Philip Yancey has a way of confronting our most cherished — but misguided — notions about the Christian life. In his newest book, Yancey challenges the perception that the New Testament is more important than the Old, that the Hebrew Scriptures aren’t worth the time they take to read and understand them. Writing as always with keen insight into the human condition and God’s provision for it, Yancey debunks this theory once and for all. Yes, he agrees, the Old Testament can be baffling, boring, and even offensive to the modern reader. But as he personally discovered, the Old Testament is full of rewards for the one who embraces its riches. With his candid, signature style, Yancey unfolds his interactions with the Old Testament from the perspective of his own deeply personal journey. From Moses, the amazing prince of Egypt, to the psalmists’ turbulent emotions and the prophets’ oddball rantings, Yancey paints a picture of Israel’s God — and ours — that fills in the blanks of a solely New Testament vision of the Almighty. As he reconnects for us the strong, sinuous chords that bind the Old and New Testaments, Yancey reclaims the Reformers’ deep sense of unity between the two. Most important, he says, reading the Scriptures that Jesus so revered gives believers a profound new understanding of Christ, the Cornerstone of the new covenant. “The more we comprehend the Old Testament,” Yancey writes, “the more we comprehend Jesus.”
Yancey is an astute author who challenges Christians' assumptions without alienating them. In The Bible Jesus Read, Yancey encourages readers to consider how Hebrew Scripture--what Christians call the Old Testament--is relevant to their own lives. His premise is that although many Christians tacitly consider the New Testament more important than the Old, the New Testament was written after Jesus' earthly ministry, making the Old Testament "the Bible Jesus read." Hebrew Scripture was the greatest influence on the mind and spirit of the founder of Christianity, a fact that, in the author's estimation, obligates Christians to know it well. Yancey acknowledges the difficulty of transcending the cultural gulf between modern civilization and ancient Israel and seeks to bridge the gap by highlighting sections of the Old Testament that he initially found hard to appreciate. The writings of the Prophets were particularly obscure to Yancey because of the nonnarrative style and assumption of a warrior culture. However, he gradually discovered the passages' deep relevance to, and resonance with, his own experience. He came to love these Old Testament books when he realized that many of their concerns, such as justice for the poor and faithfulness to God, are timeless. Yancey's lucid style and honest handling of difficult ideas ensure that readers who have enjoyed his earlier books will not be disappointed in this one. FYI: Zondervan will simultaneously release an audio version, read by the author (two cassettes, 2 hrs., ).