Book Plunge: Urban Legends of the Old Testament

What do I think of Gary Yates and David Croteau’s book published by B&H Academic? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When I saw this book, I was intrigued by the idea and ordered it, and I am thankful that I did. This is a book that you can either read straight through or go through select chapters. Each chapter is short and starts off with the legend and then a response and then an application that follows.

The book is really incredibly readable. For me, many times when I near the end of the book, I really want to just finish it. With this one, I found myself enjoying each chapter as they were stand-alone in a quite entertaining way. At the same time, they’re incredibly informative.

This doesn’t mean that I agree with every assessment the authors have. For instance, I am still prone to see the Angel of the Lord as a Trinitarian precursor. Some items in particular I was very pleased to see. I was pleased to see the Harbinger and Isaiah 9:10, the Isaiah passage about how God’s word will not return void, and of course, Jeremiah 29:11.

Others I think they did a good job on but still left open to a kernel of truth. Perhaps Psalm 22 is not a prophecy of the crucifixion, but perhaps it can depict Jesus as the ultimate unjust sufferer who is handed over to His enemies as is the case in the Psalm. Perhaps Ezekiel bread really is a very healthy bread, but it might not be that just because it’s a meal described in the Bible we should eat it.

Some I think many people might be astounded by today, but the case I thought made was quite good. Could it be that Genesis 3 really doesn’t contain a prophecy of the virgin birth (Which I do affirm)? Could it be that maybe the Arabs aren’t the descendants of the Ishmaelites and that wars between Muslims and Christians today aren’t a result of that dispute thousands of years ago?

Some of these correct false teachings that need to be corrected, but at the same time provide a better teaching. What about training up a child in the way he should go? Does Proverbs 31 give a mandate for every wife to be like that woman? Is Song of Songs really best seen as describing dating?

Also, the authors don’t really try to go after controversial debates in the Old Testament as urban legends. How old is the Earth? Nothing said about it, although there is something said about NASA supposedly finding Joshua’s missing day. The issues here should be ones that Christians largely can agree on.

I really found this book to be a fascinating and engaging read and I highly recommend it. You’re bound to find something of interest in here and I have deliberately left out many of the conclusions just so you can discover them for yourselves. The book is also definitely layman-friendly and would be a great resource for small groups.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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