Do We Need the New Testament?: Letting the Old Testament Speak for Itself, By John Goldingay alt

Do We Need the New Testament?

Letting the Old Testament Speak for Itself

by John Goldingay

Do We Need the New Testament?
  • Length: 184 pages
  • Published: April 15, 2015
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 9847
  • ISBN: 9780830898473

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Do we need the Old Testament? That's a familiar question, often asked. But as an Old Testament scholar, John Goldingay turns that question on its head: Do we need the New Testament?

What's new about the New Testament? After all, the Old Testament was the only Bible Jesus and the disciples knew. Jesus affirmed it as the Word of God. Do we need anything more? And what happens when we begin to look at the Old Testament, which is the First Testament, not as a deficient old work in need of a christological makeover, but as a rich and splendid revelation of God's faithfulness to Israel and the world?

In this cheerfully provocative yet probingly serious book, John Goldingay sets the question and views it from a variety of angles. Under his expert hand, each facet unfolds the surprising richness of the Old Testament and challenges us to recalibrate our perspective on it.

"A fresh, accessible and at times provocative explanation of the enduring relevance of the Old ('First') Testament for Christians. It will challenge readers to embrace the first seventy percent of the canon as truly Christian Scripture."

Mark J. Boda, professor of Old Testament, McMaster Divinity College, professor, faculty of Theology, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada

"John Goldingay is incapable of being uninteresting. I smiled approvingly at many passages in this book and grimaced at a few others, all the while deeply grateful for such a passionate dismantling of pernicious but widely held myths about the Old Testament's theological inferiority. If Goldingay does not quite come to grips with what makes the New Testament new, he nevertheless brilliantly illustrates how the Old Testament is already good news on its own."

Stephen B. Chapman, associate professor of Old Testament, Duke University

"The early church's problem with the Old Testament was completely different to ours. Their problem was not how to make sense of the Old Testament given the coming of Jesus, but the reverse: Given that the Old Testament is God's revelation, how do we make sense of Jesus? With this unusual question, Do We Need the New Testament?, Goldingay turns our modern thinking on its head and exposes the weaknesses in the way contemporary Christians understand the Old Testament—and the New. With thought-provoking ideas on every page, this book will help readers look at the Old and New Testaments in new and exciting ways."

Nathan MacDonald, lecturer in Hebrew Bible and fellow of St. John's College, University of Cambridge

"Reflecting on new perspectives on the life of Jesus, issues of Psalm 137, the role of church and state and their ethics, and the hermeneutics of theological interpretation, the reader will enjoy the questioning and provocative mind of John Goldingay as he takes up his laptop to challenge much of today's conventional Christian wisdom."

Richard S. Hess, Earl S. Kalland Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Denver Seminary

"[Goldingay's] tome is a breath of fresh air. It is well-written, thoughtful, and thought-provoking and should be required reading for those preaching and teaching. I once met a pastor who made what he thought was a laudatory comment: 'I never preach from the Old Testament since I want to bring people to Jesus.' Goldingay's book is the necessary prescription for this theological life-threatening illness."

Joseph B. Modica, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Vol. 59, No. 4

"Goldingay offers a solid case against the theological inferiority of the OT. Do We Need the New Testament? is a welcome corrective for those insisting that the OT does not speak to Christians today. The book would be a great addition to the library of seminary students, pastors, and informed lay people."

Justin Langford, Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament, 5.1 (2016)

"Do We Need the New Testament? offers a much-needed corrective to the tendency to neglect or devalue the OT found in much of the contemporary church. The book would be of great value to any theological student, pastor, or interested layperson who desires to explore the rich theological, spiritual, and ethical resources that the OT has to offer the church or who seeks to gain a better grasp of the relationship between the Testaments. Readers can expect to have their assumptions challenged, their minds informed, and their passion for the OT (re)ignited by Goldingay's insightful and engaging discussion, which pairs penetrating analysis with a fervent love for Israel's Scriptures."

Brittany Kim, Themelios, April 2016

"Bible readers who want to think through the relationship between the two testaments and its implications, and who would welcome help from an insightful and outspoken debate partner, should read and ponder this book."

Kenneth A. Cherney Jr., Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring 2016

"With its scholarly tone, this title should be recommended to laypeople, students, and pastors who are familiar with Greek, Hebrew, and Latin and have a knowledge of biblical and secular history."

John Berstein, CBA Retailers + Resources, June 2015

"All in all, this book is a delightful, stimulating, and challenging read. . . . Goldingay helps to explain how to interpret and understand the Old Testament's abiding theological witness to our triune God."

Austin Britton, New Horizons, April 2016

"The academic content will especially please scholars and students. All readers will enjoy the engaging tone and intriguing premise."

Kelley Mathews, Bible Study Magazine, March/April 2016

"A short, interesting, readable, and provocative book for everyone concerned with how to read the Old [First] Testament as Christians without reducing it into an allegory of Christian beliefs."

Michael F. Bird, Patheos, December 30, 2015


1. Do We Need the New Testament?
2. Why is Jesus Important?
3. Was the Holy Spirit Present in First Testament Times?
4. The Grand Narrative and the Middle Narratives in the First Testament and the New Testament
5. How People Have Mis(?)read Hebrews
6. The Costly Loss of First Testament Spirituality
7. Memory and Israel?s Faith, Hope, and Life
8. Moses (and Jesus and Paul) for Your Hardness of Hearts
9. Theological Interpretation: Don?t Be Christ-Centered, Don?t Be Trinitarian, Don?t Be Constrained by the Rule of Faith


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John Goldingay

John Goldingay (PhD, University of Nottingham; DD, Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth) is senior professor of Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary and lives in Oxford, England. His many books include An Introduction to the Old Testament, A Reader's Guide to the Bible, Biblical Theology, the three-volume Old Testament Theology, and the seventeen-volume Old Testament for Everyone series. He has also published his translation the entire Hebrew Bible as The First Testament. He is a Church of England minister, and now that he is back in England likes walking by the Thames, rediscovering English food, worshiping in Christ Church Cathedral, and relearning British English.