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Justification: An Introduction

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When we see the fallenness of the world, it is often challenging to understand how sinners can stand before a holy God, but the gospel gives hope—justification that comes through Jesus Christ. This doctrine is essential to the gospel but has sparked countless academic and theological disagreements throughout church history, even contributing to the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century.

In this addition to the Short Studies in Systematic Theology series, Thomas R. Schreiner examines the biblical and historical background of the doctrine of justification. Schreiner explores it throughout church history and analyzes both the Old and New Testament teachings. By examining the relationship between justification and other doctrines of salvation—such as redemption, reconciliation, adoption, and sanctification—Schreiner shows how it gives peace, assurance, and joy to sinners through Jesus and hope for life today.


“This book is a comprehensive and important introduction to the subject of justification by faith alone, which is one of the most important Christian doctrines and key to understanding the true nature of Protestantism. Schreiner’s presentation is informative and lucid, making it one of the best ways for students and others to grasp what justification is and why it matters today as much as ever.”
Gerald Bray, Research Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School; author, Biblical Interpretation: Past and Present

“There is no doctrine more important to the Christian faith than the doctrine of justification. There is no biblical scholar I’d rather learn this doctrine from than Tom Schreiner. This short book features one of our era’s most prominent theologians concisely explaining the very doctrine upon which the church stands or falls. That is more than enough reason to read this book and benefit from it.”
Tim Challies, author, Seasons of Sorrow

“This wonderfully rich and concise study models how to grasp and explain a central Christian doctrine. Schreiner unfolds the Bible’s understanding of justification, the struggle for its preservation through the centuries, and its rediscovery at the Reformation. Rich in exegetical detail and interaction with alternate understandings, this study succeeds magnificently at presenting just what justification is and why it is central to Christian life and thought. In Schreiner’s words, ‘it gives us assurance, frees us from fear, and awakens praise in our hearts.’ A profound yet practical book to study and to treasure!”
Robert W. Yarbrough, Professor of New Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary

“With his characteristic clarity, Schreiner harvests the fruits of his many faithful labors as a New Testament scholar and Christian minister in this introduction to the doctrine of justification. The book ranges widely—covering church history, the biblical material, contemporary challenges, theological formulation, and practical application—but it remains succinct and accessible. Foundational to this brief account is Schreiner’s career of careful exegetical and theological study and meditation. He reminds his readers that justification by faith alone is no mere theological quarrel. It is the source of the Christian’s assurance, freedom, and joy!”
R. Lucas Stamps, Chair of the Hobbs School of Theology and Ministry, Oklahoma Baptist University

About the Author

Thomas R. Schreiner (MDiv and ThM, Western Seminary; PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is the James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and associate dean of the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.