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Old Testament

Adaptable for Life: The Message of the OT for Contemporary Readers Session 1, Torah and Prophets

When: June 8, 2022, 8:15 am - Wednesday

Where: Burton 117

Prevenient Sessions

Session Abstract

This session offers a preview of select chapters from the Torah in the forthcoming volume Adaptable for Life: The Message of the OT for Contemporary Readers. The volume is intends to be an up to date and user-friendly textbook designed to introduce sophomore level undergraduate students to the books of the Old Testament. The emphasis falls on the enduring significance of these texts to contemporary communities of faith as well as contemporary culture as a whole. This is an opportunity for teachers and students to get feel for the volume’s content and offer feedback before the book goes to press.

Paper Abstracts

Mark Hamilton, Abilene Christian University, “Genesis: The Book of Beginnings”

Genesis recounts the stories of Israel’s ancestors as migrants in a world of movement and resettlement.  In the book, stories of families and peoples merge to create a complex mental map of the ancient world as Israel’s theologians saw it.  Far from taking an inward-looking approach, the voices present in the book see the world as one of blessing and goodness, as well as one under threat by human failure.  The book depicts a pre-exodus reality that has become, for its earliest audiences, the reality of an era of mass deportations.


Justin Rogers, Freed Hardeman University, “Leviticus: A Priestly Theology of Ancient Israel”

Leviticus probably has the distinction of being the most neglected book in the Pentateuch. From the sacrificial procedures opening the book to the rules regarding freewill offerings at the end, the book seems to scream at the modern reader, “Irrelevant!” But there is more to Leviticus than meets the eye. Lying behind the tedious rules and regulations is a God who desires a relationship with his people. When one undertakes a close reading of Leviticus, one can peek behind the curtain and behold the Almighty.


Tim Willis, Pepperdine University, “Deuteronomy: The Book of Covenant”

Deuteronomy is a pivot in the Old Testament between the life of Moses and the history of Israel in her homeland. It proceeds from the Lord’s dealings with Israel’s ancestors (Deut 1-4)to His expectations for His people “today” (Deut 5-26) to His promises regarding their future (Deut 27-32). The cultural chasm between the laws of Moses and our own times does not make the goals and intentions of the laws irrelevant. The book calls on the Lord’s people of every generation to love the Lord alone and to love their neighbors as part of their service to Him.


R. Mark Shipp, Independent Scholar, Austin, TX, “Isaiah: Judgment, Cleansing, Restoration”

Teaching Isaiah should involve a blend of historical, literary, and theological analysis. My point of departure is derived from chapters 1–4 and applied to the three main literary divisions of Isaiah. These develop Isaiah of Jerusalem’s three movements of judgment for sin (through military invasion and ultimately exile), the cleansing of the people of Judah (through the forge of invasion, devastation, and exile), and the restoration of a righteous remnant. These three foci correspond roughly to the three main divisions of the book and provide lenses for unpacking the difficult historical, literary, and theological concepts in each section.


Charles Rix, Oklahoma Christian University, “Becoming a Kingdom of Priests”

The ethical question “Am I my brother’s keeper?” echoes across both testaments.  How do we engage students in this ethic to become a “Kingdom of Priests:” mediators of God’s steadfast love and mercy in a world torn apart with suffering and injustice? OC professors have developed learning experiences to bring students face-to-face with suffering, oppression, systematic othering, forced labor and migration, and the need for biblical responses.  Courses include an Introduction to Biblical JusticeIsaiah and Civil Rights, and Reading the Bible after the Holocaust. I review how travel provides the grist for developing biblical responses to injustices we face.


Kevin Youngblood and Kilnam Cha, Harding University; Abilene Christian University, Conveners

  • Mark W. Hamilton, Abilene Christian University, “Genesis: The Book of Beginnings”
  • Justin Rogers, Freed-Hardeman University, “Leviticus: A Priestly Theology of Ancient Israel”
  • Tim Willis, Pepperdine University, “Deuteronomy: The Book of Covenant”
  • R. Mark Shipp, Independent Scholar, Austin, TX, "Isaiah: Judgment, Cleansing, Restoration"
  • Charles Rix, Oklahoma Christian University, "Becoming a Kingdom of Priests"

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