Scandalous by D.A. Carson

April 2nd, 2010

Carson, D.A. Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2010. 176 pp. $15.99. Purchase at Westminster.


D.A. Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He currently serves as a guest lecturer in academic and church settings around the world and has authored or edited more than 50 books.

This current book is based on five lectures delivered at Mars Hill in Seattle, Washington in 2008.


Based on those five lectures, this book is divided into five chapters though they are arranged differently in the book than the day they were delivered in Seattle.  Chapter one looks at the many ironies of the crucifixion process and what was said by those around Jesus found in Matthew 27:27-51a.  In the second chapter, Carson looks at Romans 3:21-26 and argues that this passage is indeed the center of the whole Bible.  In this chapter, he argues–rightly–for the propitiation of sins by Christ.

Chapter three on Revelation 12 is very helpful in understanding apocalyptic literature and how it relates to not just the Second Coming of Jesus, but His first as well.  The chapter on John 11:1-53 (ch. 4) was, in my humble opinion, the most helpful chapter.  Here, Carson clears up a lot of misunderstandings about the raising from the dead of Lazarus.  The most important clarification involves the text found in verse 33 where we read that Jesus “was deeply moved.”  Carson argues that the original language does not support this translation.  It should be translated that Jesus was “outraged.”  He proceeds to show how this makes the most sense of the context surrounding the passage.

The book concludes with a chapter on doubting Jesus’ resurrection.  This chapter helps the reader to understand how to better discuss with those who do not believe.


Any book by D.A. Carson is worth owning in one’s library. This book on the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is very timely and one that every Christian who enjoys reading theology should read.  Carson expertly teaches on five important passages that are central to the gospel message that many of us preach and teach today.

Through careful exegesis and excellent application for today, Carson offers five messages on what is truly the most scandalous claim made in the world today–that God became flesh, dwelt among us, died, was buried, and resurrected so that we might be made right with Him even though we do not really want it! How foolish!  How scandalous!  Read this book and fall in love with the slain Lamb all over again.

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