Like most Christians, I have been baffled and disturbed by parts of the Old Testament. Its books comprise the majority of the Christian Bible, but how should we read them?
I select sample books (Deuteronomy, Job, Ecclesiastes, Psalms, Prophets) and describe how I have struggled and then come to terms with each. In the process my own understanding of and appreciation for the Old Testament undergoes a startling change.
The Old Testament is not a mysterious, outdated book. It is God’s biography, the story of his passionate encounters with his people, and the prequel to the story of Jesus. It is also the Bible that Jesus read, used, and loved. I probe seven representative books–Job, Psalms, Deuteronomy, Ecclesiastes, and the Prophets–and discover that the Old Testament deals in astonishing depth and detail with the same questions we face today.
“Yancey is an astute author who challenges Christians’ assumptions without alienating them. In The Bible Jesus Read, Yancey encourages readers to consider how Hebrew Scripture–what Christians call the Old Testament–is relevant to their own lives. His premise is that although many Christians tacitly consider the New Testament more important than the Old, the New Testament was written after Jesus’ earthly ministry, making the Old Testament “the Bible Jesus read.” Hebrew Scripture was the greatest influence on the mind and spirit of the founder of Christianity, a fact that, in the author’s estimation, obligates Christians to know it well… Yancey’s lucid style and honest handling of difficult ideas ensure that readers who have enjoyed his earlier books will not be disappointed in this one.”
Publishers Weekly,Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“Yancey follows The Jesus I Never Knew (1995) and What’s So Amazing about Grace? (1997) with a more modest and personal book on the Old Testament, which he concedes is a hard sell to many Christians. After all, the Hebrew Scriptures constitute a dauntingly large book, seem contradictory and cranky, and are really addressed to Jews, so why read them? Rather than dunning us with the obvious, if ahistorical, “They are the Bible Jesus read,” Yancey discusses five Old Testament writings and why they are his favorites. He loves Job for its affirmation of faith, Deuteronomy for its portrayal of spiritual heroism in the figure of the aged Moses, the Psalms for their presentation of the intimacy of God’s relationship with humanity, Ecclesiastes for its realism about life, and the prophetic books for the hope in God’s providence that they inculcate. As usual for Yancey, the discussion draws tellingly from literature and experience as well as the biblical text to make its points. All in all, a gracious, appealing window on the Old Testament.”
Ray Olson, Booklist
Book of the Year– Christianity Today, Christianity Today Magazine, US, 2000
Christian Book Award Winner, ECPA, US, 2000
Logos Bookstores Award, Logos Bookstores, US, 2000