“Without the Old Testament, we cannot know Jesus properly.” (21) Though Jesus is most clearly revealed in the New Testament (especially the Gospels), it is without a doubt that readers will miss much of what is being revealed about Him if they first do not have a good understanding of the Old Testament which points to Him. A basic understanding of the Old Testament, and is Christward focus, is essential to understanding Jesus and the New Testament. “The Old Testament is”, as Motyer later says, “in many ways, a book standing on tiptoe, straining forward into the future.” (42) What we need are Christians who love the Old Testament for the same reason they love the New Testament – its all about Jesus!
To this end, Old Testament scholar and long time teacher, Alec Motyer has written A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Loving the Old Testament: One Book, One God, One Story with Christian Focus Publications (2015). Through fourteen short and highly readable chapters Motyer has provided readers with a basic and essential sketch of the Old Testament that will put them on the right track to understanding the basic thrust of the Old Testament.
Beginning with an explanation of the threefold nature of the Old Testament (Law, Prophets and the Writings) and covering areas like the Passover as a means of one way of salvation, the Christward focus of the OT, the role of the Prophets and Psalms, Motyer writes to his readers as if they were going to be first time readers of the Old Testament. For someone who has had a successful career in the academic world, Motyer has written a book that is aimed at the bottom shelf.
One thing that really stands out throughout the book is the unified nature of the Old Testament as it presents one God and points to Christ. God is constantly calling His people out of idolatry to worship Him alone as the only one to who they owe their worship. Additionally, the OT points to a single person as the accomplisher of their salvation – the Messiah, Jesus Christ! To miss the Christward focus of the book is to miss the essence of the OT completely.
As with all of the Christian Pocket Guide books from Christian Focus, I highly recommend Loving the Old Testament. It can be easily read in one sitting, used as a devotional guide, and would work great in a small group setting to help Christians become better oriented when they read the Old Testament. There is a lifetime of study and insight packed into this little book that even seasoned Christians can benefit from.
I received this book for free from Christian Focus 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.”