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An Old Testament Resource for People Who Say, "I Don't Know What to Do With This!"
Connecting the Old Testament to the real lives of real people can be a real challenge. I remember when I taught through The Story church campaign I scratched my head at several turns, wondering how on earth I was going to take that passage and connect it to these people.
Yet as teachers that's our calling, whether behind the lectern or pulpit. Which is why I'm thrilled John H. Walton and Andrew E. Hill have updated their foundational Old Testament textbook, Old Testament Today, 2nd Edition.
Our people struggle to not only make sense of the ancient context of the Old Testament, they also struggle with what to do with it. The authors acknowledge this, contending the Old Testament "has been largely lost to the church" because "people simply don't know what to do with it." (xiii) Which is why they've revised and extended their original resource.
In the video below, Walton explains they wanted to talk about not just the content of the Old Testament, but what we should do with the Old Testament. As Walton says, "[People] say this is part of my Bible and it must be important, but then they read Leviticus, Ecclesiastes, or Joel and they say 'I don't know what to do with this. And so here's God's Word to me and I don't know what to do with it.'"
Walton and Hill go beyond giving the content to giving the idea of how Old Testament readers should understand this literature as God's revelation of Himself. They help them appropriate it for themselves as Scripture, rather than just the things they don't understand so well.
If you regularly teach the Old Testament and are searching for a resource that will help you help people journey from the ancient context to contemporary relevance, I recommend watching this video to better understand how you and your teaching can benefit from Walton's and Hill's insightful method.
-Jeremy Bouma, Th.M. (@bouma)
PS—If you're an Old Testament professor considering this textbook for your class, request a free exam copy (ISBN: 9780310498209).
(Can't see the video? Watch it here)
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