WHAT DOES THE OLD TESTAMENT REALLY SAY?
by Steve Maltz
ISBN: 978 0 9562296 7 0 Publisher: Saffron Planet. 224pp
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STEVE MALTZ is a writer, web consultant and is the founder of the Foundations conferences, Saffron Planet, the award-winning Christian web radio initiative and Saltshakers, the web community. He is married with three sons, a grandson and two dopey cats and lives in East London.
The Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament, has had a bit of a battering of late. Is it just the prelude to the New Testament? Has it served its purpose, now that we have a “better covenant”? Or do we ignore it at our peril?
With his customary humour, pacey style and shrewd insights, Steve Maltz reveals a goldmine of discovery and delights as the Old Testament is laid bare like never before. You will discover:
- Recurring themes that build up a wonderful picture of God
- The actions and teachings of the Biblical prophets in context
- The benefits of viewing the Scriptures hebraically
- New insights revealed by the One New Man Bible translation
What does The Old Testament really have to say to 21st Century man?
We've been "Maltzed" yet again! How does this guy do it? Everything Steve Maltz writes leaves me reeling. I am amazed at the consistently high level of his books. This latest offering ticks all the right boxes with me. Steve's goal is to be soundly biblical and very practical in his applications, yet he deals with matters that could so easily be dry as dust. Namely, what does the Old Testament really say? Yes, I know: you thought you knew, didn't you? Well I thought I knew and I've been a Bible teacher for fifty years! In reviewing this book I've learned a lot I simply didn't know before! I'm glad I know it now!
Our Lord Jesus the Messiah had a view of the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament) that was stratospheric! He could not have given it higher value in His own daily life and in the training of the disciples. Jesus lived and breathed the Hebrew Scriptures: His Father's precious Word. If we are to follow Him and learn from Him, our determination needs to be as intense as His. That's why Steve's book is essential reading.
Here is an overview of the entire Old Testament library, emphasizing the Jewishness of it and the deep meanings to be unearthed from the Hebrew text. I found it to be fascinating and very faith building. If you think you can't afford it (!), sell your shirt to buy it! (Chris Hill, Bible teacher, speaker and broadcaster)
Steve Maltz is fast becoming the modern heir of CS Lewis – someone who can address his generation in a culturally attuned manner, and yet put across profound spiritual truths with an easy and engaging style. Averaging two books a year over the past 5 years, Maltz looks set to overtake some of the more established authors – if sheer output is a measure!
A blueprint is a standardised specification from which goods or processes can be precisely replicated. A blueprint in essence represents perfection. Deviations from the blueprint design represent a missing of the mark, less than perfection, and with possibly dangerously defective properties. Maltz explains how God has set out His blueprint for right relationship with Himself – through a Chosen People and through a Teaching (Torah). We all know that God’s blueprint has been largely ignored down through history, by individuals and by a society made up of individuals. But more than this, the blueprint reveals the coming Son - the Saviour of mankind, and the One with whom we can all call upon in faith and repentance, as Saviour.
So what is this book? In essence it is a broad-brush painting of what we call “The Old Testament”, the book that makes up ¾ of our Bible and yet one with which many Christians frankly struggle. “God’s Blueprint” is Maltz’s attempt to help us see the broad connections, the beautiful bigger picture revealing both God’s heart and God’s righteous standards. Whilst the big picture is drawn with broad strokes, it is delivered by Maltz with sufficient fine detail drawn out in fine brush strokes to reveal huge truths that are often missed even by the diligent student. In other words this is not just another essay on the big events of the Old Testament, it shows God’s connected plan to draw humans into right relationship with Himself, and through Himself, with each other.
There is one other big advantage to this useful short book. Maltz has an engaging style and a biblically astute understanding which he shares in an engaging manner. This book is a reasonably easy read, made more so by Maltz’s reverent use of light humour and occasional irony.
What do readers achieve at the end of a reading of this new book? Certainly a better understanding of the interconnectedness of not only the Old Testament but the way it engages with the New. We have to remind ourselves from time to time that the Scriptures with which the Lord Jesus was familiar and which He fulfilled and which He expounded and proclaimed, was the Old Testament. If it was important to Jesus, then it has to be important to us as well! Maltz’s book helps to put the whole Old Testament into a recognisable context. “God’s Blueprint” is a ‘road map’ to help us navigate the bigger obstacles to understanding.
The structure of “God’s Blueprint” is straightforward. Divided into 2 parts, the first is a tour at rapid pace through all the Old Testament (“WORD”). This section consists of 11 chapters with chapter titles in the inimitable Maltz style, such as: Patriarchs and troubled hearts; Teachings and bleatings; Trouble and strife and; We told you so! The second part (“THEMES”) consists of 3 chapters with Maltz’s reflections on what the Old Testament Scriptures reveal about God, hence: Chapter Twelve; Some things we learn about God; Chapter Thirteen: Some things we learn about man; and Chapter Fourteen: Some other things we learn.
Overall, this is a useful addition to the serious student’s library, and firmly at the top end of the popular theology genre, and modestly priced. It will also make a nice present for younger Christians, who need to get up to speed on the Scriptures, before moving onto heavier material.
Highly recommended – 5*
(Peter Sammons, author of The Birth of Christ and One Flesh – both published by Glory to Glory Publications)
God’s Blueprint is a survey of the Hebrew Scriptures approached and written in the author’s own inimitable style. Steve Maltz teaches and informs in a contemporary, entertaining and respectful way, while also teasing out the Hebraisms of Scripture. Steve leads the reader on a country walk taking in the off-the-beaten-track scenery, and breathing the air of God’s people including the prophets, priests and kings from Genesis to Malachi. He explains how God grabs our attention and the unexpected choice of people He used to carry out His purposes—even using those who oppose Him to bring about His desired response and direction for His chosen people. Guiding them, even when they have deviated, drawing them back into travelling God’s way and to His schedule. The Jews, he claims, have an undeniable future.
Using the Hebrew Scriptures the author walks on through the art gallery of time. Taking the Prophets and the Psalms he points to God’s brush strokes that speak of Jesus, and how He is colourfully and unmistakably splashed all over the place—His birth, life, death, and reign on earth.
Explaining the Hebraic meaning of words and phrases as the author does on occasions, deepens and enlarges our understanding of God’s Word to man. This is a book that should be found on every Christian’s bookshelf. It is a book that will be constantly dipped into as a refreshing Bible study aid. (Malcolm Baker, Pointers ministries)
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