06 (June 2014)

Time travel to the Old Testament

Time travel to the Old Testament
Michael Bentley Michael, aged 76, is a retired Baptist minister, chairman of the Bracknell Forest Society and author of 16 books.
31 May, 2014 2 min read

Time travel to the Old Testament

Chris Sinkinson
IVP, 208 pages, £9.99, ISBN: 978-1-84474-904-1
Star rating : 4

When my wife and I plan to travel to a country new to us, we consult a guidebook such as in the ‘Lonely Planet’ series. We like those books, because they are not compiled by companies who want our business, but ordinary travellers who want to share their experiences.

Chris Sinkinson has spent many years travelling through the Old Testament (OT). The work he does as a Bible college lecturer has obviously shaped his thinking and enabled him to present this book in the guise of an OT travel guide.

This volume is no dry, difficult to read treatise on the OT, it is an exciting tour of the lives and experience of God’s people in OT times, as they travel towards the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth.

The opening chapter is called ‘Preparing to embark’. Here the author tells us what we need for the journey. He shows us that the Bible is a trustworthy guide. He points out that parts of the Bible are written in three different languages, Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic.

These days we are blessed with many different translations of the Bible. But no reader should be deterred from studying the OT, because the author maintains that ‘even without knowledge of biblical languages or the archaeology of the Ancient Near East, any thoughtful reader can still make plenty of headway’ (p.17).

The way the book is divided into chapters helps the reader understand the meaning of the OT. Helpful maps, charts and photographs are found throughout and each chapter concludes with thought-provoking questions.

There are chapters entitled, ‘Hebrew storytelling’, ‘Among many gods’ and ‘Laying down the law’. I especially liked the chapter called ‘Meet the natives’. In this we learn, among many other things, the importance to civilisation of water.

We are also given details about the Sumerians and their skyscrapers, the gods of Sumer and their astrology, the Egyptians and their pyramids, the Canaanites and their cities, the Philistines and their technologies, and finally the rise of Babylon.

This book is highly instructive for the new Christian, and those who have studied the Bible for many years will still learn more from it. I thoroughly recommend it, not just for preachers and Sunday school teachers but also for every follower of Christ.

In addition, it would make an excellent gift for those who do not yet know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour, as well as for our Muslim friends and those of other religions.

Michael Bentley

Michael, aged 76, is a retired Baptist minister, chairman of the Bracknell Forest Society and author of 16 books.
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