The Old Testament law is foundational for our understanding of the Bible, but for many it remains some of the Old Testament’s most foreign and exotic material. This book by a leading evangelical expert in biblical law helps readers understand Old Testament law, how it functioned in the Old Testament, and how it is (and is not) instructive for contemporary Christians. The author explicates the often confusing legal system of ancient Israel, differentiates between time-bound cultural aspects of Israelite law and universally applicable aspects of the divine value system, and shows the ethical relevance of Old Testament law for Christians today.
Of books that offer guidance for Western Christians on how to make sense of the Old Testament law, this is the finest I have read. Gane refuses to view the Old Testament as a negative foil against which to read the New Testament or as the problem that the New Testament fixes. Instead he treats the record of God’s revelation as a single continuous gospel story. With his ‘progressive moral wisdom’ approach, he offers a liberating view of the Torah of Moses and the law of God. The law was God’s gracious gift to Israel and is God’s gracious gift to us, his invitation to live in a way that pleases him. Jesus treasured this law and embodied it perfectly. All who desire to live by ‘the law of love’ and ‘the law of Christ’ will find in the Old Testament law an inexhaustible resource for learning what that looks like in life. Gane’s concluding summary alone is worth the price of the book.
—Daniel I. Block, Gunther H. Knoedler Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Wheaton College
Gane’s comprehensive survey of Old Testament law is rich and informative on many levels. He fills in the historical, literary, and cultural background and surveys the variety of ways Christians have tried to understand and apply this part of Scripture. Gane then offers a robust and helpful approach of his own, illustrating it with worked examples from the text. He also addresses some of the problems and questions that Old Testament law raises for Christians facing the ethical challenges of contemporary society. Without necessarily agreeing with every interpretation that Gane offers, I can warmly commend this book as an excellent guide for all who want to take the Torah as seriously as Jesus and Paul do but struggle to know how they can.
—Christopher J.H. Wright, author of Old Testament Ethics for the People of God
Gane adroitly explores the nature and purpose of Old Testament law in its biblical and ancient Near Eastern contexts and sets forth a biblically based, practical method for applying the values and principles of Old Testament laws to Christian life today. Combining thoroughness and rigor with clarity and the common touch, the author convincingly confirms the basic continuity between the Testaments while recognizing valid elements of discontinuity. His concluding section provides insightful and balanced responses to common Christian misconceptions about Old Testament law. I consider this book a must read for layperson and scholar alike.
—Richard M. Davidson, J.N. Andrews Professor of Old Testament Interpretation, Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, Andrews University
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