Let’s be honest: It’s just easier to study New Testament.
The pre-Jesus part of the Bible can seem so convoluted with lineages, stories, and laws that Jesus came to abolish. Some people wonder what use is it for us to study a book that contains prohibitions against the trimming of your beard, or eating certain types of seafood. Conversely, we may ask what we have to gain from a testament that seemingly highlights the strict justice of God, to the point of requiring severe punishments for things like disobedient children? What about animal sacrifices?
Most of what we know about the Old Testament can feel like a grab bag of people, books, events, and ideas, and usually, it’s hard for us make sense of it and see how it connects to God’s bigger story at all. Christians tend to focus instead on the person of Jesus Christ and typically use the Old Testament merely as a proof texts for proof of Jesus’ divinity.
In Epic of Eden, Dr. Sandra Richter jumps headlong into the Old Testament to clearly and powerfully communicate a history of God’s redeeming grace, weaving together a story that runs from the Eden of the Garden to the garden of the New Jerusalem. The Old Testament, Richter argues, needs to be read in its own right, but in ways that are profoundly and essentially congruent with the message of the New Testament.
Through text and video teaching, Dr. Richter uses this 12-week study to bring a new dimension to the history of the ancient Near East, orienting any study group in time, geography, culture, redemption, and relevance to today — all without diminishing her reader’s faith or “dumbing down” the scripture.