Sometimes it is not the sheer volume of a book that demonstrates its usefulness or the impact of the information contained within its pages. There are times when a short book is replete with astute insight, sharing information that is often overlooked or overdone in longer tomes. Alec Motyer, in his excellent book A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Loving the Old Testament, provides the reader with that small yet power-packed offering that illuminates and explains many important issues regarding the Old Testament and why an understanding of the front of the Book is a must before even beginning to explore the back of the Book.
I truly appreciated Motyer’s statement regarding the description of the Old Testament as “old”. If we asked Jesus or the disciples about their thoughts on the Old Testament, one can imagine the strange look on their faces. Old? What do you mean old? As noted by Motyer, that page which separates the front half of Scripture from the back half likely should be torn out of our Bibles as it far too often presents a combative situation in our minds as to the message and purpose of each half.
Motyer addresses that incorrect approach to our typical understanding of the Old Testament in a way that will bring to the reader a fresh passion for God’s Word as a whole and the Old Testament in particular. He outlines with great perspicuity the patterns and principles found in the Old Testament such as the fundamental issues of covenant, how the Old Testament sets the stage for the coming of the Messiah, and perhaps most importantly the consistent message the Old Testament presents that finds itself in the New Testament. In opposition to the two book approach many often take regarding their approach to and understanding of Scripture, Motyer notes the consistent and purposeful message that weaves its way throughout the Bible, one that points the reader to the scarlet thread of redemption through the Messiah Jesus.
Of further note is Motyer’s explanation of how to engage the prophetic books. Outside of most of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, the books of the prophets are some of the most neglected in all of Scripture. Motyer rightly notes the reason for that neglect is most have simply not taken the time to read, re-read, and properly analyze what these books are about, their audience, and their connection to the message of salvation. He provides some excellent tools to the reader in regards to breaking down the overall message of the prophetic books and then breaking down those major sections into smaller parts in an effort to grasp how they relate to the overall message of the book and in turn, how that overall message relates to Scripture at large.
If I was to recommend an introduction to understanding the Old Testament to both the seasoned theologian and the brand new believer alike, this book would be at or near the top of my book recommendation list. I found Motyer’s insights to be lucid and his effort to help the reader understand the importance of the Old Testament and its message to be one that all believers need to grasp and apply in their study of Scripture. Pick up a copy of this book and have it handy as you read and study the Old Testament.
This book is available for purchase from Christian Focus Publications by clicking here.
I received this book for free from Christian Focus Publications for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”