Monday 19 July 2021

Discovering the Old Testament - Father Adrian Graffy

Discovering the Old Testament
Father Adrian Graffy
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860829291
eISBN 9781784693381
CTS Booklet SC113

This was the third volume from the pen of Father Adrian Graffy that I have read. I picked up this one and the companion volume Discovering the New Testament at the same time. And I can say both are great reads. The beginning of both books contains the same section called ‘Encouragement from Pope Francis’. Both Volumes were published in 2014 and the eBook editions released in 2017. Over the last few years I have read over 200 books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society. There have been many excellent reads including both of these volumes. For the last several months I have been listening to Father Mike Schmitz’s podcast The Bible In A Year, and these books have been great supplemental reading. The description of this volume is:

“Pope Francis urges Christians to be nourished by the Word of God. Fr Graffy gives an overview of all the books of the Old Testament, including the deutero-canonicals, and tackles common problems facing readers who can find the Old Testament difficult or troublesome. It is ideal for anyone wishing to understand and gain more from the Old Testament, whether from their own personal reading, or listening to the readings at Mass. It is a companion to Fr Graffy’s sister booklet ‘Discovering the New Testament’.”

And the chapters are:

The Books of the Old Testament
Encouragement from Pope Francis
     The Old Testament and the Church
     Problems and pitfalls
     Which Bible should I read?
     The canon of the Old Testament
     Scripture and Prayer
The Pentateuch
     The book of Genesis
     The story of Moses
The Historical Books
     Joshua and the Judges
     David and Solomon
     The kingdoms of Judah and Israel
The Prophets
     Prophets of the eighth century
     Jeremiah and his contemporaries
     Ezekiel, second Isaiah and the remaining prophets
The Psalms and the Wisdom Books
The Book of Daniel and the Latest Writings of the Old Testament
The Old Testament in the New
Church Teaching on the Bible
     Further reading on the Old Testament

Some of the passages I highlighted my first time through were:

“In his exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (‘ The Joy of the Gospel’) Pope Francis reminds us that all Christians are called to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. We are all invited to evangelise. “There is a kind of preaching which falls to each of us as a daily responsibility. It has to do with bringing the Gospel to people we meet, whether they be our neighbours or complete strangers.””

“Pope Francis explains that all evangelisation is based on the word of God “listened to, meditated upon, lived, celebrated and witnessed to”. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the source for evangelisation. The word of God, listened to and celebrated above all in the Eucharist, enables us to offer witness in our daily lives. “The preaching of the word, living and effective, prepares for the reception of the Sacrament, and in the Sacrament that word attains its maximum efficacy.””

“The study of the word of God must be “a door opened to every believer”. Enriched by the word of God we can both live our faith and bear witness to it. This study of the Bible must be accompanied by “prayerful individual and communal reading”.”

 “These words from the Second Letter to Timothy (3: 16) are a constant challenge to Christians. To receive the teaching and guidance the Scriptures convey is not always easy. This is particularly true of the Old Testament. How can these Scriptures be considered useful today? Are they not far too much a product of ancient times? Are they not superseded for Christians by the New Testament?”

“This booklet offers a way forward to a deeper understanding of the Old Testament. It can be used either by individuals or by groups. As you go through the booklet, it will be helpful to read the individual chapters of the Old Testament which are mentioned. The biblical verses quoted at the beginning of each section may be tracked down in the Bible and the surrounding text explored.”

“After some introductory questions this booklet will look first at the books of the Pentateuch. We will then consider the books known as “historical”. The major and minor prophets will be viewed next. Finally we will survey the psalms, the books known as “wisdom literature”, and the latest books of the Old Testament.”

This book is a great read. Easily accessible. Anyone with a general education could engage easily with the book and benefit from reading it. This book and its sister volume were both great reads. I already have plans to read a few of Father Graffy’s books. And know that the books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society will play a central role in my reading for years to come.

An excellent resource that I highly recommend.  

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Father Adrian Graffy:
A Manual of Hebrew Poetics
Alive and Active: The Old Testament Beyond 2000
Discovering the New Testament
Discovering the Old Testament
Gospels of Mercy: 12 Steps to the Love of God
Scriptural Way of the Cross
Scripture of Mercy: The Love of God in the Old Testament
Trustworthy and True: The Gospels Beyond 2000
Twelve Steps to the Love of God

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