076: Introduction to the Old Testament

Introduction to the Old Testament

We need a preliminary episode before diving in to the manual for the year. In this “Lesson 0”, I go over the manual, provide a brief but intense overview of the Old Testament, talk about issues of faith, and suggest some key resources that will aid you in understanding the Old Testament. Enjoy!

0:00 Summary of LDS manual lessons

7:40 Interpretation of OT (Jewish/Christian/Academic)

9:17 Approaches to OT Study (hyperliteral, rejectionist/reductionist, hybrid)

16:00 OT origins via culture/history

24:52 OT books overview

30:45 OT books summary

46.17 Nature of the Bible

49:09 Faith + Academic Inquiry

53.38 Podcast Structure/Tone

1:01:25 Companion podcast + other resources

1:07:22 OLAM institute

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You can access my Lesson Notes here.


A discussion of how to study the Old Testament, Mormon Matters

Recommended Resources for the OT on Times&Seasons

Study Bibles (Don’t be overwhelmed. I recommend either the Harper Collins or ESV depending on what you want your faith/study balance to be)

Harper Collins NRSV (Academic, most notes for the buck)

Oxford NRSV (Academic, easier to read than Harper Collins)

NAB Catholic Study Bible

New Interpreter’s Study Bible (NRSV, but more conservative scholarship)

ESV Study Bible (Very readable translation, conservative scholarship)

Jehovah and the World of the Old Testament

Oxford Companion to the Bible (worthwhile but expensive; get it used)

Eerdman’s Dictionary of the Bible

Oxford Bible Commentary


Three of my favorite Bible apps, with abundant translations and study helps:




Intros to the Old Testament

Kugel, How to Read the Bible

McKenzie, How to Read the Bible (mostly on the OT, about why genre and context matter)

Collins, The Old Testament (pretty straightforward academic)

Matthews and Moyer, Old Testament: Text and Context (more reader friendly introduction)

 Reading the Old Testament (more faithful but still academic perspective)

The Bible in Translation (Great little book that goes over most modern and some ancient translations)

Latest Comments

  1. perezdebbie@hotmail.com says:

    I just listened to this and I’m so EXCITED about this class. For a long time I’ve been hoping you would do a thorough treatment of the Old Testament and my wish has come true. I just wish I was still teaching early morning seminary. Yes! That’s how happy I am. BTW, I think I’m the first person to subscribe to the podcast. I hope the angels keeping track of my naughty and nice deeds take note of that.


  2. Josh says:

    Great overview and points. Thank you!


  3. Karl Gee says:

    Finally a Sunday School that tells me something I don’t know.


  4. Bonnie says:

    Jared, I’m already overwhelmed, and I’m only 28 minutes into this podcast. I really, really want to have a solid understanding of all of this background. It will help me teach this year. You should consider a “fireside” during which we can all sit and listen to you, take notes and ask questions. I’d bring refreshments. We could even do it at my house in Davis County.


  5. Gavin says:

    Great episode. I’ve been looking forward to the Old Testament episodes. I recommended it to a couple of friends of mine. Very much looking forward to the interview with David Bokovoy.


  6. Michael says:

    I love this introduction. Can’t wait for lesson 1.


  7. michael@rationalfaiths.com says:

    OK Jared, I bought the Harper’s Study Bible, and Jehovah and the New Testament. If I had to buy just one more, from your list which would it be?


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