Monday, September 10, 2012

Deeper into the Word: Old Testament by Keri Wyatt Kent

book cover
Deeper into the Word:
Old Testament
by Keri Wyatt Kent

ISBN-13: 9780764208430
Trade Paperback: 250 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Released: December 1, 2011

Source: Bought through Books-A-Million.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Translators have done their best to render the words of the Bible into English, but capturing the nuances of the ancient languages can be difficult. In this devotional, Keri gives readers an opportunity to investigate 100 English words used in the Old Testament to discover which Hebrew words can be translated that way and the full nuances behind their meaning.

My Review:
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.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

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