The Problem of the Old Testament

The Problem of the Old Testament

Hermeneutical, Schematic, and Theological Approaches

by Duane A. Garrett

The Problem of the Old Testament
  • Length: 421 pages
  • Published: December 01, 2020
  •  Forthcoming
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-5273-4
  • Item Code: 5273
  • Case Quantity: 24

For Christians, the Old Testament often presents a conundrum. We revere it as God's Word, but we don't always comprehend it. It has great truths beautifully expressed, but it also has lengthy lists of names that we cannot pronounce, detailed rules for religious rites that we never observe, and grim stories that we never tell our children. Theologians and laypeople throughout church history have struggled to define it, interpret it, and reconcile it with the New Testament.

In The Problem of the Old Testament, Duane A. Garrett takes on this conundrum and lays a foundation for constructive study of the Old Testament. He surveys three primary methods Christians have used to handle the Old Testament, from the church fathers to today: hermeneutical, schematic, and conceptual. Garrett also explores major interpretive topics such as the nature of the law, the function of election and covenants, and how prophecy works, boldly offering a way forward that is faithful to the text and to the Christian faith.

"I argue," Garrett writes, "that the Old Testament is fulfilled in Jesus Christ and that it is authoritative and edifying for Christians." This thorough, accessible work is essential reading for all students of Scripture seeking to discover the Old Testament's riches beyond the challenges.

"Through numerous major commentaries and publications, Duane Garrett has distinguished himself as a trusted voice in evangelical scholarship. The Problem of the Old Testament represents the culmination of a lifetime of faithful academic ministry. Garrett notes the challenge the Old Testament presents for Christians as part of our two-testament canon. As we have come to expect, Garrett provides a fresh and bold way forward. Though some readers may arrive at different conclusions, this book will inspire every reader to wrestle anew with the Old Testament as Christian Scripture."

Andrew M. King, assistant professor of biblical studies at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Spurgeon College

"In a time when many are predisposed to ignore or even jettison the Old Testament, this book is needed to remind us how vital the Old Testament is for the Christian faith. Duane Garrett has provided the academy and the church with a helpful and thorough discussion of the 'problem of the Old Testament.' This book will be an essential conversation partner for anyone considering the importance of the Old Testament for the church today."

Daniel S. Diffey, associate professor of Old Testament at Grand Canyon University

"Duane Garrett clearly identifies and constructively engages numbers of 'problems' with Christian engagement with the Old Testament. He then goes on to provide accessible yet learned guidance in how Christians can approach and read the Old Testament in a way that respects the text, honors the God who gave the text, and nurtures the spiritual life of the reader. Anyone who is a person of the Book should consider the guidance provided in this book."

W. David Buschart, professor of theology and historical studies at Denver Seminary

"This is a book to own. Duane Garrett is an admired scholar and teacher who brings to The Problem of the Old Testament a lifetime of explaining its content in ways that are both enlightening and encouraging. Pastors can use it to orient their preaching and teaching. Students will appreciate its wise guidance to the heart of issues. Laypeople will value its readability and the way it defines the challenges and offers solutions in nonobtuse language. The Old Testament is three-fourths of the Bible. This book keeps its readers from stumbling over the hard parts, the unfamiliar parts, and the confusing parts so that they can more fully grasp what God has caused to be written for their benefit."

Douglas Stuart, senior professor of Old Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary



1. Defining the Problem
2. The Old Testament in the Early Church
3. The Hermeneutical Solutions: Alexandria
4. The Hermeneutical Solutions: Antioch
5. The Schematic Solutions
6. The Conceptual Solutions
7. Foundations for an Old Testament Theology
8. Election and the Covenants
9. The Law
10. Issues in Narrative
11. The Prophetic Method: Hosea
12. The Prophetic Method: Joel
13. Summary and Prospect

Bonus Material from The Problem of the Old Testament: Preexilic Prophecy
Subject Index
Scripture Index


Duane A. Garrett is John R. Sampey Professor of Old Testament Interpretation and professor of biblical theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His books include Song of Songs in the Word Biblical Commentary, Authority and Interpretation, Rethinking Genesis, and Hosea and Joel in the New American Commentary. He also serves as the general editor for The Archaeological Study Bible.

BY Duane A. Garrett