I love using Accordance as my biblical studies tool of choice. As such, I’m happy to have an occasional opportunity to receive some new modules in return for my honest review. Such is the case with he new release of the five volume Preaching Christ from the Old Testament, by Dr. Sidney Greidanus. The set is currently on sale for $99.90 through April 15, that’s $60 off the regular price.
Dr. Greidanus and I share some agreements, two of which are relevant to my review of these modules. First, we agree that Jesus is central to the Christian faith. As such, Christian preaching can’t ignore the impact of Jesus on the Christian understanding of salvation-history 1. Second, we both agree that the Old Testament 2 is often ignored by Jesus’ disciples to their own detriment. Christians can, and should, preach from the Old Testament, without feeling like they need to ignore Christ in order to do so. Dr. Greidanus even lays out seven methods for preaching Christ in the Old Testament in each of these volumes which some readers may find helpful.
The five volumes cover the Old Testament in general, Genesis, Daniel, Psalms, and Ecclesiastes. I read either the introduction or first chapter for each of the five volumes for this review. There is a lot of repeat information in each book, as Dr. Greidanus makes no assumptions about readers having access to the other volumes in the series. Aside from the aforementioned seven methods for preaching Christ from the Old Testament, he also repeats the reasons why preaching the Old Testament is important. Sandwiched in-between these mostly repeated essays are a general overview of Dr. Greidanus’ theological reading, and the reasons for this reading, of the current subject. It was as I read these sections I realized something.
I’m not the assumed audience for these modules.
The assumptions laid out in the books presume that readers are Reformed Evangelicals, or at least Evangelicals. Being neither of those things there were a number of suppositions I with which I found myself disagreeing. For example, Dr. Greidanus is very much in favor of Genesis being “real” history 3. As such, he finds any view that sees Genesis as anything else as undermining the text. Not being an Evangelical, it was reasoning which just didn’t resonate with me 4.
Aside from the theological assumptions, the book is also prescriptive. This is not a bad thing, as Dr. Greidanus is writing from a position which assumes the people reading his works have no idea how to preach Christ from the Old Testament. So I understand his need to lay out a full methodology for this project. As I read his thoughts, however, they made me feel like I was a first year theology student again – back to the point where I didn’t even have a decent vocabulary to ponder Dr. Greidanus’ subject matter 5. Being a number years removed from that point in my journey, the volumes felt like primers. Not needing to be convinced of the veracity of Preaching Christ from the Old Testament, going back to a primer felt like a step backward.
So if I’m not the assumed audience for these volumes, who is?
I’d say if you’re a Reformed Evangelical who’s just getting started as a preacher, these volumes should appeal to you. Dr. Greidanus has an easy writing style, and is able to cover a swath of material without making a reader feel over-burdened 6. And if you’re part of the Reformed Evangelical theological school of thought then I would say these volumes are worth picking up. Dr. Greidanus and I share another big theological agreement relevant to these texts – Marcion has been living a pseudo-existence in far too many Christian Churches for far too long.
The volumes work well as Accordance modules, and benefit from the mobile app’s page flip feature 7. They are laid out well, and the various charts Dr. Greidanus includes in his works are presented as high-resolution images. This is an important attention to detail in our world of high Pixels Per Inch screens, but the Accordance conversion would have benefitted by a bit of white space padding around the images.
If this is a topic which interests you, this is a series worth checking out.
- That might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised. Or maybe not. ↩
- Or Hebrew Scripture. ↩
- Though not following 19th Century standards. ↩
- There are other examples, but that’s not really the focus of my review. ↩
- And I read it five times, so this feeling got stronger as I went along. ↩
- And, really, these do feel like preaching textbooks. I came across a quote in my reading which intimated as much, but I neglected to highlight it at the time. When I went back to search for the like the wording escaped me. ↩
- Though I’d love to get two columns, and I’ve noticed the line at the bottom tend to get clipped by the iOS swipe bar. ↩