Larry R. Helyer,
Yesterday, Today and Forever
The Continuing Relevance of the Old Testament
updated and expanded edition is intended for use as a text in Christian and
Bible college courses such as Old Testament Survey or Biblical Literature. Dr.
Helyer presents the study of the Old Testament with a fresh approach which
springs from the conviction that the basic theological issues of the Old
Testament are as relevant now, at the beginning of the 21st century,
as they were when originally penned. The reason lies in the unchanging nature
of what it means to be human. The fundamental questions of human existence are
theological questions-questions which are the same at all times and in all
cultures. Questions like: Who am I? How can I know and please God? What will
happen to me and the world? The essential message of the Old Testament speaks
to these enduring questions, so the passage of centuries has not rendered it
Larry R. Helyer has been able to chart one of the most interesting courses
for threading one's way through detail that usually bogs most readers
down. Without oversimplifying the difficult or jettisoning the complex, he
has singled out eight theological themes that allow us to be introduced to
the heart of the message of the Bible. Like a guided tour of a city or
site in another country, Helyer's text will help you get the 'big picture'
of the whole of God's revelation by taking you on a tour of the most
essential sites." - Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Gordon-Conwell Theological
(from the forward)
What is more relevant in
the age of modernity now passing into the age of post-modernity than the
revelation God has given in the Scriptures? And with over three-fourths of that
word being embodied in the Old Testament, it would seem more than reasonable
that that portion of the canon of Holy Scripture should be given some sort of
pride of place for those who aspire to know God, his will, and his truth. Alas,
for most readers of the Bible, the Old Testament is the last place to which
they would turn for a word from God! What an enormous treat is being missed by
such a decision!
despite many hesitancies, the Old Testament turns out to be one of the most
pleasing, surprising, and foundational studies for understanding both the New
Testament and many current problems in the post-modern age. Dr. Larry R. Helyer
has been able to chart one of the most interesting courses for threading one's
way through detail that usually bogs most readers down. Without oversimplifying
the difficult or jettisoning the complex, he has singled out eight theological
themes that allow us to be introduced to the heart of the message of the Bible.
Like a guided tour of a city or site in another country, Helyer's text will
help you get the 'big picture' of the whole of God's revelation by taking you
on a tour of eight of the most essential sites.
why should you even be interested in such a visit to these eight highlights of
the essential message of the Old Testament? Simply because the Old Testament is
the master issue that affects all of Christian theology! There is hardly one
issue that we currently face in the Church or in our modern world where the Old
Testament does not possess some foundational pieces of truth that must go into
the decision-making process.
becomes all the more apparent in Helyer's four core concepts that provide the
centerpiece around which the permanent value of the Old Testament is described.
Foremost among these four core concepts is the unity of God's plan of
salvation. Too much emphasis is usually given to the details and particulars of
most disciplines, including the study of the Old Testament, with little or no
emphasis being placed on any discussion of overarching themes. But here you
will see a wonderful balance between a study of the parts and the whole.
other three core concepts are nonetheless valuable, while also being unusual
for textbooks of this sort: faith and politics, faith and the future, and faith
and ethics. Helyer rightly resists all of modernity's easy bifurcations between
faith and its involvement in the real world. Not everyone will agree with every
detail-especially in the area of politics-but no one can afford to think that
the faith taught in the Old Testament has nothing to do with one's politics.
And what one places one's hope for the future in must be shaped by the God who
will be there in the future shaping and governing all that happens. Likewise,
how we behave must be directly connected with what we believe, or the people of
our generation may turn out to be the biggest phonies around.
So if you are
somewhat tentative about starting out on a journey in studying this book
that you are not sure will be of much use, do I have news for you: this
will literally turn your life upside down. You are in for one of the
biggest treats and surprises you have ever had in your academic career!
Some of the sections will shape your thinking for this life and for
eternity. Here are the sections that I think will have a profound impact
on your life: creation, the
, worship, the restoration of
, and the promise God made to
If you give yourself to the
study of the Old Testament, you too will become, as I am, a real fan of the
older testament from God. Where once the Old Testament may have been thought to
be remote and irrelevant, it will be just the opposite: essential for balanced
Christian thinking and acting.
Table of Contents:
Foreword by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.
Preface to the second edition
List of abbreviations
1 - An Overview of the Old Testament
2 - The Old Testament Teaching on Creation
3 - The Fall and the Flood
4 - The Promise and the Patriarchs
5 - The Exodus from Egypt and the Sinai Covenant
6 - The Kingdom of God: Part One
7 - The Kingdom of God: Part Two
8 - The World and the Spirit: Prophecy in Israel
9 - Eschatology of the Old Testament
10 - The Way of Wisdom and Worship
11 - Epilogue: The Relationship of the OT and NT
Indexes: Authors, Biblical Names, Charts, Scripture, and Topics
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