Baker Academic has a brand new website! Click Here To Visit:

The Last Adam

A Theology of the Obedient Life of Jesus in the Gospels

Cover Art Request Exam Copy

Where to Purchase


There is much discussion today about how we are to understand the life of Jesus in the Gospels. What was Jesus doing between his birth and death and how does this relate to salvation?

The Last Adam considers the theological and soteriological significance of the life of Jesus in the Gospels from a primarily exegetical perspective. Brandon Crowe argues that Jesus is identified in the Gospels as the last Adam whose obedience recapitulates and overcomes the sin of the first Adam. Crowe shows that Jesus's obedience is presented by the Evangelists as the obedience of an anointed representative, which is counted vicariously on behalf of his people. Key topics covered include Jesus's baptism and temptation, his fulfillment of Scripture, the necessity of his works, the binding of the strong man and the inbreaking of the kingdom, and Jesus's death and resurrection. Crowe also discusses how his argument interfaces with systematic theology and the church's creedal traditions, which are often thought to say little about Jesus's life.

Correcting the Christian tendency to minimize the life of Jesus, The Last Adam explains why the Gospels include much more than the Passion Narratives and shows that all four Gospels present Jesus's obedient life as having saving significance.

1. A Tale of Two Adams in the History of Interpretation
2. The Last Adam and the Son of Man in the Gospels
3. The Last Adam as the Obedient Son of God
4. The Last Adam and the Fulfillment of Scripture
5. The Glory of the Last Adam in the Gospel of John
6. The Last Adam and the Kingdom of Righteousness
7. The Death and Resurrection of the Last Adam
8. The Last Adam and Salvation: Theological Synthesis and Conclusions


"Crowe's emphasis on the importance of Jesus's ministry combines exegetical detail, attention to reception-history, and a candid theological concern (with particular, but not exclusive, attention to the Reformed tradition). Crowe shows the theological yield of attending to the Gospels' presentation of Jesus as the new Adam who redeems through his life as well as his death."

L. W. Hurtado, emeritus professor of New Testament language, literature and theology, School of Divinity, New College, University of Edinburgh

"The issue of Jesus's relationship to Adam and whether the Savior's life, along with his death, was vicarious is a much-discussed, and sometimes debated, topic in theology. Brandon Crowe's The Last Adam presents a full walk through the issues tied to this discussion. It makes for fascinating reading as we come to reflect more on what Jesus's life and ministry may have been about."

Darrell L. Bock, executive director of cultural engagement, Howard G. Hendricks Center for Christian Leadership and Cultural Engagement; senior research professor of New Testament studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

"Whereas many Christians regard Jesus's life as little more than an anthology of Sunday school stories before his crucifixion, Brandon Crowe shows us that the Evangelists describe Jesus as the last Adam who saves people by his vicarious obedience to his messianic mission. Crowe explains not only why Jesus died but why he lived! In this book, Crowe provides a thorough description of the meaning of Jesus's life, how Jesus is the covenantal head of a new humanity, and how he lived for us and for our salvation. A great topic and well-written!"

Michael F. Bird, lecturer in theology, Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia

"Crowe makes an intriguing and creative case for Jesus being the last Adam in the Gospels. He demonstrates that Jesus's obedience is vital in the narrative and theology of the Gospels, which is a theme that has not been emphasized sufficiently in New Testament studies. Crowe's text is a genuine contribution to the study of the Gospels. We see in this volume the value of both biblical and systematic theology."

Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

"Modern New Testament scholars have sometimes missed or even denied what seemed obvious to the early fathers of the church--namely that the figure of Adam, and not merely the shadow of Israel, serves as the ultimate background to the Gospel narratives. In The Last Adam Brandon Crowe helps to right this wrong in a scholarly, comprehensive, readable, and indeed theologically thrilling way. Here is a work of carefully argued biblical scholarship that also makes a significant contribution to the work of systematic theologians. In addition it satisfies a great desideratum for ministers of the gospel and teachers: a resource book filled with a cornucopia of good things that will stimulate their thinking and enrich their preaching and teaching."

Sinclair B. Ferguson, professor of systematic theology, Redeemer Seminary

"Brandon Crowe continues to produce clearly written and thoughtful biblical scholarship that is consciously rooted in the Reformed theological tradition. This book is no exception, and I heartily agree with its goal--to show that Jesus's obedient life (not just his death) as explicated in the Gospels matters. Crowe's emphasis on Jesus as the last Adam is an important contribution to a theological reading of the Gospels."

Jonathan Pennington, associate professor of New Testament interpretation and director of research doctoral studies, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

The Author

  1. Brandon D. Crowe
    Anna Finegan

    Brandon D. Crowe

    Brandon D. Crowe (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary in Glenside, Pennsylvania. He is the author or editor of several books, including The Last Adam, The Hope of Israel, and The...

    Continue reading about Brandon D. Crowe


"Crowe mounts a convincing exegetical and biblical-theological case that the Gospels present Christ as a 'representative figure,' specifically, 'the last Adam.'. . . Crowe successfully makes the case that the Gospels present Jesus's obedience as necessary to salvation, as representative and vicarious, and as Adamic in character. . . . One virtue of Crowe's work is that it remedies a weakness that he notes in recent evangelical scholarship of the Gospels. This scholarship stresses the centrality of Jesus's life and obedience to the Gospels but fails to articulate adequately 'how and why' Jesus's life and obedience are important. Crowe's demonstration that Jesus undertakes his obedience as the Last Adam affords an explanation for its necessity to Christ's redemptive work. . . . The Last Adam is a welcome and valuable contribution to the study of the Gospels. It persuasively demonstrates its claim that 'obedience' and 'Adam' are critical to a balanced appreciation of the ministry of Christ in the Gospels. As importantly, it provides a hermeneutical model for the study of the Gospels, one that integrates exegesis, biblical theology, systematic theology, and historical theology. Both in what it says and in the way that it says it, The Last Adam commends itself to a wide readership."

Guy Prentiss Waters,

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

"Crowe's focus on the life and mission of Jesus is welcome."

Donald Senior, CP,

The Bible Today

"Crowe has written a wonderful book. . . . [It] is a great example of a kind of biblical theology that gives attention to narrow exegetical questions . . . to the main didactic purposes behind units of Scripture . . . to broader questions of theological reflection. . . . Along the way, Crowe suggests a copious amount of allusions, cross references, and thematic links that contribute to his overall thesis. The Scripture index alone is a valuable resource. Many of these claims are warranted and are repaid by thoughtful reflection. . . . Crowe services New Testament scholars and systematicians alike, and pastors preaching through one of the gospels would do well to keep a copy of The Last Adam on their desk along with their preferred commentary."

Micah McCormick,

Books at a Glance

"Crowe has contributed a great volume to the study of Christology that will be of benefit to pastors, scholars, and believers alike."

Before Dawn with the Son blog