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Reading the Old Testament with the Ancient Church: Exploring the Formation of Early Christian Thought
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Reading the Old Testament with the Ancient Church: Exploring the Formation of Early Christian Thought


Baker Academic 2007

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


The contemporary church dismisses Christianity’s foundational Scriptures at its own peril. However, the teachings of the Old Testament are less and less at the center of congregational preaching and conversation. The early church fathers—visionaries such as Augustine, Origen, and Tertullian—embraced the Hebrew Scriptures, allowing the Old Testament to play a central role in the formation of their beliefs. As today’s Christians struggle to relate to concepts such as the Jewish law and the prophets, pastors and students benefit from looking through the lenses of these thoughtful pioneers. This volume helps the Old Covenant to come alive.

This volume from the Evangelical Ressourcement series is perfect if you’re a student, scholar, pastor, or layperson interested in the most pressing contemporary topics relating to early church history, theology, and spirituality. Scripture passages link directly to your English translations and original language texts, and important theological concepts link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. In addition, you can perform powerful searches by topic and find what other authors, scholars, and theologians have to say about the impact of the early church’s writings, culture, and thought.

Key Features

  • Presents historical insight on contemporary challenges facing today’s church
  • Examines tradition in the early church
  • Analyzes the formation of the New Testament canon
  • Studies the early church’s primary sources and influence


  • Christian Scripture before the New Testament
  • The Struggle concerning the Law in the Second Century
  • Reimagining the Exodus
  • The Gospel in the Prophets
  • Praying the Psalms
  • Living in the Text

Praise for the Print Edition

Ron Heine has written Reading the Old Testament with the Ancient Church for a wide variety of readers: pastors, New Testament and patristics scholars, and general lay readers. This is a very helpful introduction to the ways the ancient Christian writers viewed the Scriptures. Heine comes to the subject with a significant grasp of both primary sources and contemporary scholarship. The argument is illuminating and inspiring.

Thomas C. Oden, emeritus professor, Drew University

Ronald Heine brings together two contemporary interests: renewed attention to the Old Testament as Christian Scripture and rediscovery of the church fathers. He offers the reading of the Old Testament with the church fathers as guidance for the contemporary church’s use of the whole Bible. His endorsement of a spiritual reading of the Old Testament means not a rejection of history but a going beyond history for what is ‘useful’ for Christian living. Examining how the church fathers read the Law, History, Prophets, and Psalms becomes an effective plea for using the church fathers in present-day understanding and preaching of the Old Testament, for the fathers’ usage is rooted in New Testament practice. The early church’s example is a call to do more than understand the text; it is a call to live in and to mold life by the text. I recommend this excellent book to a wide readership.

Everett Ferguson, distinguished scholar in residence, Abilene Christian University

Heine’s overview of the uses of and attitudes toward Jewish Scripture in the ancient church is offered as a corrective to a very common neglect of and lack of appreciation for this topic among lay and leadership audiences in evangelical churches. His lucid prose is eminently readable and his concise summaries include a wide array of authors from Christian late antiquity. This handy volume seems well designed for its audience, who will benefit greatly from Heine’s scholarship on this topic.

—Michael A. Williams, professor of comparative religion and Near Eastern languages and civilization, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington

Ron Heine’s Reading the Old Testament with the Ancient Church fills a gap in the history of biblical interpretation. The work is comprehensive in scope, yet it provides carefully crafted, succinct treatments of major patristic writers that reflect close, informed reading of the primary sources. Only someone who has lived with these patristic authors and pored over their writings could produce such a lively, sympathetic treatment. Both specialist and nonspecialist readers will benefit from this richly detailed exposition.

Carl R. Holladay, Charles Howard Candler Professor of New Testament, Candler School of Theology

An excellent book that will be helpful in assimilating the Old Testament personally and as a result in preaching the Old Testament.


Heine has displayed his expertise in patristics. . . . [This book] is accessible to a broad scope of readership. Heine’s analysis contains insights that are useful for those in academic or pastoral settings, and at the same time curious laity can easily follow Heine’s prose in order to receive a reliable primer on how early Christians perceived the Old Testament.

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Product Details

About Ronald E. Heine

Ronald E. Heine is professor of biblical studies at Northwest Christian University in Eugene, Oregon. He is the author of several books on Origen.