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Debbie from ChristFocus
2 Stars Out Of 5
Not as useful or as insightful as I expected
September 10, 2012
Debbie from ChristFocus
"Deeper into the Word: Old Testament" digs deeper into the meaning of some Hebrew words used in the Old Testament. I've done a lot of word studies on Hebrew words, and it's possible that's why I wasn't as impressed with this book as I was with "Deeper into the Word: New Testament." However, my impression was that this book contained less information that gave insight to the text--insight that would make me think, "oh, now I understand that teaching so much better!"
The book listed 100 common English words found in the Old Testament and listed them alphabetically. Under each English word, the author explained which Hebrews words could be translated as that English word. She explained the nuances of each word and then gave examples of where it's used in Scripture.
Usually the word in question was indicated by putting the Hebrew word beside it: for example, "...fertile field (karmel)..." But other times it wasn't indicated, and it wasn't always obvious which word was being pointed out. And some of the information was in error. For example, on page 147, we're given "God (Shaddai) Almighty (el)" in a quote, but it ought to read "...God (el) Almighty (Shaddai)..."
I was surprised by the amount of modern commentary and human speculation that was included. The entry on Sheol, for example, seemed heavily influenced by sources outside the Bible. The author didn't mention that Sheol is clearly described in the Bible as a place where people can't hope or praise (Isa 38:17, 18) and have no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom (Ecc. 9:10). She did point out that Sheol usually refers to "death" or "the grave," yet she suggested that Sheol was a limbo-like place where people can go even while alive and where people are physically weak. Looking at the verses she referred to in full context, in several different translations, and with a few key Hebrew words studied further, the main verses she used appear to simply point out that God killed some disobedient people by burying them alive (Numbers 16) and that every person, no matter how mighty in life, is equally powerless in death (Isaiah 14). Since I ended up double-checking several entries, I decided the book wasn't much use to me as a reference tool.
As with this author's book on words from the New Testament, I believe this book is both an excellent reference tool and a book for devotional use. The words used have been carefully selected and are very practical. I use both books, on words from the Old Testament and on words from the New, as part of my quiet time each day. Besides, the writing is very clear and helpful to one's life with the Lord.
I wish that I had this book when I was attending seminary school because it clarifies terms within the OT, so I can understand and apply it to my life. I also used this book during the QT moments and what I liked about it was how easy it was to use and understand.