Engaging the Old Testament

How to Read Biblical Narrative, Poetry, and Prophecy Well

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This introductory textbook invites students into the depths and riches of the Old Testament and shows the Old Testament's relevance for Christian readers. Rising Latino evangelical Old Testament scholar Dominick Hernández demonstrates how to read Old Testament texts well and put the ancient written word into practice in our day and age.

Hernández shows that four core commitments put readers on the right trajectory for reading and applying the Old Testament to their lives: (1) reading humbly, (2) reading successively, (3) reading entirely, and (4) reading deliberately. Students will learn how to become better readers of the text and how to read select Old Testament passages well, paying attention to how the biblical authors used rhetorical techniques to provoke readers to action.

1. What's the Old Testament "God" to Do with Me?
2. The Commitment to Really Reading
3. From Talking to Tablets to Tabernacle to Today
4. Reading from Today Back to the Text
5. The Confessions of a Close Reader
6. How the Old Testament Is Told: Narrative
7. Learning to Love the Law?
8. Seeds of Remembrance
9. Redeeming Rahab the Conqueror
10. Why Is the Book of Judges So Weird?
11. Hannah and Ruth: Mothers of the Monarchy
12. King David's True Legacy
13. Divided Allegiances to Divided Kingdom: The Tragedy of King Solomon
14. How Biblical Poets Wrote Poetry: The Importance of Parallelism
15. How Biblical Poets Wrote Poetry: The Proliferation of Metaphors
16. Metaphors and Retributive Justice in the Poetry of Job
17. How Prophets Prophesy
18. How to Engage Poetic Prophecy
19. Who Is Isaiah's Suffering Servant?


"Reading and interpreting the Old Testament is a daunting task since the writings are over two thousand years old and since they come from a culture dramatically different from ours. Hernández provides expert guidance in understanding narrative, poetry, and prophecy. Hernández wisely admonishes us to read the biblical text slowly, and the book is stocked with examples where the author has clearly followed his own dictum. This is not an ordinary textbook because it not only provides wise guidance for beginners but also offers bold interpretations that will provoke the most experienced reader to reflect anew on the biblical text. This is an ideal textbook both for new students and for those who want something fresh and challenging."

Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

The Author

  1. Dominick S. Hernández
    Courtesy of the Office of Communications, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

    Dominick S. Hernández

    Dominick S. Hernández (PhD, Bar-Ilan University) is associate professor of Old Testament at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, in La Mirada, California. He previously taught at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Moody Bible...

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