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Making Sense of the Old Testament

Three Crucial Questions

series: Three Crucial Questions

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"Longman has put us in his debt for addressing the most difficult topics involved in making sense of the Old Testament."--Asbury Theological Journal

Though essential to the Christian faith, the Old Testament remains an enigma to many. Some view it as disjointed and difficult to understand, or as nothing more than a collection of archaic documents that are irrelevant for Christians today. In clear and concise language, Tremper Longman addresses three questions to help resolve this problem:

Christians often face a number of obstacles to their understanding of the Old Testament, including differences in culture, worldviews, traditions, language, and geography. Longman provides practical principles for achieving a fuller understanding of what the Old Testament says.

Throughout the history of the church there has been much debate concerning the differences between how God related to humans in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. The author points out false stereotypes Christians may have, then demonstrates that the presentation of God is consistent in both testaments.

Of the three questions addressed, the third is perhaps the most practical. Longman looks at each section of the Old Testament--law, history, poetry, wisdom, and prophecy--and explains the issues involved in applying that section to Christian life today. Scripture and subject indexes are included.

The Author

  1. Tremper Longman III

    Tremper Longman III

    Tremper Longman III (PhD, Yale University) is Distinguished Scholar and Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at Westmont College. Before coming to Westmont, he taught at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia for eighteen years. He has served in...

    Continue reading about Tremper Longman III


"Longman's prose is readily accessible."--Publishers Weekly (December 14, 1998)

"Thought-provoking."--The Expository Times (September 1999)

"Provides practical direction for those seeking to gain a more thorough understanding of the Old Testament. . . . This book can be used with success in a church setting. It conveys in a simple fashion important concepts for the study and use of the Old Testament. . . . Longman conveys the concepts in an accessible manner."--Southwestern Journal of Theology (Fall 1999)

"Longman has written a nice primer with an evangelical approach to the topic at hand. . . . The book would be a great resource for pastors who want to teach these topics to their congregations in a systematic and effective fashion. Longman's material provides good apologetics that may be used to counter those who errantly claim that Jesus is starkly different from God in the Old Testament."--Minister's Packet (April/May 1999)

"If the Old Testament (OT) seems more confusing than comforting to you, then perhaps you should pick up this readable book. . . . This book is excellent for anyone who wants to know why the OT is important for faith and life, or how Reformed Christians approach the OT. It is also a valuable refresher in sound principles of biblical interpretation, explaining why Paul said that all Old Testament Scripture is profitable!"--New Horizons (June 1999)

"Longman's discussion deals with numerous issues which have prevented many people from seeing the relevance of the OT for Christian living today. He does this in a clear and easily understood way, even when treating highly complex and hotly debated issues of hermeneutical, theological, and philosophical import. This book will be an enormous help to anyone who wants to read the OT with greater discernment and competence."--Biblical Booklist(Summer 1999)

"The volumes of the 'Three Crucial Questions' series are derived from seminars by the same name. . . . The topics chosen for the seminar and book series are indeed 'crucial' to our faith, and as the history of interpretation demonstrates, none is more crucial to biblical hermeneutics than the way Christians relate to the Old Testament. Since Christians frequently raise tough questions about the Old Testament, this new volume is a welcome contribution. . . . Longman has a casual and easy-to-read style, which will make this a useful volume among laypeople and students interested in the Old Testament. . . . Longman has put us in his debt for addressing the most difficult topics involved in making sense of the Old Testament. This little volume will not settle those questions once and for all. But that would be too much to ask for any single volume, even one written by a scholar as gifted as Tremper Longman."--Asbury Theological Journal (Fall 1999)

"Of what value is the Old Testament to Christians? Doesn't the God Jesus talks about differ from the God we see in the Old Testament? Many Christians have such questions. This book provides good answers. . . . Readable and helpful; a good addition to a church library."--Lutheran Libraries (Winter 1999)

"This book is a good resource for the Christian educator. Used in college and adult Bible classes, it should stimulate thought and prompt discussion about the OT--particularly, why and how the OT should be read and used by Christians today."--Paul L. Watson, Stone-Campbell Journal

"[This] book is written for the ordinary Christian reader and student rather than for scholars, but Blomberg packs in a huge amount of useful observation and argument. . . . As a lucid, intelligent and sane summary of a conservative approach to the questions concerned, the book could hardly be bettered."--David Wenham, Theology