Old Testament Today
Old Testament Today is a great book to be used for individual study or a great group resource for going through the whole Old Testament, or just specific portions for it. It follows the same format as the NIV Application Commentary set. If you are not familiar with that layout, here is a brief overview.
First the author (in this case Dr. Walton) presents the segment of Scripture being discussed. This is called the Original Meaning section. Here the reader gets historical background, what the original setting was like, who the intended audience was & any other pertinent literary information. The next segment is called Bridging Contexts. Here the author asks why the content we are given is given to us at all. This segment tries to connect the original audience & the current audience together. Is there any different meaning that the original audience would have understood, which would not be intuitive to us? Is there something which sticks out to us, but not to the intended audience? This section addresses these concerns. The last segment is called Contemporary Significance. Here the author makes the text come alive using illustrations & examples anyone could connect to. This is the practical, "What can we do with this passage?" section.
A few years ago, I took my high school students through the book of Genesis. I used Dr. Walton's commentary in the NIVAC. This was a phenomenal resource to use. It furthered my understanding of the text & helped me present it in an applicable & practical manner. One of the best examples of this is the correlation between the Tower of Babel & the Matrix. The week before we discussed the Tower of Babel, I gave the students a teaser that we would talk about the Matrix in relation to it & they were talking all week how the two would fit together. They seemed pleasantly surprised the next week as well & the connection helped them see the importance of that story more clear.
Old Testament Today does a excellent job presenting the message of the Old Testament in a clear, concise manner. Dr. Walton also lays out a few ways to use the book in the introduction. Dr. Walton Is a professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College Graduate School, & brings his teaching style to the page. The flow of thought is easy & exceptionally readable & reads more like a novel than a commentary. This is a resource that anyone who teaches through the Old Testament should be familiar with. I think you will find it indispensable once you do use it.
Dr. Walton is the author of several books, including Chronological and Background Charts of the Old Testament, Ancient Israelite Literature in Its Cultural Context, Covenant: God's Purpose, God's Plan, and IVP Bible Background Commentary of the Old Testament.
You can pick up any of these books for 20% off by clicking on them, or by going here.