Book Review: What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About

what-the-old-testament-authors-really-cared-aboutWhat the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About: A Survery of Jesus’ Bible Edited by Jason S. DeRouchie

This is a very high quality book with a hardcover that has the art on the cover with no need for a dust jacket, and very nice, thick paper to display the high quality graphics and photos. The title is drawn from the companion New Testament volume–What the New Testament Authors Really Cared About, which is something I’d like to get because of how much I like this one. Incidentally, one of the reviewers of that book would have liked a Summary at the end of each chapter, which is included in this book. The NT book was published in 2008 and this one in September of 2013.

This book comes highly recommended by people like by Piper, Block, Gentry, Naselli, Storms and J. Meyer (stands for Jason–did I scare you?) among others. The book is:

  • intentionally shorter–“synthesizes in 3-6 themes the lasting message of each book”
  • collaborative effort by many scholars and teachers to “communicate effectively to college and seminary students and within the local church, thus making it very readable for broad audiences.”

The book “attempts to present the essence of what is revealed in the Old Testament, with a conscious eye toward the fulfillment found in Jesus as clarified in the New Testament.” I found this to be very consistent throughout the book. The consistency shows the quality of the editing.

Being an illustrative book, there are many helpful charts, timelines, inserts, and photographs. Regarding the photographs–I think that’s a tricky thing with these types of books and illustrated study Bibles. Some of the photos are very valuable, showing specific places that have architectural landmarks that are still in place today. Other times the photos could be of anywhere and seem to just be filler pieces. Photos with people in them (which are of course taken since photography was invented) are rather strange, even if it shows a few helpful items like men with phylacteries, which many of us are unfamiliar with. Overall they are helpful, and the photos used in this book are mostly very high quality. That’s the closet thing to anything negative I have to say about the book.

Since you can see the description and see inside the book online, I’d like to just point out a couple more areas of interest.

Boxed inserts like quotes on how the NT relates to the Old, or contemporary significance, or other topics, are spread throughout. It’s like a box of (high quality) chocolates, you never know what you’ll get.

I especially liked the chapter on Job. Having just read a commentary on it, I thought that Edward M. Curtis did a terrific job (see what I did?) in distilling what the book is about. A lot can be learned just from the synopsis of the book at the beginning of the chapter after the Who? When? Where? Why?

The Author of Job …

  • Affirmed Yahweh’s sovereignty over all things.
  • Showed that personal sin is not the only reason humans suffer.
  • Acknowledge humanity’s inability to fully grasp God’s work and purposes.
  • Recognized that God accepts the honest cries of his hurting people.
  • Clarified how to respond when God’s justice and goodness appear questionable.
  • Believed that people should fear God for who he is rather than for what he gives.

And then expounds on those topics both succinctly and with an obvious understanding of the book that I have found to be rare. Or maybe I just agree with his assessment, after having read so much about it. That can’t be easy with a book like Job. This is done consistently throughout the entire book.

One humorous thing I’d like to mention. The author of each chapter is listed on the top of every page. It reminds me of something Brian Reagan said: – see it at 3:50 if you’d like. Some books put the book title at the top of every other page, as if one might forget. This book’s title would be a little cumbersome in that regard, although it’s an easier one to forget. It’s good to give the authors attribution though.

This is a book I love to have, especially for the Old Testament. It will be referred to much in the future. In fact, it’s almost something you’d like to keep on the coffee table, if only all of your guests were as interested in the Old Testament as you are.

Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Kregel Academic (September 24, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0825425913
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.8 x 1.3 inches

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