The author is an experienced Presbyterian pastor, who was formerly Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. Both these career aspects are apparent in the way he tackles this exposition of the life of Abraham, our father in the faith (hence the book’s title).
The book’s 17 chapters are, clearly, well edited versions of sermons preached to his congregation. The treatment is scholarly, reflecting wide acquaintance with relevant theological issues, and yet humble — the scholarship is not gratuitously paraded.
Each of his chapters on the Genesis 12-25 narrative, as it unfolds, is a masterpiece of brief, conservative, biblical and theological exposition. The truths are applied in pointed and often comforting pastoral lessons.
The author highlights both the covenantal and Christ-centred aspects of the Genesis narrative, and does justice to its New Testament dimensions without distorting the original context.
My only hesitation concerned Dr Davis’ evident coyness in identifying Isaac’s role in the sacrifice on Moriah (Genesis 22) with that of Christ at Calvary (not that, to be fair, Calvary is far from Davis’ thinking here).
Davis illustrates all his lessons well, often with fresh and sparkling anecdotes (of varying relevance to the points being made!). All his published works are to be commended, and this one, though short, is among his best.
There is a street-wise wit about his use of words that, combined with his trenchant biblicism, is both instructive and highly suggestive for preachers.