I enjoy reading and discussing deep theology, I enjoy thinking through how different parts of Scripture build on or refer to other parts. I guess you could say that I’m a bit of a theology geek. I find it very interesting to read the New Testament and see how the authors summarise, or highlight, certain aspects of the history of Israel. Here is a book that I read recently that does just that.
Why is it important to notice the summary, or summaries, of Israel’s story in the New Testament?
“The SIS [summary/summaries of Israel’s story] in the NT [New Testament] ought to reorient our priorities when reading the OT [Old Testament] and retelling this story”
“Not only should these retellings influence our exegesis of the citation of the OT, but also for those who are seeking to live faithfully according to the Scriptures, understanding the story of Israel and our place in this ongoing story is of utmost importance.”
In this book three authors do a study of passages in the New Testament where the story of Israel are summarised. The book starts in Matthew’s Gospel, then goes to Luke, to Acts, to Galatians, to Romans and finally concludes with Hebrews. The goal of this book is to, as the title suggests, understand the Apostle’s biblical theology and how they retold the history of Israel.
I found this book interesting and some of the insights that were drawn out of certain passages were very helpful and thought provoking. It is a more academic book, and therefore designed for those who want to dig deeper into this specific topic. If you’re a pastor, a seminary student or a Christian who wants to wrestle with how the early church told the history of Israel, this could be a helpful tool for you.
I will be honest and say that I was slightly disappointed that this book didn’t draw out more practical applications for Christians and preachers, specifically about how the Apostle’s retelling of Israel’s history should shape our reading of Scripture or our retelling of Israel’s history. It was an interesting study, but I did ask myself at the end of the book ‘so what?’
I understand that this was not necessarily the purpose of the book, so it is not a major criticism.
This book doesn’t look at every single retelling of Israel’s history in the New Testament, but it focuses in on a few of them to show that whilst the stories may differ slightly their focus is the same. Here’s what the authors say…
“While these stories differ in emphasis and detail, they all share the fundamental premise that the story of Israel culminates in the Messiah; following this, the story of Israel continues with the ongoing life and mission of the church.”
You can buy the book here from IVP. If you buy and read the book, I’d like to hear your thoughts on it and find out how the book challenged you.