Gareth Lee Cockerill. Christian Faith in the Old Testament: The Bible of the Apostles. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2014. 256 pp. $14.99
I think it’s fairly accurate to say that for a large portion of lay Christians, the majority of their diet in the Word consists of the New Testament sprinkled with some Psalms and Proverbs. The Old Testament is read more rarely and seen as hard to understand and irrelevant.
We have lost the Bible of the Apostles, and in so doing we have lost much. We end up with an anemic view of Christ, a superficial understanding of the atonement, and an individualistic view of the church. Our God shrinks because we no longer see the majesty of his creation, the grandeur of his work in history, or the glory of his salvation in Christ. We have little basis for social ethics. We live in rootless isolation because we no longer see ourselves as children of Abraham and part of the people of God, stretched out across history and on its way to glory. If we do not have the Bible of the Apostles, we will not have the true apostolic faith.”
In Christian Faith in the Old Testament, Dr. Gareth Lee Cockerill provides an excellent big-picture overview of the Old Testament for lay Christians. Moving through the Old Testament section by section, Cockerill shows the reader how to read each part and helps the reader grasp how each part fits into the entire scope of biblical revelation and how each part applies to believers living after Christ’s first coming. This book shows how the Old Testament points toward fulfillment in Christ of God’s promises of redemption and restoration. The final chapter covers the New Testament and the accomplishment, experience, and consummation of restoration.Appendix 1 covers why the 39 books of our Old Testament belong there, and none others. Appendix 2 collates several pictures scattered throughout the body of the book that together provide a graphic overview of the unified message of the entire Bible.
Written in an accessible style and at an accessible length, this is a great book for any lay Christian looking for a guide to the Old Testament. It would also function well as a text for Old Testament survey courses in churches and OT survey series in any type of small group context.
*A free copy was provided in exchange for an unbiased review.