A Journey Through the Old Testament

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Old Testament Survey - OTS101

Nate Jackson
Student # N1838-2219

June 12, 2011

The first 39 books of the larger work called the Bible, is called the Old Testament. The Bible itself is arguably the best selling and most read book of all time, yet it’s well known to be quite challenging to read through and understand. The Old Testament portion of the Bible, notably the most difficult portion of the Bible for most to study and follow, yields 39 books from multiple authors, and spans over 4000 years of crucial world and church history. If that were not enough to take on, the Old Testament comes our way through multiple styles of authorship and formats, including but not limited to, books of history, law, proverbs, ethics, philosophy, treatises, dramas, songs, epics, biographies, and letters. There have been many books written and published to survey, explain, and/or bring to light the Old Testament, but none more helpful to me than the review subject of this paper, the work of Dr. Elmer L. Towns, entitled “A Journey Through the Old Testament”. The title gives a clue about the book, but a better glimpse of what the book is really about is found in the book’s subtitle, “The Story of how God Developed His People in the Old Testament”. Unlike most Biblical survey books, that provide the theme, outline, information about the author, and a commentary of the Old Testament content, Dr. Towns’ book focuses on the people who influenced the events of the Old Testament. It does more than pin the events and people to a timeline, it interprets the Old Testament through the sequential influence of those that made and helped form Bible history. From the first pages of his book, Dr. Towns explains his purpose and reasoning behind his unique approach and style of writing for this work. He states, “God’s people want to know about God’s people… they will love reading about Old Testament people like themselves.…They have the same desires, family problems, and frustrations… average people, in difficult circumstances, with inadequate means, faced insurmountable obstacles and became history makers. Their lives are worth our study.” He goes on to say, “I have chosen to interpret the Old Testament through the influence of great individuals as they improved society or destroyed the quality of life in their culture”. Dr. Towns comes at the reader with more than just dates, geography, and commentary from Old Testament history; he actually takes the time to introduce us to the real people who lived real lives, who impacted their generation and the generations that followed.

Dr. Towns highlights and walks us through Old Testament history in sequence, through the lives of over 50 key individuals from the Old Testament. He gives us a close look at the key personalities, their lives, their relationship (or rebellion) to God, and the impact each had. He builds a foundation for us by starting at the beginning; he begins with the first rebellion against God and His love, that being the prideful rebellion of Lucifer the archangel. We see evil in its infancy, as Lucifer risks (and loses) everything good and blessed in his existence to pridefully rebel against God his creator. We see the consequences of his rebellion, and the huge impact it had on his existence, the angles that followed him, and ultimately all of mankind.

In reading the text we are skillfully escorted through the earliest accounts of created man, and we see that like Lucifer, the first man (Adam) chose to risk and lose everything good and blessed from God in his life, to pridefully rebel and sin against God his creator. Towns shows the extent of the influence and impact of Adam’s choices, as we follow the lives and choices of his first son Cain, and the next 7 generations that followed Cain. We are reminded that the Bible describes the moral status of Cain’s descendants in Genesis, “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent...
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