Cover Image: The Covenants of Promise

The Covenants of Promise:
A Theology of the Old Testament Covenants

Thomas McComiskey (Baker, 1985)

Blurb Review by Meredith G. Kline


McComiskey's own assertion about this book is that it is an attempt to apply the structure of the covenants to biblical theology with the unique division of the OT covenants into 'promissory' and 'administrative' categories. His argument is that this complex 'bi-covenantal' structure within which God orders the inheritance to his people becomes discernable in the biblical text through a sound application of proper exegetical theology. The textual evidence leads him to question the way some tenets of traditional covenant theology have been expressed, but not the tenets themselves. He first explores the promise in its Old and New Testament settings. Then he deals with the way in which the promise is expressed in the major covenants, devoting considerable space to the law in the teachings of Jesus and Paul. Next he argues that the promise covenant is eternally valid and that circumcision, the law, and the new covenant are 'administrative covenants'. Finally, he examines the implications of this structure for biblical theology. Selected topics are the redemptive relationship between the Father and Son, the covenant of works, law and grace, and the relationship between the testaments. Very valuable for its attempt to interpret and structure the covenants by more than simply their sequence.


1. The Promise
2. The Promise and the Covenants
3. The Nature and Function of Covenant in the History of Redemption
4. The Promise Covenant as a Theological Category
5. The Administrative Covenants as Theological Category
6. The Extent of Covenant as Theological Category
7. The Hermeneutical Implications of the Study

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