All That Agony for $7.99

When I read Paul House’s Old Testament Theology, it was clear to me that he had thought deeply about the literary structure of every book of the OT. I’m not talking about rehashing the notes of some prof whose class he took; I’m talking about reading the book, agonizing over how it’s put together, assessing the various proposals for structure, and then making a decision about how you think it’s structured that you’re willing to put in print. I was stunned and daunted by the time and effort I knew went into that project. That experience gave me, I think, the ability to tell when an author is really engaging the biblical material and when he’s trotting out a shallow schtick that he’s used in a talk or a lecture that he’s given a thousand times. I want to read authors who are writing from the overflow of long slow meditative reading of the whole Bible.

Imagine doing what House did for the OT for every book in the Bible, or at least making the attempt.

That’s the kind of book I tried to write. I’m not claiming that I nailed the structure of every book of the Bible, but I agonized, read, re-read, tried to see the whole, to remember all the pieces, and to put it all together.

The point of relating all this is to observe that you can get the Kindle version of the fruits of all my agony and struggle with the most important book in the world for $7.99.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not complaining! I’d love for everyone to have it in print or on Kindle (which you don’t have to have a Kindle to be able to use–you can get a free Kindle app for your computer or some other device). If I could afford it, I’d give copies away. It wasn’t written to make money. It was written in an effort to help people understand the structure of the particular books of the Bible and the Bible as a whole.

So thinking about all that effort for the low price of $7.99 has given me a whole new appreciation for the way that songwriters must feel about their albums, novelists about their books, moviemakers about their films. You get the picture. How do you put a price on a human being’s attempt at art–the attempt to help other people see what’s there–which arises from the soul, accompanied by many cries for God’s help, forged in disciplined labor, aided by talented careful editors, and brought out by an exemplary publishing company?

I don’t know how to answer that question, but I’m again thankful for God’s mercy, for life, and for the opportunity to have written this book.

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13 Comments

Filed under Art, Bible and Theology, Biblical Theology, Current Events

13 responses to “All That Agony for $7.99

  1. I’ll definitely give a notice at my blog.

    I’m working through your book, and loving it. It’s not only good scholarship, but it reflects your own love for God and necessarily resultant love for His Word (cf. Deut. 6:4ff.). Beyond that, it’s artfully-made, by which I mean that you phrase things memorably and creatively, and not just in a workmanlike manner. It’s terrific.

    I’m up to Matthew and expect ultimately to write a fuller and positive review… unless you go badly south later on. (c:

    Not to say I necessarily agree with every word, as with every book by anyone. By which I mean, I’ll pray for you and Isaiah 7:14.

    Now to my blog, to spread the word.

  2. Chuck Cruise

    Dr. Hamilton,
    I enjoyed reading God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment. To me it represents a respectful treatment of the scriptures and a viable center for biblical theology. I especially enjoyed your thoughts on how salvation and judgment balance one another and your interaction with Marshall and Witherington in chapter 8 re: defending God against accusations of narcissism in seeking his own glory.
    Thank you for the care you took in writing this book!

  3. Scott Adams

    Dr. Hamilton,

    Loved reading your thoughts here. I just ordered God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment for all the staff members of Frisco Life Church to read. They are absolutely pumped about it! We are going to use it as a devotional tool in our own time before the Lord and in our reading groups. I shared the definition you provided concerning the glory of God in staff meeting and it brought major clarity and revelation to those gathered. Thanks for your hard work! Looking forward to the next DMin seminar!

    Scott Adams

  4. I have a hard copy, as this book is definately one of those “hold it in your hands” works, but I was wondering if Crossway was working with Logos to provide this for L4? I would love to have this in my Libronix library.

    • I don’t know, but I think that someone requested that Logos get God’s Indwelling Presence and they did. So I’m not sure if this kind of thing comes from Logos or from Crossway . . .

  5. Dr. Hamilton,

    Let me add to the other comments by offering my appreciation of the book. I was eager to get it in print. I’m still working through it myself (in the NT now) but am using the book as a sort of guide in teaching book by book overviews through the Scriptures. We did Numbers last night, and my goal is not merely to recount the contents of each book, although there is some of that, but, as you have done in the book, show the people God’s glory in salvation through judgment from Genesis to Revelation. It literally leaps off the pages. Thanks again for your labors. I hope you, Jill, and the children are doing well.

  6. Dr. Hamilton,

    If it makes you feel any better, the Kindle price was a great blessing to me. I initially purchased the hardcopy at ETS. Now that my wife and I are headed overseas, I’m not only able to take the book with me electronically–but to do so on the cheap!

    Grace and peace,
    Michael

  7. RD

    I made a pledge to the Lord (and to my wife) that for the whole of 2011 I would not make a single purchase of either a book or CD. I would try to follow Paul’s admonition to “learn contentment” and be content to read the books I have (SO many unread volumes still fill shelves in almost every room– thus my pledge to my wife!! lol) and listen to the CDs I already own. SO I must wait until 2012 to pick up a copy!! I have to say, though, that I am very anxious to read it, Jim.

  8. Don’t think of the price as so immediately connected to the value or worth of your work. The sale price is more indicative of the delivery medium. It does not reflect the full cost to produce the book. It reflects the publishing cost, but the not the human cost for you to write it.

    Also, the sale price doesn’t reflect the full cost to the buyer either. Again, it reflects the value of the delivery to them. They pay a small price for the medium and then invest much mentally and emotionally to take in your work.

    In the end, you’re reducing the friction at the point of delivery. This in turn makes the book more accessible and your work spreads farther. Your work is important and people are rewarding you with attention. That’s a win that doesn’t reflect fully in the economic bottom line. If it is meaningful in a reader’s life, he will say it was a bargain at twice the price.

  9. I have been slowly working through your book and have found that I have enjoyed it so much it is one of those rare books I have on my Kindle and in print! So though $7.99 seems very low for something you have put so much hard work into, it has helped me connect to your work in a super easy way.

    I look forward to further publications coming from you electronic pen.

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