Philip Yancey, editor at large and columnist for Christianity Today
, follows up his back-to-back bestselling books, What's So Amazing About Grace
and The Jesus I Never Knew
, with The Bible Jesus Read
, an exploration of the significance of the Old Testament to today's Christian.
Given previous book titles--Where Is God When It Hurts, Disappointment with God, and The Gift of Pain--one might jokingly suggest that in the Old Testament Yancey has found his true home. He acknowledges that in studying key sections of the Hebrew Bible (he concentrates on Job, Deuteronomy, The Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and the Prophets) he found himself confronted by the core questions that haunt his Christian faith: Do I matter? Does God care? Why doesn't God act? As always, Yancey explores these central human questions with a style that is marked by directness, humor, and honesty. He writes not as theologian or mystic but as a questioning seeker. Rather than providing simple answers--he in fact says that "by no means did Jesus resolve the problem of pain"--he instead affirms the words of Thomas Merton, which he quotes in his Introduction: "There is ... nothing comfortable about the Bible--until we manage to get so used to it that we make it comfortable for ourselves."
Even as he finds the Old Testament a "companion for my pilgrimage," so is Yancey a companion for his readers, precisely through his willingness to ask --and his courage not to answer--all the hard questions. --Doug Thorpe
From Publishers Weekly
Yancey is an astute author who challenges Christians' assumptions without alienating them. In The Bible Jesus Read, Yancey encourages readers to consider how Hebrew ScriptureAwhat Christians call the Old TestamentAis 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 acknowledges the difficulty of transcending the cultural gulf between modern civilization and ancient Israel and seeks to bridge the gap by highlighting sections of the Old Testament that he initially found hard to appreciate. The writings of the Prophets were particularly obscure to Yancey because of the nonnarrative style and assumption of a warrior culture. However, he gradually discovered the passages' deep relevance to, and resonance with, his own experience. He came to love these Old Testament books when he realized that many of their concerns, such as justice for the poor and faithfulness to God, are timeless. 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. (Sept.) FYI: Zondervan will simultaneously release an audio version, read by the author (two cassettes, 2 hrs., $16.99 ISBN 0-310-22982-0).
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