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Book Review – Tough Questions About God and His Actions in the Old Testament


Book Review – Tough Questions About God and His Actions in the Old Testament

Walter Kaiser has been one of my favorite Old Testament scholars since reading Toward Rediscovering the Old Testament in college. I have always appreciated his emphasis on the continuity between the testaments and it has shaped the way in which I both read and understand the Bible. In Tough Questions About God and His Actions in the Old Testament, Kaiser sets out to address the popular accusations made against God as revealed in the Old Testament. He does this by taking the issues head on and demonstrates that the God of the Old Testament is the same God which many Christians have come to know through the New Testament.

The book starts with an important introduction in which Kaiser addresses the history of the use of the phrases ‘Old Testament’ and ‘New Testament’. I would encourage anyone who picks up this book to read the introduction. It is here where Kaiser briefly sets the reader up with the historical understanding of scripture and the continuity throughout the entire cannon.

Kaiser wastes no time jumping into the difficult issues by addressing the misconception that the Old Testament God is wrathful while the New Testament God is merciful. He carefully and responsibly probes the pages of scripture to demonstrate that God is portrayed as merciful in the Old Testament, a fact that may catch many people by surprise. He continues by taking a close look at God’s wrath in both the Old and New Testaments and how that differs from human wrath. God is slow to anger and long-suffering. Human wrath by contrast is unpredictable and often uncontrolled.

This is similar to the approach Kaiser takes throughout the book as he addresses such issues as grace & law, monogamy & polygamy, and  the role & value of women. Not all of these are resolved in a synthesis as we see with wrath & mercy, but each issue is resolved with special (and final) authority given to the overall witness of scripture.

This is a book that many people will benefit from reading. I would recommend it for use in family study as well as individual and small group settings. Each chapter is a testimony to Kaiser’s heart as he has included discussion questions as a part of each discussion topic. If you are wanting to resolve these issues for yourself, or wanting to brush up on your understanding of God so that you can be  more effective in your discipleship, this book will satisfy your need. It would be great as a stand alone book in your homeschool curriculum.

If you would like a copy of Tough Questions About God and His Actions in the Old Testament you may purchase a copy on Amazon by following this link.

If you would like to preview the book first click here for a free PDF excerpt

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Kregel Publications in exchange for an online review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

About the Author


Dr. Kaiser is the Colman M. Mockler distinguished Professor of Old Testament and President Emeritus of Gordon-Conwell. He also served as the seminary’s President from 1997-2006.

Prior to coming to Gordon-Conwell, Dr. Kaiser taught Bible and archaeology at Wheaton College, Wheaton Illinois and taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in several capacities. In addition to teaching in the Old Testament Department, he was Senior Vice President of Education, Academic Dean, and Senior Vice President of Distance Learning and Ministries.

Dr. Kaiser currently serves on the boards of several Christian organizations. He has contributed to such publications as Journal for the Study of Old Testament, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Christianity Today, Westminster Theological Journal, and Evangelical Quarterly. He has also written numerous books, some of which are: Toward an Old Testament Theology; Ecclesiastes: Total Life; Toward an Exegetical Theology: Biblical Exegesis for Preaching and Teaching; Hard Sayings of the Old Testament; Communicator’s Commentary: Micah to Malachi; Leviticus in The New Interpreter’s Bible; Exodus in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary; The Messiah in the Old Testament; A History of Israel; and co-authored An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics: The Search for Meaning.

His beloved wife of 56 years, Marge, passed away in 2013. Dr. Kaiser also has three sons, one daughter, four granddaughters, and three grandsons.

7 thoughts on “Book Review – Tough Questions About God and His Actions in the Old Testament

  1. I love me some Walter Kaiser. Love the emphasis on OT & NT continuity. I need to incorporate a line item for books in my 2016 budget now as I am officially out of spending money. If you ever want to pass on a book feel free to send it my way!

    • Maybe a drawing or something?

  2. Jared

    Hey man, nice blog. Been reading for a while but never comment and thought maybe I should start participating. My question for you is about his view of evolution and creation. I saw in the contents online or maybe in the excerpt that there is a chapter on creation and evolution. Where does he fall with this? I know that Christian views are all over the board.

    • Thanks for commenting Jared. He holds to a young earth view and believes that evolution as an explanation of the origin of life is incompatible with scripture.

  3. This actually sounds really interesting becauae my neighbor has been trying to proselytize me to atheism using these argumemts abiut God being evil in the Old Testament. She’s into thise fundamentalist atheists like Sam Harris and Dawkins and Hitchens.

    • Michelle I think you would enjoy this book then. He answers their accusations in a kind but firm manner.

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