Skip to main content

Christian Faith in the Old Testament





Christian Faith in the Old Testament by Gareth Lee Cockerill

What happens when a seasoned New Testament scholar puts to paper his study of the Bible for over thirty five years?  In effect, what he creates is a beautiful synthesis of tapping the ‘apostolic roots’ of the Old Testament.  Yet, what turns out is much different than a historical survey or an academic project but is consistent with goal of having modern Christians search and apply the Old Testament Scriptures for their present lives.  With helpful diagrams, edgy analysis, and an eye at every point to how these Scriptures are fulfilled in Christ, Gareth has put together a wonderful resource for the church.

Highlights
The discussion regarding the Ten Commandments was most beneficial because it brings together the meaning of Decalogue through the lens of the two Greatest Commandments.  Gareth writes, “Figure 2 shows that the first four commandments (Ex. 20:1-11) explain what the Greatest Commandment means by loving God with all our heart, soul, and strength.  The last six (Ex. 20:12-17) shed light on what Leviticus 18:19 means by loving one’s neighbor as oneself……The Ten Commandments, then, were an expansion of the two Greatest Commandments and the fundamental principles upon which the old covenant was based.” (105)  Figure 2 that Gareth mentions is that of a house with the first four commandments being the foundation of the structure while the last six commandments are the housing and the roof.  At every point in the first four commandments, God is concerned with being the sole object of worship. To love the Lord your God is to deem him as the final and sole object of our affections, mind, and will.  Gareth constantly references these first four commandments in light of the temptation of Israel to follow her neighbor’s gods, assimilate into ANE culture without the slightest hint of being separate.  To connect the Greatest Commandments with the Ten is most helpful because it makes the point very clear; no one is able to fully engage his neighbor with love unless his first love is directed toward God, both the rescuer and creator of Israel.  Neighborly love is dependent upon a radical remembering of the mighty acts of God done in love (Deut. 7:6-8), so that love for others has a reference point from which to act. 

Gareth points to the future awaiting salvation for God’s people in the Old Testament.  He writes, “Job 19:25-27 appears to affirm the resurrection of the righteous.  Thus in its own way the book of Job joins the rest of the Old Testament in looking forward to God’s coming great salvation.” (180) The experience of suffering is paramount in the book of Job but doesn’t eliminate the future hope that Job has for salvation.  The evil that happens upon the Earth will run its course with an end point in the future.  God is the one who will restore ‘all things in righteousness.’ (180)  We are not left with fleeting hope in the Old Testament, but intimations, hints, types and shadows of the things to come with the appearing of the Messiah.  Gareth connects the coming of the Messiah with the Davidic King in earlier chapters that help us see how God is unveiling within the biblical story a larger narrative at work. 

I really enjoyed this book and plan on using it in teaching the Old Testament.  It is eminently practical and is a good resource to give to those wishing to do further study in the first testament. 


Thanks to BookLook and Thomas Nelson for the copy of this book in exchange for review.  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder
Misperceptions, misconnections, and missed observations are just some of the issues that Timothy Snyder raises in his book, Black Earth, concerning the Holocaust.  Snyder, no stranger to the frontlines of scholarship on the Holocaust, with his previous book Bloodlands, that concerns the land from Hitler to Stalin, takes a look at the Holocaust from new sources and new avenues of thought.  How did some nation-states survive relatively unscathed from Nazi persecution while others, notably Jewish populations, succumb to a wave of killings?  Also, what was the role of the Soviet Union in the war and how did Stalin effect changes in the Final Solution?  These questions are only two of the many that Snyder answers in his detailed account of the Holocaust.
One of the best chapters was entitled The Auschwitz Paradox.  Generally when the public thinks about the Holocaust, we think of Auschwitz first or at the top of our mental m…

the great spiritual migration

The Great Spiritual Migration by Brian D McLaren

Brian McLaren and his own pithy way brings to the foreground and emphasis on a new kind of Christianity. The kind of faith that Brian envisions is a kind of migration not been set in the bedrock of beliefs that is unmoving but rather shifting with both culture and with faith. His new book the great spiritual migration is exactly that, a pointed work that encapsulates a vision towards the future where Christianity is changing and its peoples lives are changed as well.

Brian states in the introduction, "but we also know that for a lot of people Christianity is malfunctioning, seriously so, and it's not pretty. This kind of frustration with conventional Christianity is what McLaren gets gets to at the heart of this message is concerned with a number of different clusters unbelief. One, namely that Christianity has been stuck in a set of propositions or beliefs that has controlled churches in the faith, rather then a spirit of love t…

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Growing up with the NIV, the NKJV was not a bible I was familiar with.  This new NKJV Study Bible takes all of the features of the Thomas Nelson Study Bible and makes them better.  Right out of the box I noticed that the Bible was considerably lighter than most study bibles I have read.  Further, the text font was much larger than most study editions, although I’m not quite sure of the size. The aquamarine color was a great touch and the Bible was finely put together, enduring the wear of many coming years of use.
Why is this Bible worth the purchase?  First, the study notes were great for extra handling of particular confusing and messy areas of Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments.  Yet, the study notes aren’t an obstruction to the reading of the biblical text.  Clearly, the editors have taken great care in making the text stand out and the notes illuminate certain themes and areas of Scripture.  Second, the NKJV takes into account all t…