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Old Testament Ethics: A Guided Tour

ISBN: 9780830873623
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Digital list price: $29.99
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What is ethics?

Ethics is not merely about tricky situations or hot topics. Instead, ethics asks questions about what sort of people we are, how we think, what sort of things we do and don’t do, and how we ought to live our everyday lives.

How might we learn ethics from the Old Testament? Instead of searching for support for our positions or pointing out problems with certain passages, trusted guide John Goldingay urges us to let the Old Testament itself set the agenda. In this volume, readers will encounter what the Old Testament teaches about relationships, work, Sabbath, character, and more.

Featuring Goldingay’s own translation and discussion questions for group use, Old Testament Ethics: A Guided Tour is a resource for ethics like no other. Topically organized with short, stand-alone chapters, this book is one to keep close at hand.

Resource Experts

Key Features

  • Addresses ethical issues including justice, compasssion, and wealth
  • Explores related themes of community, relationships, and identity
  • Serves as a companion to The Old Testament for Everyone series


  • Part One: Qualities
  • Part Two: Aspects of Life
  • Part Three: Relationships
  • Part Four: Texts
  • Part Five: People

Top Highlights

“One of the things about the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit is that they can turn you into someone you wouldn’t otherwise be or make you do things you wouldn’t otherwise do. It needn’t mean you do something alien to who you are deep inside. It more likely means that the Spirit enables potentials to find expression that you didn’t even know you had. That’s what happens with Saul. He’s a mild kind of guy who didn’t want to be king; he hid when they were organizing the election. But God found him out.” (Page 28)

“It both lays out God’s creation ideal and vision, and it makes allowance for the fact that we don’t live up to it” (Page 4)

“that I should subordinate my attraction and my longing to the need of the community seems odd” (Page 138)

“are the qualities of a community and a person who live an ethical life?” (Page 1)

Praise for the Print Edition

What a winsomely fresh book! There is the freshness of John Goldingay’s own direct translation of the text and the way he lets the Old Testament speak for itself by getting us to actually read so much of it for ourselves (fancy that for a fresh idea!). And then there is that vintage Goldingay style—straightforward and simple yet often quizzical and unexpected, humorous at times yet serious in intent, making us think afresh (whether or not we agree). We are invited into the world of Old Testament Israel as curious guests from the twenty-first century and end up asking more challenging questions about our own cultural and ethical assumptions than about theirs (which is the way it should be with the Bible). We see familiar old stories and characters in ways that perhaps we never thought of before and read unfamiliar texts that perhaps we never even noticed (or wincingly avoided). This book is what it says—a guided tour, designed to stimulate a desire to go back and enjoy exploring the terrain more fully.

—Christopher J. H. Wright, Langham Partnership, author of Old Testament Ethics for the People of God

Textually comprehensive, wonderfully conversational, immensely practical, and sensibly direct—all the qualities we expect from Goldingay are on display in Old Testament Ethics: A Guided Tour. The Old Testament matters for life, and Goldingay engages the breadth of that canonical resource to encourage readers to embody God’s will today. Each chapter ends with questions for continued reflection and conversation. An immensely helpful guide in a time when many disparage the ethical value of the Old Testament.

—M. Daniel Carroll R. (Rodas), Blanchard Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College

There are many books on Old Testament ethics that are thoughtful and reflective. This book is such, but it is also very practical and one that recognizes the complexities of daily life, relationships, and challenges in our less-than-ideal world. Goldingay’s disarming style and unconventional categories help to juggle the mind into fresh insights and perspectives. This book does not just talk about ethics in the Old Testament, but it actually helps readers discover what the Old Testament says through an encounter with the biblical text.

—Athena E. Gorospe, biblical studies faculty, Asian Theological Seminary, Manila, Philippines

Product Details

John Goldingay has been at Fuller Theological Seminary since 1997 and currently serves as the David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament in the School of Theology. Before coming to Fuller, Goldingay was principal and a professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at St. John’s Theological College in Nottingham, England. He is the author of several books, including Old Testament Theology vol. 1, After Eating the Apricot, and Models for Scripture, as well as commentaries on Daniel, Isaiah, and Psalms. He holds membership in the Society of Biblical Literature and serves on the editorial board for the Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


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  1. Glenn Crouch

    Glenn Crouch


    I continue to enjoy this author’s works on the Old Testament, and this book is no exception. This is a really good introduction to Old Testament Ethics, in a book that is easy to read. It makes heavy use of the Old Testament text, and the Author has written (and continue to write) many fine commentaries on the OT. Thus he is well experienced and qualified to cover such a broad topic. I was also pleased that this book does not pit the OT against the NT. Whilst it has the Christian approach, of seeing the OT in the light of Jesus, the author presents what starts in the OT continues into the NT. So this is a good book to introduce Biblical (OT+NT) Ethics, or even to look at the Biblical basis for Christian Ethics. Each of the 43 chapters does have so points for reflection at the end, so this would also be an ideal book for a group Bible study. I would have liked a “Further Reading” - even a book or two suggested following the “For Reflection” would’ve been nice. I would highly recommend this for new Christians who want to get a better understanding of the OT, and for those like me who’ve been around awhile it is a good refresher - helps you to think again about some topics you may have neglected.


Digital list price: $29.99
Save $9.00 (30%)