From the early days of the church to the present, the Old Testament Law has been a subject of much confusion, debate, and outright theological division. And with good reason: the way Christians understand the Law has massive implications for their individual lives and for the life of the church. To sort through the numerous interpretations and approaches to this thorny issue, we need to start with a solid knowledge of the Law itself.
Richard Averbeck provides a comprehensive, accessible discussion of how the Law fits into the arc of the Bible and its relevance to the church today. Beginning with the way God intended the Law to work in its original historical and cultural context, he then explores the New Testament perspective on the Law. Averbeck identifies three biblical theological theses: the Law is good, the Law is weak, and the Law is a unified whole. Rejecting common partitions between categories of law, he makes the case that the whole Law applies to the Christian. Our task is to discern how it applies in the light of Christ.
The Old Testament Law for the Life of the Church invites readers to consider how all of Scripture is illuminating and useful for God’s people. The church, as the new temple, has much to learn from the Law and about what it means for our doctrine and practice.
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Thinking through how the law relates to the gospel is like trying to cut a path through the Amazon jungle. Many have offered an array of approaches to this question. This book on the law and the life of the church cuts a fresh and revealing path to the refreshment the gospel offers without demeaning the law that helped to show the way there. It also makes a serious case for how the law can help us even now by keeping its eye on covenants, promises, and the progress of revelation. Well done.
—Darrell Bock, senior research professor of New Testament studies and executive director for cultural engagement at the Hendricks Center, Dallas Theological Seminary
Everything that Richard Averbeck writes edifies me, and this work does so in abundance. Here the full range of the blessings he has to offer is on bright display: his meticulous scholarship and attention to detail, his deep and wide knowledge of the Hebrew Bible and its context, his love for the whole Bible and his scrupulous determination to let that shape his theology, his sincere Christian faith, and his gentle disposition. In all of this he patiently lays out his reasoning for the positions he takes in a manner that is both rigorous and fair, serving as a kind and thoughtful guide. What better way to think through these challenging issues, and what better company could we ask? Here is a splendid feast for heart, mind, soul, and might, and I count it a privilege to commend it to you.
—C. John "Jack" Collins, professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary and author of Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?
Richard Averbeck has contributed much on this topic in a large number of important scholarly publications. Over the years, he has taught scores of students and laypeople striving to understand better how Christians relate to the instructional materials of the Old Testament. Here he offers the fruit of all that work in a way that is accessible and easy to follow, which puts us all in his debt. The nature and relevance of the Old Testament 'law' has become a topic of a number of book-level treatments recently, and Averbeck's is among the best of the lot.
—Bill T. Arnold, Paul S. Amos Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary
I have been waiting a long time for this book. Reading the Scriptures forward before he reads them backward, Dr. Averbeck has caught the spirit and tone of Israel's law and demonstrated its relevance and authority for Christians with unequalled clarity and brilliance. Explaining the goodness and weakness of Israel's law, chapter ten alone is worth the price of the book. This volume should be required reading not only in courses in the Hebrew Bible but especially in New Testament theology.
—Daniel I. Block, Gunther H. Knoedler Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Wheaton College Graduate School
In the Logos Reader Edition, this volume is enhanced to best fit the content. Scripture references are hand-tagged to integrate with powerful functionality in Logos Bible Software. Page milestones and internal citation tagging provide accurate points of reference. Search important words across resources to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive tools for reading digital content are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.