A group of men at my church (myself included) just finished reading a Christ-revealing book about the lives of Elijah and Elisha—two of the most famous OT prophets of Israel. Faith in the Face of Apostasy: The Gospel According to Elijah and Elisha by Raymond Dillard was the first book published in the ongoing series The Gospel According to the Old Testament. For many Christians, this book and series may seem misnamed. After all, isn’t the gospel the property of the New Testament, revealed for the first time by Jesus and recorded by his apostles? Isn’t the Old Testament the realm of the Jewish Law that only occasionally offers veiled hints of Christ? To these questions, Dillard replies, “Come and see, my friend.” As a skilled exegete, the author ably interprets the various stories of Elijah and Elisha found in the books of 1 & 2 Kings through a Christian lens, showing the reader that Jesus was right when he claimed that all the OT testified to his own person and work (Luke 24:27, 44-45).
As a pastor and preacher, what I appreciated most about this book is the tender way Dillard unfolds each story. In every chapter he models redemptive-historical preaching, and applies each element of the story to the reader’s contemporary situation. Thus reading the book is an experiential lesson in how to read Bible stories (especially OT stories) from a Christ- and gospel-centered perspective.
Ten of the 11 chapters are divided into 2 or 3 sections, with each section ending with 5 application-oriented discussion questions. This makes the book ideal for individual or group study.
Sinclair Ferguson gives high praise to the Gospel According to the Old Testament series:
At last a series on the Old Testament designed to provide reliable exposition, biblical theology, and a focus on Christ. These books should be like manna in the desert to pastors, preachers, teachers, and many individual Christians who struggle to come to terms with how to read the Old Testament.
If this describes you or someone you know, Faith in the Face of Apostasy is an accessible book for solving this dilemma of how to find the gospel of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. Read it, Christian, to discover how the Whole Bible (not just the NT) can be yours.