Holiness to the Lord

A Guide to the Exposition of the Book of Leviticus

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"Students of Leviticus will find many fruitful avenues to explore. These represent the widest possible range of scholarship. . . . Plainly this is a book which deserves careful study and merits a wide readership."--Bob Fyall, Themelios

At first glance, the Book of Leviticus seems like barren material for lively preaching. Many expositors merely skim the surface for messages on tithing or sabbath-keeping. Yet Leviticus is one of the most important books of the Old Testament; it not only describes the religious system of ancient Israel, it also lays the theological foundation for the Christian gospel.

In Holiness to the LORD, Allen Ross enables preachers and teachers to mine the riches of Leviticus and deliver them to a contemporary audience. Following the same practical method he used for Genesis in the acclaimed Creation and Blessing, Ross first carefully positions Leviticus within its ancient context. He then traces the development of God's plan of salvation--how the laws, rituals, symbols, and events in Leviticus prepared for the complete revelation in Jesus Christ. Finally, Ross offers helpful ideas for correlating Leviticus to New Testament teachings (particularly Romans, Hebrews, and Peter) and for applying the material in relevant expository form.

Holiness to the LORD is every expositor's indispensable guide for interpreting the Law for the church and for elucidating Leviticus in practical, biblical messages about worship, sanctification, and obedience.


"This is a wonderful introduction to the Book of Leviticus. Ross's writing is exceptionally clear, and his expositions are exceptionally useful, especially given the difficulty of his subject matter. I fervently hope that this book will motivate many people to explore the riches of Leviticus who otherwise wouldn't. It will enrich their lives immeasurably if they do."--David M. Howard Jr., professor of Old Testament, Bethel Theological Seminary, St. Paul

"This is one of those rare commentaries that provides meaningful attention to the needs of both scholars and expositors. Exegetes will find exacting discussion of the ancient Near Eastern ritual context, theologians will find a consistent methodology as Ross moves from Old Testament theology to New Testament theology, and expositors will find sure guidance for challenging congregations with the text's mandate for holy living. This commentary follows the steps of interpretation as I tell my students it ought to be done. I am delighted to have this tool to put into their hands."--John H. Walton, department of biblical studies, Wheaton College and Graduate School

"Holiness to the LORD provides the Christian reader clear and sure guidance through the perplexing maze of Israel's ancient laws. Ross's expertise in the original cultural setting, his text-driven biblical theology, and his perceptive applications to the Christian experience resolve the ambivalence that Christians often feel toward the Old Testament law. After reading this volume, every Christian leader will yearn to teach and preach the transforming message of the Book of Leviticus."--Kenneth Mathews, professor of divinity, Beeson Divinity School

"Building on the approach he adopted in his earlier work on Genesis, Ross skillfully enables the Christian reader to discover something of the rich theological heritage underlying the Book of Leviticus. While avoiding the detailed technical discussion found in some commentaries, Ross offers an exposition of Leviticus that many, especially preachers, will find illuminating and helpful."--T. Desmond Alexander, director of Christian training, Union Theological College, Belfast

"In a clear, straightforward, easy-to-grasp style, Allen Ross illuminates the theological message of Leviticus, the keystone of the Pentateuch, skillfully unfolding the numerous connections between Leviticus and the New Testament. For students, pastors, and teachers, this volume is a treasury for understanding God's provision for forgiveness, the call to living a holy life, and the joy of worshiping the holy God. This volume inspires believers to pursue a holy life that is pleasing to God."--John Hartley, Azusa Pacific University

"With the same thoroughness and practical emphasis that he exhibited in an earlier volume on Genesis, Ross now provides this helpful guide for the exposition of Leviticus. Although this is not a detailed commentary, pastors and teachers will find it a wonderfully thorough tool for Bible study and preaching. An oft-ignored book of the Old Testament can come alive and once more serve as a window into the heart of God and a valuable light on our pilgrimage of faith."--M. Daniel Carroll R., professor of Old Testament, Denver Seminary

"Appreciative readers of Creation and Blessing will find more of the same here, as Ross provides just enough exegetical guidance, structural sensitivity, and theological commentary to let the text speak for itself. I found this careful steering between the Scylla of an overly christological reading of Leviticus and the Charybdis that finds contemporary applications negligible to be both refreshing and enlightening."--Mark A. Throntveit, professor of Hebrew and Old Testament, Luther Seminary

"Ross offers the busy pastor or Bible study leader an exceptionally well-informed, theologically rich, and eminently practical guide to the Book of Leviticus. Holiness to the LORD is packed with lucid explanations of the book's major themes and concepts, distillations of the best of recent scholarship, useful outlines, intriguing insights, and practical applications that will engage mind and heart. Here is an ideal tool for those who want to preach and teach Leviticus in a manner that is faithful to its original context, alert to its New Testament fulfillment, and relevant to contemporary life."--Gordon P. Hugenberger, senior minister, Park Street Church, Boston

The Author

  1. Allen P. Ross

    Allen P. Ross

    Allen P. Ross (PhD, University of Cambridge) is professor of Old Testament at Beeson Divinity School and has taught Hebrew grammar to seminary students for over thirty years. He served as translator and editor of the New King James Version and commented on...

    Continue reading about Allen P. Ross


"An easy to read book that opens up the practices of both ceremonial and moral holiness prescribed in Leviticus, as well as the theology of the book. . . . [Holiness to the LORD] comes highly recommended for that preacher and Scripture expositor who has never been brave enough to plunge into the text and messages of Leviticus. Ross gives the reader direction on how to interpret the law and its various uses. . . . Ross's book will be suggestive at many points on both theological and homiletical levels, and this work will help believers see that Leviticus is also about Christ, the kingdom of God, and the holiness that belongs to that kingdom. Those who make use of Ross's fine volume will be the richer for it."--Mark D. Vander Hart, Mid-America Journal of Theology

"[Ross] is learned, judicious and admirably clear in his style. . . . For the intended readership the book could hardly be improved on."--W. J. Houston, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament

"Any book which helps us to come to grips with Leviticus is to be welcomed, and this one is substantial. Ross lays out his material in an orderly fashion which is easy to follow. . . . Contain[s] much that is valuable and insightful and show[s] engagement with a huge field of study. One of the great values of this book is that each chapter has a bibliography of an extremely varied nature. Students of Leviticus will find many fruitful avenues to explore. These represent the widest possible range of scholarship. . . . Plainly this is a book which deserves careful study and merits a wide readership. . . . It has many useful comments on canonical issues and biblical theology, and that, combined with meticulous work on the text of Leviticus makes it essential reading."--Bob Fyall, Themelios

"Not many preachers turn quickly to work on Leviticus, but you may want to make an exception for Holiness to the Lord. . . . After reading this book, you may find yourself with a desire to preach sermons from Leviticus for the first time!"--Michael Duduit, Preaching

"Holiness to the LORD belongs in the library of every serious expositor. Its level-headed approach to exegetical and expositional difficulties, clear theological comment, and practical guidance are a welcome breath of fresh air for a book that too many have allowed to grow stale. We can only hope that Allen Ross will produce similar volumes on the remainder of the Pentateuch, to provide a complete guide for expounding the Torah."--William D. Barrick, Master's Seminary Journal

"[Ross] seeks to exegete Leviticus in a way that is both scholarly and understandable. . . . His exegesis is enlightening and meaningful, drawing New Testament connections where appropriate, but also allowing the text to speak to its original audience. He tackles many issues that have been raised concerning this book over the years. Issues such as the strangeness of some of the practices are addressed with clarity and meaningful interaction."--Timothy M. Pierce, Southwestern Journal of Theology

"Commentaries on the book of Leviticus do not always inspire interest or ignite a passion for further study of God's Word. However, this one is an exception. In this well-written and engaging work, Ross has presented a comprehensive, thoroughly annotated, biblically-based, and exegetically sound presentation of this highly significant book of the Bible. . . . [Ross] present[s] the book of Leviticus as rich in expositional truths that both inspire and instruct. . . . For each division, the background of the passage is carefully presented and supplemented by interaction with scholarship and skillful use of the Hebrew text. . . . Ross reflects a refreshing humility when dealing with difficult passages, often avoiding dogmatic conclusions where no compelling evidence for clarity of interpretation is available. On the other hand, he competently examines critical issues of the text presenting a consistently conservative view of the text and its authorship. This book is more than a commentary, it is a resource. It is guaranteed to be referred to again and again by those interested in faithfully presenting the text."--Deron J. Biles, Southwestern Journal of Theology