For many years, I found the first five books of the Bible rather frustrating and difficult to understand and integrate. All of the basic answers to the questions I had were never adequately answered in some of the churches and classes I took. Looking back on many of my questions, I think I was trying to form an approach through something similar to what we find in Biblical Theology before I knew of folks like Geerhardus Vos or G. K. Beale. I had questions that related to redemptive history and I was trying hard to “put things together” in light of the NT’s use of the OT. Thankfully, I found some help.

If you don’t known a copy of John H. Sailhamer’s The Meaning of the Pentateuch, you need to stop everything that you are doing and get it. When it came out in 2009, I found it quite helpful in many areas. As an example, here’s how Sailhamer explains the purpose of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible:

“The purpose of the Pentateuch is not to teach a life of obedience to the law given to Moses at Sinai, but to be a narrative admonition to be like Abraham, who did not live under the law and yet fulfilled the law through a life of faith. The Pentateuch is a lesson drawn from the lives of its two leading men, Abraham and Moses. 2 The Pentateuch lays out two fundamentally dissimilar ways of “walking with God” (Deut 29: 1): one is to be like Moses under the Sinai law, and is called the “Sinai covenant”; the other, like that of Abraham (Gen 15: 6), is by faith and apart from the law, and is called the “new covenant.” These two central themes (law and faith) are played out in the Pentateuch and into the prophetic literature as a contrast of two covenants, Mosaic and Abrahamic, or law and gospel.”

What’s most difficult for you in studying or understanding the Pentateuch?

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