Today’s book is provided by Kregel Academic and Ministry. They provide the book, I write the review. That’s the way this works.
Not too long ago, I was asked by a church member why we spend so much time in the Old Testament, when we are a New Testament Church. It’s a great question. Part of the answer is found in What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About. Put simply, it’s the subtitle: A Survey of Jesus’ Bible.
That’s one key reason the Old Testament matters to the Christian Church. When Jesus, the Apostles, or Paul read “Scripture,” they read what we call the Old Testament.
Because of that importance, many academic works exist on the Old Testament. These are often focused on the more academic issues: authorship debates, dating arguments, and proving historicity. What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About does the reader the favor of short-cutting much of that academic discussion and delving into the theological and devotional ideas in the text.
The academic issues are not ignored, but they are minimized. This means that, if you want a solid discussion of the Documentary Hypothesis or the dating of the Exodus, you’ll need an additional book on the shelf. If you want to hook people on the good things in the Old Testament, though, What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About is all you really need.
First, What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About is organized in the primary Hebraic order rather than the traditional English order. That’s enough to shake up how you read the Old Testament, and enough to highlight some great ideas.
Second, What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About assumes some critical ideas: inspiration, historicity, and the miraculous. This makes it a solidly evangelical, Bible-centric book, and I like that.
Third, What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About brings in scholars that are both competent in the field and accustomed to communicating at fundamental levels. This is no high-end dry treatise. (I have some of those, and I love them. Some people don’t.)
Fourth, What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About has COLOR PICTURES!! What can I say? That helps with attention-holding and brings the text alive.
In all, What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About is a delight to have on the shelf. It will be the resource I use for a church-wide Old Testament Introduction in the coming year, and I think it would be an excellent addition to the pastor, professor, or serious student of the Christian Scripture.
Note: free book from Kregel Academic & Ministry in exchange for the review. I find myself loving their output more and more, though there is no requirement that I hold the books in high esteem.