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How to Approach the Old Testament

Do you ever get lost in the details only to miss the big picture? American Christianity can easily be called a community of verse-ologians. Many people cling to a favorite verse or two but are devoid of knowledge, wisdom, or discernment. This attitude breaks my heart. It robs a person of the abundant life Christ offers (John 10:10). It deprives a person of being equipped to know him, enjoy him, and the avenues of being loved by him. Very sad. Christians need to feel the overarching story of God’s plans and work. We will benefit profoundly from knowing his past works to equip us for the present and future.

Christians should regularly read the whole Bible to immerse themselves in the grand story. While there is no replacement for regular Bible reading, Harmon offers a great book capturing the big picture. Harmon takes readers on a fast-paced walk through the Bible from Genesis in Revelation in his Rebels and Exiles. Yes, he covers the whole Bible in under 150 pages!

Focusing on the grand narrative through the lens of Rebellion and Exiles, Harmon offers Christians a faith-based reading of the Bible. He dives into the story while also drawing out the ramifications for our faith today. I really like this book as it effortlessly draws on rich theological resources to make an approachable and enjoyable book. Harmon also offers some easy to remember pieces. For instance, what are the core elements of the Abrahamic Covenant? Harmon offers the alliteration of people, place, and presence (p. 20).

So if you need a short book about a big story, check out Harmons’ Rebels and Exiles from the library at John Knox.

Pastor Dr. Chris S. Stevens

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