Bearing God's Name: Why Sinai Still Matters, By Carmen Joy Imes
Bearing God's Name
  • Length: 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.5 in
  • Published: December 10, 2019
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 5269
  • ISBN: 9780830852697

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Have We Misunderstood the Ten Commandments?

Have you ever wondered what the Old Testament—especially the Old Testament law—has to do with your Christian life? You are not alone. Some Christian leaders believe we should cast off the Old Testament now that we have the New. Carmen Joy Imes disagrees.

In this warm, accessible volume, Imes takes readers back to Sinai, the ancient mountain where Israel met their God, and explains the meaning of events there. She argues that we've misunderstood the command about "taking the Lord's name in vain." Instead, Imes says that this command is about "bearing God's name," a theme that continues throughout the rest of Scripture. The story of Israel turns out to be our story too, and you'll discover why Sinai still matters as you follow Jesus today.

Bearing God's Name offers:

  • An opportunity for readers to revisit the story of Israel as they trudge through the wilderness from a grueling past to a promising future,
  • An appendix with resources from The Bible Project, and
  • Discussion questions for individual reflection or group conversation.

"Warm, witty, wise, and winsome; theologically rigorous, rhetorically convincing, and pastorally helpful, this book is not to be missed. Taking the reader through the narrative of the exodus, Carmen Joy Imes shows us that it is our story, not an arcane, ancient document as dry as last year's bird nest. The genre of Law speaks today. You will see the name Carmen Joy Imes regularly in the future as she continues to bless the church with accessible and edifying scholarship."

Jeffrey D. Arthurs, Haddon Robinson Professor of Preaching and Communication, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

"Rarely do we encounter scholars who are able to distill the essence of complex notions and recast them in forms that are both accessible and compelling for lay readers. Carmen Imes's skills in this regard are extraordinary. In the academy, people who have read her published technical monograph on bearing God's name have been quick to celebrate the stellar quality of her work. In this volume Carmen introduces lay readers and serious students of Scripture to her major findings through writing in engaging and persuasive prose—with plenty of ideas for application. For readers who long to recover the life-giving message of grace in the Torah, this book will be a great place to start."

Daniel I. Block, Gunther H. Knoedler Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Wheaton College

"If you are ready to be transformed by a book, read this one! Like Lucy and Edmund in C. S. Lewis's The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Carmen Imes plunges her reader deep into the world of the Old Testament (and the New). The journey will reshape what you know about God's name, Israel's law, and our identity as Christians who bear God's name."

Beth Stovell, associate professor of Old Testament at Ambrose University and national catalyst for theological and spiritual formation, Vineyard Canada

"Carmen Joy Imes's Bearing God's Name is a marvel. Imagine a scholar who writes for the church, a member of the academy who cares deeply for the parish. However you phrase it, Imes has done it—given the gift of both accessibility and accuracy to the church. I learned much in this text and look forward to returning to it again and again. I suspect your experience will be the same."

Talbot Davis, pastor of Good Shepherd UMC in Charlotte, North Carolina, and author of Simplify the Message: Multiply the Impact

"Carmen Joy Imes is helping us to relish once again the wondrous depths of truth and challenge that are there for us Christians in that great epic narrative of Old Testament Israel—whether those stories are familiar to us already or not. . . . I trust that reading this book will give you a deeper and more biblical understanding of what it ought to mean to bear God's name, and not to bear it in vain."

From the foreword by Christopher J. H. Wright, author of The Mission of God

"Professor Imes refuses to divide the Bible into a simplistic dichotomy of rigid law and abounding grace. Her goal is to highlight continuity between Sinai and Calvary; between lawgiver Moses and grace-dispenser Jesus. . . . Imes skillfully highlights the teachings of Sinai law throughout the New Testament. Yes, grace and mercy win out, but within a proper understanding of the foundation which was laid by Yahweh in the first covenants. My favorite emphasis of Imes's writings centers on her exposition of 'chosen people.' Yes, Israel, but now all tribes, all races, all linguistic flavors can be included in the massive throng of the new chosen people who will one day gather at the Throne of God and sing in glorious unison, 'Hallelujah, for our God almighty reigns!' Well done, Professor Imes."

Phil Parshall, former president of International Christian Fellowship, active missionary among Muslim people for forty-three years, and author of several books

"Get ready to receive an abundance of insight from the story of Israel's exodus and dedication to their divine calling. Carmen Imes brings this ancient story to life in a sharp and approachable read that will help you understand the divine calling in your life."

Jonathan Collins, cofounder of The Bible Project, author of Why Emotions Matter

"Did Old Testament law apply to Christians in the New Testament? Are they still relevant today? With a writing style that is straightforward and recurrently witty, Imes answers those questions and more. Not only does the author demonstrate a solid understanding of biblical history, but she also introduces and explains concepts that the non-expert can appreciate. . . . Highly recommended for all students of biblical history, and especially for Christians who want to understand the connection between the Old and New Testaments."

Chad Clark, Library Journal, November 2019


Foreword by Christopher J. H. Wright

Part I: Becoming the People Who Bear God's Name
1. Leaving Egypt
2. Surprised at Sinai
3. Major Deal
4. Now What?
5. Ready to Roll

Part II: Living as the People Who Bear God's Name
6. Striking Out
7. What Yahweh Sees
8. Just Give Me Jesus
9. Blob Tag
10. Who Let You In?
Appendix: Resources from The Bible Project
Discussion Questions
Sidebar Notes
Image Credits
Scripture Index


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Carmen Joy Imes

Carmen Joy Imes (PhD, Wheaton) is associate professor of Old Testament at Biola University. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, she is the author of Bearing God's Name: Why Sinai Still Matters, Bearing YHWH's Name at Sinai and the editor of Praying the Psalms with Augustine and Friends. Imes is a regular contributor to The Well, a fellow of Every Voice, and serves on the advisory council for the Bible Literacy Conference. She is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society of Biblical Literature and serves on the board of directors of the Institute for Biblical Research.