In The Serpent and The Serpent Slayer, Naselli traces the theme of serpents and dragons throughout the Bible in order to provide a descriptive analysis of their characteristics. In terms of technicality, Naselli demonstrates a proper biblical theology methodology. He begins with the serpent in the garden and proceeds to trace the various occurrences of serpents and dragons throughout the Bible, offering commentary on distinctive characteristics of serpents and dragons. Naselli also relates the occurrences of serpents and dragons to the overarching story of the Bible, showing how God continuously defeats the serpents and dragons throughout the Bible, culminating in Jesus’ defeat of Satan.
In terms of information, Naselli doesn’t necessarily say anything novel, nor does he have to, but this work serves as a helpful compilation of all the relevant Bible passages relating to serpents and dragons. Especially helpful is Naselli’s descriptions of the characteristics of serpents and dragons as well as those who are influenced by Satan or follow after the pattern of dragons. For instance, Naselli notes that a key characteristic of serpents and dragons is that they seek to kill babies, informing that the serpent in the garden was to hate the woman’s offspring, the Pharaoh in Egypt who was a type of dragon murdered the Israelite babies, Herod who was a type of dragon murdered babies, and the dragon of Revelation seeks to kill the offspring of the woman. Such helpful descriptors help readers identify those who are following after the patterns of serpents and dragons.
The major weakness of the book is the lack of practicality. Readers will no doubt notice the lack of application and practicality early on. A reader will find himself thinking, “Ok, this is informative, but why does it matter?” Thankfully, Naselli does add a chapter devoted to application at the end of the book. However, the chapter still lacks practicality and seems to have been added as a perfunctory measure rather than out of the author’s desire to apply the information to the lives of the readers. This is seen in the fact that the application is fairly surface-level, lacking real depth.
Overall, The Serpent and The Serpent Slayer is a good book that is far more informative than practical. Readers will be able to follow Naselli’s writing easily, learn to identify traits of serpents and dragons, and gain a better understanding of the overall biblical story.
Crossway provided me with a free copy of this book as part of their blog review program.