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Though written thousands of years ago, the book of Deuteronomy is unmatched in its relevance for the affluent Western church of today. Moses’ words were meant to equip God’s people for living godly lives in a prosperous, pluralistic world. The cultural changes now taking place in our own social setting make the parallel between Israel and the church—and what Deuteronomy has to say—both pertinent and instructive.
J. Gary Millar explores Deuteronomy’s ethical teaching in the light of its most important theological themes: covenant, journey, law, the nations, and human nature—showing the major contribution that Deuteronomy makes to our understanding of the Bible as a whole. His perceptive analysis reveals the power with which Deuteronomy calls God’s covenant people, from ancient Israelites to modern-day Christians, to hear God’s voice and do his will. He offers a significant study of Deuteronomy that recovers this Scripture’s vibrant message for the contemporary Christian community.
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“In this book, ‘Old Testament ethics’ is used to describe the branch of Old Testament study which is concerned with the moral teaching, whether implicit or explicit, of the Hebrew Scriptures.” (Pages 17–18)
“I would suggest that this feature of the text reveals that the primary role of chapters 1–11 is to set the collection of laws in chapters 12–26 in the context of a crucial decision faced by the nation, brought about by Yahweh’s insistence that they must respond to him at Moab. Above all, the nation must choose to love God, and to demonstrate this love by obedience.” (Pages 45–46)
“Deuteronomic theology ultimately rests on the conviction that human nature is deeply flawed, and can be transformed only by God. This basic conviction underwrites all the ethical teaching of the book.” (Page 179)
“In Christ, we may have experienced a new exodus; we may have seen God’s sovereignty redefined in terms which transcend national boundaries, and watched the locus of God’s relationship with humanity shift from a place to a global community; but it is here, in the Old Testament, that we see theology applied to the details of life in the most thoroughgoing and painstaking way. It is here that we see how to make godly decisions—how to choose life over death. The challenge, of course, is to repeat the process which we see in action in Deuteronomy, but with a theology transformed by Christ, and to a world which is quite unlike that of Moses.” (Page 182)
This study helps make sense of the book of Deuteronomy. . . . Dr. Millar also includes tantalizing hints about the ways in which the theology of Deuteronomy should be integrated into the entire canon. This volume will benefit not only serious students of Scripture but also preachers who want to work their way through Deuteronomy in the course of their regular ministry.
—D.A. Carson, research professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
J. Gary Millar is principal of Queensland Theological College, Australia. Previously he served as a minister in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. His books include Now Choose Life, Calling on the Name of the Lord, and commentaries on Deuteronomy, Kings, and 2 Corinthians.