In 6 Ways the Old Testament Speaks Today, Alec Motyer hopes to reinvigorate our passion for the Old Testament by showing how God’s Word is life-giving to God’s people in the past and how it still applies to us today. By focusing on six different perspectives (history, religion, worship, prophecy, wisdom, revelation), Motyer brings readers on a stroll from Genesis to Malachi showing how God makes Himself known to His people and what He requires of them. In each chapter, the author introduces the key theme and how the theme is illustrated widely across the OT. At the end of each section, there are specific Bible passages with commentary to be read throughout the week to solidify what was previously discussed in the main body of the chapter. It would be difficult to summarize all the intriguing points throughout the book; however, some key unifying threads can be identified. Firstly, the author argues that the OT teaches us to have a high view of the sovereignty of God. Motyer points out that nothing is beyond God’s control and He will bring to pass what He has divinely willed. From Israel’s great exodus from Egypt to David’s majestic dynasty to exile in Babylon, it seems that Israel is at the whims of stronger political neighbours but when we step back, we see that God has orchestrated all these happenings to bring about His divine plan. Secondly, Motyer contends that we need to adopt a high view of Scripture as the very words of God. From the time of creation when God spoke the world into existence to prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah who plead for God’s people to listen to His voice, we learn that God’s words have the power to create, destroy, and transform. Nevertheless, we are often rebellious and unwilling to listen and obey His Words even when we have our Bibles readily accessible to us. Thirdly, Motyer encourages us to display true obedience and dependence on God in our daily lives. The sanitary laws in the Pentateuch were not merely good hygiene practices but reminders that we interact with a holy God. Fourthly, God is a God of promises and what He has promised will always be fulfilled. Just as our spiritual forefathers were promised a coming King and Messiah, we can have faith that God will act on His promise that He will have the final victory. Lastly, Motyer reminds us that God is our Kinsman-Redeemer. The OT laws require a close relative to satisfy the debt of their kinsman in need which points to Jesus as the One who stands in our place and pays our debt.
I would gladly recommend this book as a needed reminder of the importance and relevance of the Old Testament. Motyer writes with a pastoral heart and his keen observations are truly theological gems. We often spend much of our devotional time in the New Testament thinking that the Old Testament is no longer applicable or beneficial to our daily lives. Motyer argues that nothing could be further from the truth as what God said to His people then is just as applicable to His people now. With the benefit of having the New Testament, we should come to grow a greater appreciation of the Old Testament as we can see how the law, history, prophecies, wisdom, and promises foreshadow the coming of Jesus as the Messiah and King. If we aim to live for God’s glory, it is imperative for us to be acquainted to the whole Bible as the complete revelation of who God is, what He has done, and what He will do. Moreover, it is not only by reading or listening but also obeying that we come to realize the manifold blessings that are available to those who root themselves in the Bible as the standard and authority of their lives.
In compliance with Federal Trade Commission regulations, I was provided a review copy of this book from Crossway.