this kind of book, and it could act as a distraction that breaks the book's equilibrium. it may have been better if the book had focused solely on the presentation of the message without using footnotes. Second, I wish that the book were longer. I believe that the book could have provided greater strength to the readers had it been written in greater detail.
I was left with many question marks after reading this book, and I wish to share a few. First, why is the author of this book the object of so much criticism? I too had a preconception about the author acquired from biased information. Nevertheless, I became confused and even bothered with the question of why he became subject to such criticism. For instance, most scholars generally claim that it took Noah 120 years to build the ark, but the book clearly demonstrates, on the basis of the Bible, that it did not take 120 years. I find it regrettable that the truth about an author who attempts to interpret the Bible by using the Bible has been so misunderstood by many people all this time.
Second, why are the critics silent now? This book was first released on October 27, 2007. If there is a problem with this book, the critics should have brought it up and indicated the specific problems with the author's beliefs by now. Why are they so quiet?
Third, is it not time for proper and just assessment to be made? Criticism should be based on the person's primary sources, not upon the basis of someone else's criticism. Although there are impartial critics out there, we cannot deny that there are also many ill-willed critics and those who make criticizing others their profession.
After reading this book, I was struck with disappointment as I realized that the Korean religious community does not make sufficient effort to confront the actual source of subject matter in order to gain proper understanding and make proper assessment of the truth. Furthermore, I find it regrettable that preconceptions, personal relationships and politics play larger roles as the pivot point of judgment when the Bible, the Word of God, should be the criterion of all judgments.
Now, it is time for us to take the path of reconciliation. God has bestowed upon us the duty to live in harmony (2 Cor 5:18-19; Col 1:20; 1 Thess 5:13). We must reveal what must be revealed and apologize where apologies are necessary, so that we may walk hand in hand toward reconciliation. It is my desire that his book may become the priming factor that draws up the work of reconciliation.
Christian Time (January 3, 2008)
Excerpt from "The Book in Everyone's Topic" in Kidok (Christian) Times (January 7, 2008)
“A masterpiece, a timeless work that warrants a place on the bookshelves of every church and university.”
I am grateful for this opportunity to share my thoughts regarding the work of our most honorable and respected pastor, Rev. Abraham Park.
Rev. Park is not the author of many books, yet in this remarkable book I saw his profound ability to write. This book explains the reason for his great ministry and the large church that he pastors, the Pyung Kang Che-il Presbyterian Church. I could not help but think it would be a shame if he does not put more of his great work in writing.
From the beginning pages of this book’s profound message, my reaction was tearful prayers and thanksgiving. As I continued to read each page, I was assured, time to time again, that this book its style and writing, manifests a careful study of the Scriptures and was penned by someone who possesses a profound, in-depth understanding of the Bible. I thought that the author surely has spent years in ceaseless meditation and prayer, for each page is filled with endless inspiration of love and truth. Rev. Park is a minister who has spent many years on his knees in prayer, reading the Holy Scriptures hundreds of times, studying the Hebrew language, and researching a wide range of theological texts. He completed all these works with the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. His writing, page after page, is typified by his complete reliance on the Holy Scriptures. His writing is candid, and to the point, without unnecessary citations of other works or illustrations. It illuminates the fact that the gospel and message of salvation given to the church cannot be explained by anything other than the canon of the Holy Scriptures. It is rare to find writing like his, containing such a magnanimous message of truth and purity in every carefully selected word. This work is a masterpiece of clarity and truth rarely found in our time. This is why I boldly assure the reader that this book will remain a timeless work that warrants a place on the bookshelves of every church and university.
Rev. Park’s knowledge and understanding of the Bible are incomparably profound. All the verses of the Bible seem to be chronologically indexed in his mind- like a vein in the Holy Scripture’s inexhaustible gold mine that he has fully mapped. Rev. Park has the uncanny ability and insight to select the most appropriate text that will link and connect the most profound and complex passages that explain God’s truth.
Another fact of this book that caught my attention is that it is well organized, written in a form that it is easy to follow, and filled with the fruit of his studies from as early as 1968. He has also shared this message and this method of study since 1983 through his preaching and ministry both at home and abroad. This book is the result of fifty wonderful years during which his ministry developed and has been supported by over forty years of prayer and extensive meditation. In this light, this book is a solemn notice to our academic world.
My description of this book’s core value begins here. I had once given the excuse that I would have to think about writing a review of this book because I thought it impedient for a “historical theologian” to write a review on a book that deals extensively with “biblical theology,” and especially because it deals with Genesis and Old Testament theology. Nonetheless, to my own amusement, as I read the book, I saw that it is truly a work that ought to be deemed the “Magna Carta” of historical theology. The historical interpretations in this book spotlight the beauty of depth and insight found in the pages of biblical commentary. I do not say this merely because I am a historical theologian but because I found that the very premise and method of study for historical theology, its actual history, acute discernment of historical writing and its descriptions are clearly indicated in this book. This is a new revelation into the study of biblical history. Surely, this book sets a new precedent for all future studies of history. I found this explicitly typified in the first three chapters.
What is even more astounding to me is that Deuteronomy 32:7-8 is the verse that I have always considered as the premise of all of my studies of history. This is the very Scripture verse that Rev. Park has used for the heading of Part 1: “Remember the days of old; consider the years of all generations. Ask your father and he will inform you, your elders and the will tell you.”
Rev. Park considers this verse as landmark for this book, and it is a grand premise for his writing history and theology as well. I have never read any of Rev. Park’s writings prior to this occasion, and I am sure that most probably he has not read any of mine. Even if he has, I doubt that he would so easily know where I had mentioned of this verse, since it was only a minute part of my work. Therefore, my hear was struck with admiration and wonder when I saw this verse used as the pillar of his work.
With this in mind, you may now understand why I could not put this book down, but read it through again and again. As I reflect back on my initial thoughts about this book, I realize that I would have been greatly disappointed if I had not been asked to write a review of such a great work. Even more disappointing would have been if readers also missed the chance to hear this important message from a person such as I, who has many great things to say about it. Although it may not have been the original intention of the author, this book introduces an innovative method and system of study that qualify it as a model for any study of biblical history in modern times. It is truly a Christian representation of historical philosophy.
The full title of this book is The Genesis Genealogies: God’s Administration in the History of Redemption. The author affirms that the Book of Genesis is not only an introduction to the entire Bible, but also a blueprint of the history of the redemption of mankind and the world. In this illuminating view of the Genesis account, Rev. Park sees a picturesque and compact version of the Bible= a “micro-Bible.” It is like a biblical parallel to the principle of modern biogenetic theory claiming that the development of a microscopic stem cell taken from flesh or bone can become the seed for recreating an entire body. He also purports that a thorough understanding of Genesis will uncover the mysteries of the redemptive history of mankind found elsewhere throughout the Holy Scriptures. Hence, this book can also be properly called “God’s Work of Salvation as Viewed through the Genesis Genealogies.” It is truly is a work that deals with more than just the origin of creation, or Genesis, for it logically organizes the insight of God’s work of redemption history from the Scriptures.
Rev. Park states that faith comes from the past. He argues that the “days of old” refers to a history of God’s love and compassion, including the entire process of His redemptive work. These words of wisdom pierce the soul and the core of the Scriptures. To Christians who would view the relationship between faith and history as the central theme of the Word as found in the Scriptures, the entire Bible can be defined as God’s “history book.” However, many may never have considered this vital point. It may have been avoided in theological discussions due to its relativity and presumed earthliness. The fallacy of pietistic theology, if there is any, is the belief that salvation comes from isolation or alienation from the world. Nonetheless, it is clearly revealed and explained in this book that salvation and God’s providence are fulfilled in our day-to-day lives. In other words, this book does not treat faith as mere religious ritual, but makes it widely applicable to everyday life. This is the fulfillment of the long-cherished desire of Kwang Soo Lee, who in 1917 desperately hoped that the Korean church would adopt such thought and reflection. Thus, I say that this book is truly and achievement and work worthy of praise.
Rev. Park discovers the great foundation of historical salvation and redemption from the genealogies of the patriarchs. From his studies, he is able to distinguish God’s redemptive plan in the hundreds of years in which each patriarch lived. Futhermore, the manner in which he precisely interprets the names of the patriarchs from the source language is most fascinating; he reveals how the names and their meanings are directly related to the historical circumstances of each patriarch’s era. I could not help but marvel at his skill in subtly applying this new and fresh method of analogy. This perspective allows his readers to view the stories of the patriarchs as a type, not just in light of the stories of their lives, but in their connection to the current generation in our history. The intimacy between the message of the Bible and our reality cannot be explained any more vividly than this. Turning the Bible into a book that is “my story” is the outstanding achievement of this book.
The author unravels the mystery of God’s work of redemptive history by connecting each of the many patriarchs’ lives, one by one. This brings one to the conclusion that salvation is not accomplished by either accident or interruption. Rather, this kind of historical interpretation confirms that biblical history is a continually developing story in which salvation is fulfilled through a gradual progress, not by sudden change. Rev. Park construes this gradual progress in the revelation that Ezekiel saw by the river Chebar, in which living water trickles from the temple of God, gradually becoming a stream of water, then a river, then a much greater river, and finally a sea. This interpretation allows us to view eschatology as a completion of redemptive history fulfilled in the glorious return of our Lord rather than a fearful judgment that comes abruptly at “the end time.” Blessed with this understanding, one can look forward with thanksgiving and praise to the eschatological grace and blessings that are to come. This message reaffirms a gospel that marks Christianity as the religion of thanksgiving, joy and bright hop. Simultaneously, it is an indirect exclamation of history on earth that exemplifies God’s history of life and blessings.
Through devout faith and theology, the author has truly accomplished the great work of overlapping redemptive history with the history of the secular world. This surmounts the early Augustinian dichotomy of redemptive history and secular history that separated Christianity and the secular world. It is a monumental achievement of orthodox theology that avoids schismatic and mystical seclusion. It is amazing that this fact has been excluded from the customary studies of Genesis. If history progresses in a linear path and comes to its completion in the Second Coming of the Lore, then that in itself can become a general system for sacramental and incarnational theology, which are the mainstream theologies today. This belief is accurately highlighted and exalted in this book as the very foundation of the Christian faith, just like the meaning of Rev. Park’s title “Hui Sun”: the English meaning-for Hui is “light” or “to shine,” and Sun is “to spread,” “to provide,” or “to declare.” It is essential for the Korean church to enhance, embrace, and adopt this kind of theology.
This book not only is a guide that takes us into the marvelous depths of the Holy Scripture, but also will be a time-honored work of achievement and deserves attention from all the churches today for its great accomplishment in the theological and biblical study of the genealogies of Genesis.
Genesis, Jesus And Genealogies
All too often genealogies are viewed as uninteresting or even worse, boring. But Dr. Abraham Park's new book, The Genesis Genealogy Viewed Through God's Administration in the History of Redemption, demonstrates the great value and even the excitement of an in-depth study of Biblical genealogies. A strong foundation is necessary for any enduring structure. And so it is also true that the book of Genesis is a firm foundation for our understanding our beginnings, but it is also the basis for understanding ourselves as well as our relationship with God and with one another. One simply cannot overstate the importance of Genesis as the foundational paradigm for all Christian thinking. Dr. Abraham Park is to be congratulated for his important and worthy contribution to our understanding of this foundational book.
Dr. Park displays a remarkable facility with the Hebrew language. Time and again, his linguistic skills are on display. This indicates not only the seriousness of his research but also his love for the book of Genesis. He has rightly understood that one cannot grasp God's work of salvation, unless one digs deeply into the book of beginnings. The old adage that one cannot understand the future unless one first understands the past, holds true in Biblical studies. Dr. Park takes this adage to heart in this remarkable book.
Dr. Frank A James III. PhD, DPhil
The biblical point of departure for Dr. Park is Deuteronomy 32:7 where the song of Moses declares: "Remember the days of old, consider the years of all generations..." He carefully considers the ten genealogies of Genesis (of heaven and earth, of Adam, of Noah, of Noah's sons, of Shem, of Terah and Abraham, of Ishmael, of Isaac, of Esau, and of Jacob) and through each of these the history of redemption is clearly expounded. Dr. Park employs these genealogies to reveal the core of God's work of redemption in history which find their ultimate expression in the work of Jesus Christ.
There are several distinguishing features of Dr. Park's important book. First, it is a book suffused with Scripture. It is absolutely clear that Dr. Park loves the Bible and it is obvious that he drinks deeply from the fountain of Biblical study. Second, it has a clear evangelistic thrust. At many points the clear implication of his exposition is a warm invitation to embrace Jesus as Lord and Savior. Dr. Park, it would seem, has never lost sight of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20. Thirdly, I was delighted to see that he takes the historicity of the Genesis account seriously. In a day when some many modern theologians cast doubt on the historicity of Adam, for example, it is refreshing to see a firm affirmation of historicity. Finally, the text is clearly and well written. The average reader will not get lost in technical jargon, but will indeed see the teaching of Scripture with ease.
This book is a sweeping vista of God's plan of redemption from Genesis down through the ages to its final expression in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Dr. park's book is a journey worth taking. I heartily recommend this insightful work of Dr. Park for seminaries and colleges. I can assure this book will not disappoint. Read it, study it, pray over it and then put its wisdom to work in your life and ministry.
President and Professor of Historical Theology Reformed