If someone approached you unexpectedly and asked you to tell them the story of salvation history—the story of God’s interaction with His people and His covenant promises to them begun in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New—would you be able to recite the story to the questioning individual without hesitation? Or would you stand there with a half-terrified, half-totally-blank look on your face, and think, “Hmmm…the Old Testament…that’s where God was a little angrier than usual and everybody had weird names—right?”
Perhaps that is a bit of a stretch, as I’m sure most of you are learned Catholics who know far more about the Old Testament and salvation history than my hyperbolic projection. But I would still wager a bet that most of us (including myself, before reading this book) just really haven’t taken the time to walk with the God of our Fathers—Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—the God of David, the God who was with His people during the time of the Judges, present during the flourishing of the Royal Kingdom, the God who was waiting for His chosen ones to return to Him during exile…the same God who we eventually see manifested in Jesus Christ, Son of God, the Word made flesh.
Perhaps many of us do not realize that the story of Israel is our story. Perhaps we do not take the time to discover how the Israelites’ pattern of sin, exile (departure from the presence of God), supplication through prayer, and restoration to friendship with God is precisely the model for our own lives. Maybe we aren’t seeing our struggles with temptation and our pursuit of virtue embodied in David, our desire for true friendship manifested in Jonathan, our need for total surrender and trust in God’s plan as exhibited by the patriarchs…
You could be feeling a little tug on your heart to take your Scripture reading beyond the pages at the end of the Sacred Book (you know, the “Matthew through Revelation only” method of Scripture study). If so, Walking with God (published by Ascension Press), by Dr. Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins, is exactly the travelling companion you need. This clearly written and captivating book helps guide you through the entire storyline of the Bible, complete with commentary on personal life applications and reflections on Hebrew storytelling techniques that shed light on seemingly confusing elements of Scripture, bringing you into deeper understanding of why the Bible is written in the way that it is and what the “bigger picture” of salvation history is all about.
Get this book! It has been my go-to-resource as I read through Scriptures and uncover the story of salvation history that I had been relatively ignorant of for much of my life. How much do I like this book? I made a comment to a friend the other day that highlighting this book is pretty much a joke. If you open my copy, you’ll see that pretty much everything is highlighted, which, in most cases, totally defeats the purpose of highlighting, but with this book, everything written is literally that good! (I wonder if it is because Dr. Gray and Jeff Cavins are writing about the greatest book ever written…?)
My only criticism? It’s missing all the corny jokes. I have been through a few of Jeff Cavins’ Great Adventure lectures and now have the privilege of being a student in Dr. Gray’s salvation history course at the Augustine Institute. The in-person versions of their telling of salvation history are replete with biblical puns, which you can tell are enjoyed immensely by both teachers. Alas, I suppose the puns just can’t jump off the written page like they can come to life in person, accompanied by the smirk of a satisfied instructor… (Note: I hope you have caught that my criticism is a jest, rather than a real critique.)
One Hebrew storytelling technique is repetition. In this spirit, shall I repeat myself? GET THIS BOOK!