John Walton's Wisdom for Faithfully Reading the Old Testament
John H. Walton is a professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School. Previously he was a professor of Old Testament at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago for twenty years.
Some of Walton’s books include The Lost World of Adam and Eve, The Lost World of Scripture, The Lost World of Genesis One, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament, The Essential Bible Companion, The NIV Application Commentary: Genesis, and The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament (with Victor Matthews and Mark Chavalas).
Walton’s ministry experience includes church classes for all age groups, high school Bible studies, and adult Sunday school classes, as well as serving as a teacher for “The Bible in 90 Days.” John and his wife, Kim, live in Wheaton, Illinois, and have three adult children.
We need a consistent approach to give us confidence as faithful interpreters. In Wisdom for Faithful Reading, the trusted Old Testament scholar John Walton lays out his tried-and-true best practices developed over four decades in the classroom. His principles are memorable, practical, and enlightening, including:
The Bible is written for us, but not to us.
Reading the Bible instinctively is not reliable and risks imposing a foreign perspective on the text.
More important than what the characters do is what the narrator does with the characters and what God is doing through the characters.
Not everything has a “biblical view.”
Along with identifying common missteps, Walton’s insights point the way to stay focused on what the Old Testament text communicated to its original audience—and what it has to say for us today. When we submit ourselves to be accountable to the authors’ intentions we experience the true authority of Scripture, and faithful reading fuels a faithful life.
Using numerous examples across the breadth of the Old Testament and its genres, Walton equips thoughtful Christians to read more knowledgeably, to pay attention to God’s plans and purposes, to recognize good interpretations, and to truly live in light of Scripture. You may never read the Old Testament the same way again.
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