If you want to be your church’s Bible Trivia champ, you have to know your Old Testament: Which books are in the Pentateuch? Who was the left-handed judge? In what year did Samaria fall?
And yet, according to John H. Walton and Andrew E. Hill, authors of Old Testament Today: A Journey from Ancient Context to Contemporary Relevance, the Old Testament should be understood as something much greater than a Bible trivia resource. The problem lies with the reality that many people today don’t know how to handle the Old Testament. How should it be understood? How should it be read in relationship to the New Testament?
Answering these questions is the goal for Old Testament Today, and the emphasis is really on that word today. Walton and Hill want to move the reader of the Old Testament beyond biblical and historical trivia to greater understanding of the Old Testament’s message and significance for modern readers.
Walton and Hill state in the preface:
Our vision for this book is that we would be able to introduce students to the Old Testament by going beyond basic content to help them know just what they are supposed to do with it and what it is supposed to mean to them. Our hope is that this approach will remedy the all-too-frequent caricature of the Old Testament as little more than endless trivia, irrelevant history, and obscure prophecies only alleviated by some comforting psalms and models for living from the heroes and heroines of the faith. Students will not be overwhelmed by names and dates, but in contrast will be impressed with the way the Old Testament uniquely reveals the God of the universe. They will gain an appreciation for the central importance of this sacred text and in doing so will come to appreciate the literature, theology, and history for the contribution they make and, most of all, the role they play in the greater story of God’s plan for reconciling his creation to himself.
To accomplish these goals, Walton and Hill have stressed the coherence of the biblical texts by referring to several layers of the Old Testament’s connectedness:
- Each book of the Old Testament is coherent and has an inner connectedness.
- There is a connectedness between the books of the Old Testament.
- There is a connectedness between the Old Testament and the New Testament that we must understand in order to appreciate either one.
- There is a connectedness of believers across the millennia for which the Bible provides a foundation.
- There is a connectedness to all the levels of significance as the content serves as the basis for the message and theology, providing the foundation for our appropriation and application of the text’s teaching to our lives.
Old Testament Today can be used as a textbook for group study or for personal reading to gain a better understanding of the Old Testament. There are four main sections to the work: The Pentateuch, Old Testament Narrative, Prophets and Prophetic Literature, and Wisdom and Psalms. In addition to going into the depths of each of these types of literature, each section begins with five common factors to understand the connectedness described above: Orientation, Yahweh Focus, Key Verses, Outline and Key Plotline Terms.
There are lots of hidden gems in Old Testament Today such as the appendix providing 150 of the most significant chapters in the Old Testament. That’s a three-year plan for your weekly Bible study group right there! A glossary of terms is included so that unfamiliar terms can be easily looked up.
TIP: Add a bookmark for the glossary and leave the Library window open. Anytime you come across an unfamiliar word, you can double-click this bookmark in your Library window. A second tab will appear opened to the glossary, and you won’t lose your place where you were reading.
From a personal perspective I can say that Old Testament Today is my favorite kind of title to have in Accordance. It is graphically rich with hundreds of images, tables, charts and maps. The images have captions, which means that they can be included in image searches in Research. Purchase of this title includes the license to use any of these images, tables, charts and maps in teaching or preaching settings.
Old Testament Today has been prepared for use in Accordance with the following search fields: English Content, Scripture, Transliteration, Bibliography, Captions, Image Credits, Table Titles, Sidebar Titles, Page Numbers.
Old Testament Today ia available now at the regular price of $39.90.