A lot of commentaries tend to get bogged down in details and cultural arcana that may be interesting to scholars butare of little help in understanding a given text. While The Gospel According to the Old Testament isn't acommentary per sé,it does an excellent job of revealing the underlying message and narrative arc of the Old Testament without needless forays into abstruse topics or laborious verse-by-verse analysis. Accessible and clearly written, these short introductions are a great place to start a more in-depth investigation of Old Testament theology and meaning.
Authored by a variety of Reformed luminaries, the series (as its name implies) helps readers follow the course of the Covenant between God and His people from the beginning until Christ's coming and fulfillment. Whereas similar volumes would operate on a book-by-book basis, these investigate key individuals in the history of redemption. For instance, instead of a book on 1 and 2 Samuel, Mark Boda has written After God's Own Heart: The Gospel According to David covering the life and writings of the second king of Israel, as well as his place within the stream of biblical history and theology.
Integration is a major theme in this series. Nothing and no one is seen as an isolated event; rather, everything is examined according to its relationship to the past and its importance for the future of the overall Scriptural narrative. Of course, Christ is the central concern. Many Evangelical Christians seem to think the Old Testament is just a bunch of moral stories teaching us good character: the belief of the authors and editors of these books see it as a foretaste and preparation for the life and work of Jesus Christ, and that to fully understand the New, we must first understand the Old. At the same time, personal application is not ignored, and there is plenty of good insight to balance the weighty doctrinal concepts.
Currently there are nine volumes in the series covering Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Job, Ruth, David, Elijah and Elisha, Daniel, Hosea, and Jonah; a tenth book about Zechariah is due out in November 2010. While the books do follow the chronology of the Old Testament, they can be read in any order or wholly independently. Whether you're just looking to wet your feet in Old Testament studies, want a better understanding of the relationship between the Old and New Testaments, or just want a good introduction to individual elements of the biblical story in light of Christ's continued presence, this is an excellent series to investigate.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
Did you find this review helpful?