The journey begins and I am so excited at what God will show us through His Word. First, some ground-rules. This is not an exhaustive commentary on the Hebrew Scriptures, but rather a meandering and we won't be visiting the popular beauty spots featured in the glossy travel brochures. Instead, we will be lifting up stones and poking around in the undergrowth. We will also look upwards and outwards at the bigger picture and, following the unique quirks of the Hebrew mind, we will be making connections, sometimes in unusual places, often crossing over boundaries erected by theologians to keep us nice and ordered. Not so much the highways, as the byways; not so much the purple prose as the small print. As I have stressed many times in recent books, there are two mindsets that dominate the thinking of modern man, Christians included. These are the Greek mindset, perhaps best expressed in the phrase, Know thyself! and the Hebraic mindset, which focuses on knowing God. Now here's the problem in a nutshell. The Bible was written using the Hebraic mindset, but, these days tends to be understood using the Greek mindset. This means that we tend to see the Bible predominantly as a source for our thoughts and actions. There is nothing wrong with that, but what is often neglected is God Himself. There's no better way of getting to know the One we are going to spend eternity with, than by reading His Book. There's so much we can learn about Him from the Hebrew Scriptures, from the developing story of His dealings with His people. I would go as far as to say that these Scriptures, the Old Testament, are there to provide us with a blueprint, a design plan, of God's heart. God's blueprint. So that has been my aim with this book. In the first part there is a complete sweep of the Hebrew Scriptures, from Genesis to Malachi. I have gone, as far as I can, for broad chronological accuracy rather than neat divisions. So Job comes between Genesis and Exodus and the two books of Chronicles straddle the Psalms. Also, where possible I have placed the prophets as close as I could to the narrative they refer to, so we can have historical context. It may all seem a bit of a mess, but I think that the Scriptures will speak to you in new ways. In the second part, I strip out all of the themes uncovered so far and displayed logically (how Greek is that!), so that we can start to see some important principles on how God deals with His people. There may be some surprises here for you, there certainly were for me! Then, in the Epilogue, key observations are made about God and about man. I am particularly excited because in this book I'll be using a brand-new translation, the One New Man Bible. It will be like walking a well-worn route, but with better-fitting boots. I am prepared for a dash of unfamiliarity in the wording, but I am buoyed up by the knowledge that the words I will read are perhaps the closest to the original intention of the writers (and Writer!) that I've ever experienced. I won't qualify that statement, instead we will just let the journey itself provide its own commentary. It is time for us to pore over the blueprint . . .
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