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In other words, the whole Bible is about God, but at its very centre is Jesus Christ. The whole of the Old Testament looks forward to and points towards him while the whole of the New Testament flows from him. It is through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we can meet God in a new way and have our lives transformed by his forgiveness, love and peace. We need to see the big picture of God's plan, the whole of the Biblical story, to see how all the pieces of life, as well as all the parts of the Bible, finally fit together.

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Using the analogy of trying to complete a jigsaw puzzle without the picture on the box, Mike Cain puts it like this:. The Christian claim is that God is the one person big enough to see everything that is going on, and that in the Bible he has given us the picture on the box that really does make sense of all the pieces of our lives. In the end, the picture on the box that tells the story of the universe is a picture of a person — Jesus Christ.

He says, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. He is claiming to be the one makes sense of life and the one who is the source of life as it is meant to be, because he is the one who has come to restore us to the reason we are on this planet: For further reading on this, see: First of all, it is probably best to get a reasonably up-to-date translation of the Bible, such as the New International Version or English Standard Version. Some of the language in the King James Version, although beautiful, can be difficult to understand. Once you have chosen your Bible, it is probably best not to start at the beginning of the Old Testament and get bogged down in the genealogies and name lists of Numbers and the laws of Leviticus.

If, as we have suggested, the centre of the Bible is Jesus Christ, then the best place to start is with one of the Gospels to learn about his life, death and resurrection — you can then move on to other parts. Read a whole chapter at a time, more if you can, to see the developing account of Jesus' life. Ask what it tells you about God, about Jesus and how this fits in to God's wider plan of salvation.

Is there anything that you need to do as a result of reading this passage? If you are new to reading the Bible, it would be really helpful to read it with a Christian friend, or at least ask them if you can discuss what you've read with them afterwards. If you feel comfortable, pray beforehand that God will speak to you through what you are reading and will help you to understand it.

If you don't believe in God, then read it anyway.

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The centre of the Bible is God's revelation in Jesus Christ, but the key issue is why Jesus died on the Cross and whether he rose from the dead afterwards. So if you really want to find out why Christians believe what they do and how these events relate to the rest of the Bible and to our lives today, the 'Dig deeper' resources below will help you think more about these specific issues:.

Finally, there are parts of the Bible that can be difficult to understand, although other parts are crystal clear. Mark Twain once said supposedly "It ain't those parts of the Bible I can't understand that bother me, it's the parts I do understand.

The Hebrew Bible in Its Context

But don't let that stop you from hearing the parts that speak clearly to you — and responding to them appropriately. For more on The Significance of the Cross. For more on The resurrection of Jesus. InterVarsity Press, , p. If you want much more background about the Old and New Testaments, the following books are recommended:.

A good Study Bible will also provide helpful background information on each book, and detailed comments on many verses. Many also contain a number of helpful introductory articles. A few of the ideas in this article have been taken almost verbatim from notes from Wayne Grudem's seminar 'How can the Scriptures change my life?

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I am unaware of any online version of this seminar. Paul Coulter takes an in depth look at the violence in the Old Testament that was commanded by God and asks how we should understand it. What have you been thinking about?

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What is the Bible? The Hebrew Scriptures Many religions have a book or books which are considered holy or authoritative. Paperback , pages. The Hebrew Bible in Its Context. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Aug 04, Melanie rated it really liked it. This is a great survey of the Old Testament. Coogan walks the readers through each book of the Hebrew Scriptures, as well as apocryphal and deuterocanonical books and ANE writings, in an accessible, interesting way, including sidebars on various related topics, maps, timelines, and other supplementary material.

Though this introduction is a "nondenominational and nondoctrinal treatment," sensitive readers who prefer to approach the biblical text from a conservative hermeneutic should be aware th This is a great survey of the Old Testament. Though this introduction is a "nondenominational and nondoctrinal treatment," sensitive readers who prefer to approach the biblical text from a conservative hermeneutic should be aware that Coogan uses a variety of interpretive strategies including historical, critical, and literary analyses.

An engaging read with helpful chapter-by-chapter bibliographies for further research. Coogan is a respected and accomplished author of numerous scholarly publications and General Editor of The New Oxford Annotated Bible 4th ed. Most recently, Coogan released an updated and revised edition of his well-known Old Testament Michael D. Most recently, Coogan released an updated and revised edition of his well-known Old Testament textbook—an introductory textbook that is commonplace among undergraduate classrooms. The Hebrew Bible in Its Context 3rd ed. The latter being more technical and detail than the former.

For this updated and revised edition Coogan invited a collaborator, Cynthia R.

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  • A Brief Introduction to the Old Testament: The Hebrew Bible in Its Context.
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Chapman of Oberlin College, to provide fresh insight and perspective. Coogan and Chapman have sought to provide updates and revisions throughout the volume that present the most recent scholarship with clarity, accuracy, and accessibility xx. Moreover, the sections of the volume that deal with women have been more fully integrated into the context of the specific section rather than marginalized into subsections.

These changes alone make this edition a welcomed and more balanced experienced. Those familiar with the previous editions will recognize and rejoice in the overall layout of the volume. Each chapter begins with a short introduction that connects the previous section to the coming material, and closes with a summary section to review the material discussed. Within this framework Coogan has highlighted important names and terms, provided a list of curated review questions, and offered the readers a brief bibliography for further study. At the end of the book the reader will find a general bibliography organized topically for ease of use, a glossary of all the highlighted words for quick reference, and an index for ease of navigation.

Coogan and Cynthia R. Chapman provides a welcomed revision to an already well-known and well-received classic. Everything previously praised about this volume remains, and what has changed should only warrant additional adoration. While much of the content in this volume will come with criticism and disagreement from more conservative readers, Coogan has offered an introduction worth engaging for readers with a keen awareness of the underlying issues.

Coogan's best-selling The Old Testament: Coogan works primarily from a historical and critical methodology but also introduces students to literary analysis and other interpretive strategies. Providing a nondenominational and nondoctrinal treatment, this text offers a unique and captivating introduction to the Hebrew scriptures themselves and to how they have been--and can be--interpreted. He is the author of The Old Testament: Chapman is the Adelia A.

She is the author of The Gendered Language of Warfare in the Israelite-Assyrian Encounter and is currently completing a second book on maternal kinship titled The House of the Mother: Coogan is a precise and lucid writer and a top-notch scholar who is both at the forefront of a broad range of biblical scholarship and can distill that knowledge into accessible erudition.