The Most Intimidating Books of The Bible
The Biblical Prophets are probably one of the most avoided and neglected portions of Scripture for the modern day believer. Strange visions, unfamiliar characters and numbers intimidate the reader. Add to that the number of prophecy websites with insights and predictions that conflict with other prophecy websites and one begins to ask, “Is there any way to understand these books at all?” “Can anyone know the true interpretation?” This is unfortunate because the biblical prophets are most importantly concerned about the person and work of Christ. In the prophets we get to see the beauty, redemption, and judgements of our great Lord and Savior.
A Proper Paradigm
Peter Gentry in his recent book, “How to Read and Understand the Biblical Prophets”, lays out a simple paradigm for gleaning the great truths that God has given to us in the Prophets. Too many times we begin to look for the minute details and applications and fail to first understand the grand narrative that God is laying out in the prophets, namely that of Jesus Christ’s glory in salvation in his first coming and His glory in Judgement in His second coming.
In the first part of the book, Gentry explains to the reader how the prophets wrote and how to view and understand apocalyptic literature. He argues that much of the debate surrounding biblical prophecy is due to the western grammatical mindset that we bring to our studies. He demonstrates that a literal view of scripture means that we read the various portions of scripture according to the genre in which they are written and teaches the reader the rules and characteristics for apocalyptic literature.
A Balanced Approach
Gentry does get into some interpretation issues but does not remain there long. He does not hold fast to either Covenant Theology or Dispensational Theology which I believe makes it a valuable and sharpening read for those on both sides of the interpretive traditions. I believe congregations will always be edified when Christ’s authority, saving power, and coming judgement are magnified in our pulpits when preaching through the prophets. The first part of the book was pretty academic, but I would recommend to any reader to particularly focus on chapters 5-7, Describing The Future, Parts 1-3.
Note: I received this book as a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.