Some helpful books on the Old Testament


The Old Testament can sometimes seem difficult to Christians. I'm lecturing on Genesis at the moment and am getting tons of questions on stories all the students know well. You see that's the thing, we know the stories, but sometimes we don't understand how they fit together or what they've got to do with us today. Anyway, I thought I'd take this opportunity to recommend a few books which help with just that problem.

First up is Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel and Kingdom: A Christian Interpretation of the Old Testament (Paternoster,1981), which I recommend to all my Old Testament students. It's a short book and not at all difficult to read, but incredibly helpful for seeing what it really means to interpret the Old Testament as a Christian. Goldsworthy doesn't want to see us exchange a Christ centred interpretation for the simple moralisms that we can come up with if we neglect to look for Christ in all of Scripture. It's also a great introduction to 'Biblical theology'.

I also highly recommend another Goldsworthy book, Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture: The Application of Biblical Theology to Expository Preaching (Leicester: IVP, 2000). This book, while obviously useful for preachers, is very helpful at looking at Christ-centred interpretation of the various sections of the Old Testament. However, I recommend you read Gospel and Kingdom first!

Peter Leithart, A House for My Name: A Survey of the Old Testament (Moscow, Idaho: Canon Press, 2000). Is a great overview of the whole of the old testament, showing how it all fits together and points to Christ. Leithart says that he has written the book particularly for families to read together, but this does not mean that it's too simple for seminary students and pastors. On the contrary I believe that Leithart's book will provoke much serious thought in its readers, and hopefully much serious interest in the Old Testament.

Anyway, I hope some of you find these three recommendations useful. The Old Testament makes up a considerable proportion of our Bible, and so it's important that we understand it. When I'm teaching Old Testament classes, one of the things I really want to try and do is show my students how important and interesting the Old Testament really is. I think these three books go a long way towards that goal. Jesus on the road to Emmaus, 'beginning at Moses and all the Prophets ... expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself' (Luke 24:27). The Scriptures they had a that time consisted only of the Old Testament. If Jesus taught that the Old Testament was about Him, should we not endeavour to learn about Him there too?

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