Friday, September 22, 2017

How to read and understand the biblical prophets

Some years ago I had the privilege of walking the halls of the campus of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. A student who must have realized I was new, walked up to me, raised his finger, and pointed down the hallway at a bearded man stepping out of an office and turning around the corner. "That man is a genius," he said, and walked off. That genius turned out to be Dr. Peter J. Gentry, Professor of Old Testament Interpretation.

Dr. Gentry's newest book, How to Read and Understand the Biblical Prophets is a testament to that genius. I read the first chapter, "Calling the People Back to the Covenant," and told my wife, "That chapter alone was worth the cost of the book." The next six chapters and appendix on the literary structure of Revelation were equally valuable. Gentry believes that "having the larger picture right will help to get the details right." Commentaries tend to focus on the details of the text, but run the risk of missing the forest for the trees. Gentry's approach stems from years of research and hard work to learn the intricacies of ancient Hebrew and Middle Eastern literary styles. As a result, he's able to move from 10,000 feet to ground level and back again with relative ease.

In this work he provides great insight on the Biblical prophets, especially the books of Isaiah and Daniel. I'm very excited about returning to these sections of the Old Testament again, and I plan to consult Dr. Gentry's book during my reading. Rarely does a book strike me like this one has.

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher, and I give it my highest praise.