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Holiness to the Lord: A Guide to the Exposition of the Book of Leviticus

ISBN: 9781441254559

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In Holiness to the Lord, Allen P. Ross has shouldered the often daunting task of gleaning from the Book of Leviticus more than just messages on tithing or sabbath-keeping. Many expositors miss the wealth of information on the early Hebrew system of religion which this important book of scripture represents. This formidable text has been made manageable for both scholars and laymen, enabling preachers and teachers to mine the riches of Leviticus and make them available to a contemporary audience. Ross carefully positions Leviticus within its ancient context, and then traces the development of God's plan of salvation—how the laws, rituals, symbols, and events in Leviticus prepared for a complete revelation as depicted in later scripture. The author also presents helpful ideas for connecting Leviticus to other scriptural wisdom and for applying the material in relevant expository form.

This thoughtfully written work is a valuable guide for expositors interpreting the Law for the church and for elucidating Leviticus in practical, biblical messages about worship, sanctification, and obedience. More than a discussion of sabbath regulations, Ross's astute work steers a course through ancient Israel's maze of religious laws, reveals it as one of the theological foundations for Christ's gospel, and correlates it to New Testament teachings (especially Romans, Hebrews, and Peter). The Book of Leviticus speaks for itself thanks to an effective blend of theological commentary and exegetical direction by Dr. Ross, thus meeting the needs of scholars as well as expositors.

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Top Highlights

“Expositors may begin by studying how these laws taught Israel how to live and how to worship; but they will soon discover that the laws revealed much more: the human race was sinful and subjected to life in a world separated from God by its defilement; and God was gracious and compassionate, making a way available so that people could come into his presence and fellowship with him.” (Page 16)

“The law revealed what was required to be in communion with God.” (Page 60)

“The law regulated the worship and purity of the people of God.” (Page 61)

“The law was the constitution of the nation of Israel” (Page 60)

“But the expositor must be clear here: it was the ritual of the law that came to an end in Christ—not what the law revealed. The regulations were particularly for Israel and were temporary, but the revelation of God’s holiness and what it demands remains applicable for all.” (Page 246)

Praise for the Print Edition

This is a wonderful introduction to the Book of Leviticus. Ross's writing is exceptionally clear, and his expositions are exceptionally useful, especially given the difficulty of his subject matter. I fervently hope that this book will motivate many people to explore the riches of Leviticus who otherwise wouldn't. It will enrich their lives immeasurably if they do.

—David M. Howard Jr., professor of Old Testament, Bethel Theological Seminary, St. Paul

This is one of those rare commentaries that provides meaningful attention to the needs of both scholars and expositors. Exegetes will find exacting discussion of the ancient Near Eastern ritual context, theologians will find a consistent methodology as Ross moves from Old Testament theology to New Testament theology, and expositors will find sure guidance for challenging congregations with the text's mandate for holy living. This commentary follows the steps of interpretation as I tell my students it ought to be done. I am delighted to have this tool to put into their hands.

—John H. Walton, Department of Biblical Studies, Wheaton College and Graduate School

Holiness to the Lord provides the Christian reader clear and sure guidance through the perplexing maze of Israel's ancient laws. Ross's expertise in the original cultural setting, his text-driven biblical theology, and his perceptive applications to the Christian experience resolve the ambivalence that Christians often feel toward the Old Testament law. After reading this volume, every Christian leader will yearn to teach and preach the transforming message of the Book of Leviticus.

—Kenneth Matthews, professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School

Building on the approach he adopted in his earlier work on Genesis, Ross skillfully enables the Christian reader to discover something of the rich theological heritage underlying the Book of Leviticus. While avoiding the detailed technical discussion found in some commentaries, Ross offers an exposition of Leviticus that many, especially preachers, will find illuminating and helpful.

—T. Desmond Alexander, director of Christian training, Union Theological College, Belfast

In a clear, straightforward, easy-to-grasp style, Allen Ross illuminates the theological message of Leviticus, the keystone of the Pentateuch, skillfully unfolding the numerous connections between Leviticus and the New Testament. For students, pastors, and teachers, this volume is a treasury for understanding God's provision for forgiveness, the call to living a holy life, and the joy of worshiping the holy God. This volume inspires believers to pursue a holy life that is pleasing to God.

—John Hartley, Azusa Pacific University

With the same thoroughness and practical emphasis that he exhibited in an earlier volume on Genesis, Ross now provides this helpful guide for the exposition of Leviticus. Although this is not a detailed commentary, pastors and teachers will find it a wonderfully thorough tool for Bible study and preaching. An oft-ignored book of the Old Testament can come alive and once more serve as a window into the heart of God and a valuable light on our pilgrimage of faith.

—M. Daniel Carroll R., professor of Old Testament, Denver Seminary

Appreciative readers of Creation and Blessing will find more of the same here, as Ross provides just enough exegetical guidance, structural sensitivity, and theological commentary to let the text speak for itself. I found this careful steering between the Scylla of an overly christological reading of Leviticus and the Charybdis that finds contemporary applications negligible to be both refreshing and enlightening.

—Mark A. Throntveit, professor of Hebrew and Old Testament, Luther Seminary

Ross offers the busy pastor or Bible study leader an exceptionally well-informed, theologically rich, and eminently practical guide to the Book of Leviticus. Holiness to the Lord is packed with lucid explanations of the book's major themes and concepts, distillations of the best of recent scholarship, useful outlines, intriguing insights, and practical applications that will engage mind and heart. Here is an ideal tool for those who want to preach and teach Leviticus in a manner that is faithful to its original context, alert to its New Testament fulfillment, and relevant to contemporary life.

—Gordon P. Hugenberger, senior minister, Park Street Church, Boston

Product Details

  • Title: Holiness to the Lord: A Guide to the Exposition of the Book of Leviticus
  • Author: Allen P. Ross
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2002
  • Pages: 496

Allen P. Ross is professor of divinity and Old Testament at Beeason Divinity School, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama. He has been teaching there since 2002. Ross is the author of Creation and Blessing and Introducing Biblical Hebrew, as well as commentaries on Psalms, Genesis, Exodus, and Proverbs.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


8 ratings

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  1. Terry Vance

    Terry Vance


  2. Rick Johnson

    Rick Johnson


  3. Jack Harper

    Jack Harper


    Dr. Ross provides an incredibly helpful work through Leviticus. His expertise in Hebrew is evident throughout without overwhelming those without original language training. His exegetical and homiletical outlines are the most helpful element of his work. Leviticus is an open book with Ross as exegete and mentor. It is a commentary but much more. Ross bequeathed to the church a complete handbook on Leviticus. Preach the Word.
  4. Faithlife User

    Faithlife User


  5. Matthew Candler
    My favorite commentary on Leviticus so far.
  6. David Leslie Bond
  7. Eduardo Vega

    Eduardo Vega


  8. Justin Cofer

    Justin Cofer