An Introduction to the Old Testament | Raymond B. Dillard & Tremper Longman III

While I don’t often read reference books cover-to-cover, I made an exception with this volume. I treated this book as a supplement to my regular Bible reading. Every time I read a different book in the Old Testament, I read the introduction to that book as well. For the last year or so, Dillard and Longman have been my dialogue partners as I read through the Hebrew Bible.

The book is laid out simply. After a brief introduction there is a chapter on every book in the Old Testament. This makes it a great work to jump in to and out of as needed. Each chapter follows the same form:

  1. Historical Background: Who wrote the book in what setting?
  2. Literary Analysis: What genre is the book and what is its literary merit?
  3. Theological Message: What is the book trying to say?
  4. Approaching the New Testament: How is this book used in the New Testament?

A few things set this work apart from the scores of Old Testament primers out there. Dillard and Longman are evangelical in perspective yet they have no problem interacting and dealing honestly with historical-critical perspectives. This is refreshing to see. I also appreciate the broader canonical perspective of the authors.

If you’re a thoughtful evangelical Christian looking to expand your understanding of the Old Testament as you read through it, I would encourage you to read this book.

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