One of the areas that Christians need more understanding of is how the New Testament writers used the Old Testament. The Bible of Jesus and the Apostles was what we call the Old Testament and so we should not be surprised that they used the Old Testament frequently. But how did they use it? I encounter Christian apologists who try to convince skeptics by pointing to the dozens and dozens of Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled in the New Testament. The sheer number seems so overwhelming that any skeptic should instantly see the truth of Christianity. The problem is when those skeptics go beyond being awed by the numbers and start looking up the Old Testament passages. At first glance, some of those prophecies look like they have nothing to do with the New Testament fulfillment and that each passage has a completely different context.
For that reason, I am thankful that there is a great resource in the Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. G.K. Beale is an expert on this subject and he has written a number of important books in this area. This book is an extremely helpful resource for people struggling with how the New Testament uses the Old Testament. It is not a compilation of answers to hard questions but rather a resource that teaches the reader how to tackle any passage. Guidelines are given on how to check the OT context, understand the Jewish interpretations, discover the NT context and then understand how that OT passage was used in the NT. This book is good for people from a wide range of backgrounds. It is scholarly and so is helpful for those in seminary but it is readable enough that an interested layperson can understand it. Beale gives plenty of recommended reading for those who want to go deeper. I highly recommend this book for all those who want to take both Old and New Testaments seriously.
Book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and Baker Books in exchange for an honest review.