Toward Rediscovering The Old Testament, Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.; Grand Rapids, Mich., Zondervan Publishing House; 250 pp. (hard cover), $17.95 [reviewed by Prof. H.C. Hoeksema]

This is, as far as its purpose is concerned, a book after my heart. The title presupposes that the Old Testament has been lost. The meaning, of course, is not that the Old Testament Scriptures themselves have been lost, but rather that the Old Testament has been largely lost in the teaching and preaching of what is broadly classified as the Evangelical world. Perhaps the latter characterization is not true of us in the Reformed tradition; at least I hope it is not. However, I do believe that the Old Testament does not receive sufficient attention in our preaching and teaching. The same is true to no little extent as far as the understanding of the Scriptures is concerned among our people generally. When I note sometimes the ignorance with respect to simple Old Testament facts and truths, I sometimes wonder how much attention the Old Testament receives in our personal and family reading and study of the Scriptures. Have we to some extent lost the good practice of reading through the entire Scriptures in our family devotions? I would not want to make the matter of Old Testament preaching and study a matter of a mathematical formula, but do you realize that the Old Testament constitutes more than three-fourths of Holy Scripture? 

This work by Dr. Kaiser, Old Testament professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, is not an ordinary Old Testament Introduction. Nor is it a hermeneutics book with special reference to the Old Testament. As the author himself states, he has set out “to describe how Christians may once again find meaning, relevance, and direction from that part of the canon that all too many believers all too frequently have summarily rejected as a source of any Christian guidance for faith or life. This mental and literary block is not limited to the laity; it probably exists in more massive proportions among the clergy, many of whom would do almost anything—yea, would rather die—than attempt to teach or preach from an Old Testament passage.” 

Here is a sample of some of the chapters: The OT As Part Of The Canon, The OT As The Promise-Plan of God, The OT As A Messianic Primer, The OT As The Plan Of Salvation. In Chapter 7 the author addresses the following questions: 1) Is the Authority of the OT Limited Only to What the NT Repeats or Modifies from the OT? 2) What Is the Relationship of the Law to OT Promise? 3) How Can Christians Derive Principles From the Specific Commands of the Law? 

Without going into details in this review, I may say that I do not agree with the author at all points. But I would rather emphasize the positive this time, in the hope that reading a book like this will stimulate further study of and thinking about the Old Testament. 

This book is not only for ministers. But whoever reads it will have to put on his thinking cap.