The Old Testament for the Rest of Us!

24 Jan


Photo by Hondo on Mo

Write the blurb for the book jacket of the book you’d write, if only you had the time and inclination.

I suppose I would have to choose which book I would want to blurb about. I actually have several in mind, some I have rough drafts, and others, I have written a few pages already. The books span from fiction to biblical interests. One of the books I have in mind would be on the Old Testament, since this was my area of concentration in school. I have already written some of it, sketching some ideas and topics to cover.

Basically, the idea would be to help make the Old Testament (OT) more accessible to believers. I have had several people tell me, when they learn I concentrated in OT studies and Hebrew, that they have always found the OT fascinating; but, have also been a bit intimidated by it. Just recently a lady told me she would love to attend a class of me teaching from the OT because she felt she had major gaps in her knowledge in relation to that portion of scripture.

I know she is not alone. The OT does present certain problems to us. It is a vastly different world and social context. There are paradigms and morès with which we are not familiar. There is all the blood and guts of sacrifices and battles and wars that make us uneasy. There is the misunderstanding by some that the God of the OT is a vengeful, wrathful . . . basically, a mean, grumpy God who is ready at a moment’s notice to strike down any and all who disobey him. Of course, in fairness, many of the judgment passages found in the OT are difficult. They are especially difficult for a New Testament (NT) believer to reconcile, often times, with the life and teachings of Christ. We think of his life and way as a way of gentleness and meekness, love and compassion, grace and mercy, forgiveness and kindness. And yes, Christ was all of these and more.

Of course, part of that and more is his teaching of God’s judgment and wrath. What is perhaps even more surprising than some of those hard to square with passages in the OT, is Jesus’ continued insistence of the reality of God’s judgment in the NT. Jesus did not shy away from it. He did not come preaching and teaching a message devoid of judgment or wrath. The Father, whom he revealed, is the same God who is righteous and holy and just. As in the OT, same in the NT, he is also a God who is merciful, loving and patient. But, there will be a time when judgment will come.

In fact, in a sense, according to Jesus’ own teaching, judgment is already here. Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3 that all those who do not believe in the Son of God (i.e. Christ) are condemned already. It is not just that they will be condemned (though the bible clearly teaches a future judgment), but that they are condemned already. Jesus’ message is one of grace and hope that by believing in him, by trusting in him as Savior and Lord we can be rescued from that condemnation. We can be saved, delivered from the wrath to come.

It is this that is the grace of God: that we all deserve condemnation, but God has made a way to escape it. God’s love demonstrated this by sending his Son to die for our sins. Jesus in essence, took upon himself our condemnation, so we could be delivered and set free from it. But, we must believe and accept his sacrifice on our behalf.

I know, I know this is a rather long blurb! Well, I suppose I would have to condense it a bit to fit on the jacket covers.

In essence, I would want it to say that the OT is accessible to us. Yes, it may be hard and difficult in places. It may even unnerve us and unsettle our sensibilities in places, but it is God’s word, it is truth. I would want to give some practical instruction in how to read and study it, to learn and apply it to our lives. The OT may be strange and somewhat unfamiliar to us, but it is not that scary! I would especially want to balance the view of all the wrath and judgment in the OT with the myriad of passages teaching God’s faithfulness, loyalty, love, grace, mercy, longsuffering, kindness, tenderness . . . etc. The God of the bible, whether OT or NT, is not a one-dimensional being.

Well, I suppose that would be it, more or less for that book. Now if I can just write it. Then I could write all those others floating around in the shadowy spaces of my mind!


Posted by on January 24, 2014 in Daily Prompt, Grace in the Everyday


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12 responses to “The Old Testament for the Rest of Us!

  1. Pingback: Edward Hotspur

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