Old Testament Education

I’m now going through Revelation (and enjoying it a lot). I love reading commentaries and have gone from Romans through Revelation having done a lot of reading about Jesus from the historical perspective and also books pertaining to the Gospels.

After Revelation I would like to alternately read a commentary on an OT book with a Gospel and then Acts.

Regarding the OT I’d like to mention what I have and plan on reading. It’s the order of things that I’d like to ask you fine folks about.

I have von Rad’s Old Testament Theology, Creation and Blessing–a commentary/exposition of Genesis, Eaton’s commentary on Ecclesiastes, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Stuart and Fee (which I’ve read once) and The Symphony of Scripture by Mark Strom. Starting next year or earlier I plan on reading through the whole OT. I would also like to buy a commentary on Isaiah and possibly Daniel, the latter just because I like him. I also have the ESV and NLT study Bibles.

Since suffering is a subject of interest, I’ve done a lot of reading on Job and feel I have a relatively good handle on that one.

Given all that, what order would you read these materials? Should I read von Rad’s work first? If so, the whole thing or piece-meal? Something more basic on themes like The Symphony of Scripture? Should I read through the OT first? How would you go about it?

7 Responses to “Old Testament Education”


  1. 1 Nick Norelli

    I’d start with the OT itself before reading about the OT from others.  See what you think about it before letting anyone else influence you.  After that go chronologically and see how ideas developed over time.  That’s how I arrange similar material on my bookshelves.

  2. 2 Scripture Zealot

    That sounds like a plan.

    I’ve read the OT before and this will be my second, or kind of my third time reading it in its entirety straight through in addition to reading other parts many times. But I want to study it more this time.
    Jeff

  3. 3 brian

    I would agree with Nick, maybe even think about reading it through a couple times.  Then maybe focus on reading thematically such as reading the Pentetuch and some related books, then work on the Prophets (and related books) and then the Writings and some related books, etc).  Do you have any introductions too?   Hope this helps.  Sorry to have missed this post before. 

  4. 4 Scripture Zealot

    Brian, I have von Rad’s Old Testament Theology although I don’t know if that would qualify as an introduction. I wonder if An Introduction to the Old Testament: Second Edition by Tremper Longman III and Raymond B. Dillard would be good.

    I have The Symphony of Scripture which is a very popular level book that I’ve read part of in the past and it’s pretty enlightening. I may just read any OT related stuff in that book first, then read the OT. I think then reading it again thematically is a good idea but I may need to pick and choose what I read in addition to the Bible or I’d never have time to read the NT!

    Are you thinking commentaries or something else referring to the thematic stuff?
    Jeff

  5. 5 brian

    Yes, the Tremper one would be fine – or even the one more recent by Arnold and Beyer, Encountering the Old Testament (Baker, 2009).  A Theology covers the theological themes and such whereas an Introduction covers more the basic issues of authorship, provenance,basic background issues, and a basic survey of the issues presented; they are more content oriented and good to have.   So they are a bit different. 

    ps, you may also want to think about getting a book that does the geography of the OT Times, since the Land is a mjor theme in the OT.  I don’t know of what the best ones are.   

    You’ll also want something covering Old Teatmanet Parallels since much of what is in the OT seems to be “borrowed” from related cultures, especially the OT laws.  Matthews has one that seems to be fairly widely used.Hope this helps. 

  6. 6 brian

    by thematically I mean reading something like Wolf’s Introduction to the Old Testament Pentetuch – or Hamilton’s Handbook to the Pentetuch, etc.  Robert Chisholm has a Hand book on the Prophets and so on.  Stuff like that, along side reading sections of the Old Testament. 

    Does that make sesne?

  7. 7 Scripture Zealot

    Yes, that’s extremely helpful. Thanks for the examples.
    Jeff

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