27 October 2017

Many Christians struggle to make sense of the Old Testament. If you fall into this camp, you're not alone. Its not easy, let's face it. Peter Gentry's new book, How to Read & Understand the Old Testament Prophets is a great read and one that can assist the Bible reader with comprehension of the O.T.

This is not a scholarly work. It is written in simple language that even the newest of believers will understand. It will open the door to some of the most difficult passages to wrap your head around and perhaps provide a new perspective on some of those same passages.

...reading and studying the Bible may not be straightforward for readers with a modern and Western background in culture and language. The biblical texts in origin are ancient and Eastern— they come from a different culture and a different time. Kindle Location 168). Crossway.

One of the highlights of the volume is acquiring an understanding of the difference between modern western literature and that of ancient Hebrew literature. There is a vast chasm between the two that most readers today are unaware of. Moreover, Hebrew authors employed the recursive approach.

The normal pattern of Hebrew literature is to consider topics in a recursive manner, which means that a topic is progressively repeated. Such an approach seems monotonous to those who do not know and understand how these texts communicate.  (Kindle Location 172). Crossway.

Grasping these two points will do much to enhance the reading and study enjoyment for the modern Bible reader.

As Gentry continues, he offers specific and valuable examples from the O.T., often from Isaiah. These examples will do much to increase the reader's grasp of the prophets. Word pairs, triplets, typology, metaphors, symbolic language and especially apocalyptic language are subjects covered with enough clarity that the reader will derive an enhanced ability to engage with the OT authors.

Of most import, why was this written for us? What was the ultimate purpose?

...one major purpose of the Old Testament prophets was to bring the people back to faithful love and loyalty to Yahweh in the covenant relationship established at Sinai (Exodus   19– 24) and renewed at Moab (Deuteronomy). (Kindle Locations 446-447). Crossway. 

I can recommend this book with great enthusiasm. Not all of Scripture is perspicuous and this book will be an indispensable aid to those who wish to delve further and more deeply in the study of the O.T.

Crossway has provided a complimentary copy of this book through Beyond the Page.


For further reading and study

Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament: Exegesis and Interpretation by G. K. Beale















Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament by D. A. Carson & G.K. Beale

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