Modern readers of the Bible often find the Old Testament difficult and even disturbing. What are we to do with obscure prophecies of long expired nations? Why should we read and study ancient laws that even the New Testament says are eclipsed by Christ? How can we reconcile Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount with the Old Testament’s graphic narratives of sex and violence? What does the Old Testament offer that is not surpassed and even made irrelevant by the New Testament?
John Walton has spent a career engaging deeply with the Old Testament’s text and ancient context. He has studied, taught, and written about the issues. His signature approach can be introduced in one sentence: The Old Testament was written for us but not to us. We must not conform it to our own understanding. We will fully grasp the Old Testament and its theology only when we are immersed in the ancient cultural current of Israel within its broader cultural river of the ancient Near East.
In Old Testament Theology for Christians, John Walton invites us to leave our modern—and even inherited Christian—preconceptions at the threshold as we enter the world of the Old Testament. He challenges us to see it anew—as if for the first time—as guests in a strange and fascinating foreign land. Then we will rediscover its testimony to God’s great enterprise.
In this capstone to a career of studying and teaching the Old Testament, Walton unfolds a grand panorama of Yahweh and the gods, of cosmos and humanity, of covenant and kingdom, of temple and torah, of sin and evil, and of salvation and afterlife. Viewed within its ancient Near Eastern cognitive environment, the text takes unexpected turns and blossoms into fresh and challenging insights. No matter how you are accustomed to viewing the first testament of the Bible, Old Testament Theology for Christians will challenge and sharpen your perceptions.