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Thursday, October 25, 2018

"Leviticus" by Jay Sklar. A Review

Leviticus: An Introduction and CommentaryLeviticus: An Introduction and Commentary by Jay Sklar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Years ago I taught a series of classes through Leviticus for the congregation I served then in west Texas. One day as we were wading through a particularly difficult passage, one of the women shouted out, "Why are we even studying this book? It doesn't make any sense and it doesn't matter, anyway!" Jay Sklar, professor of Old Testament and dean of faculty at Covenant Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, gives students of the Bible renewed reasons to read and relish this biblical book in his 336 page softback commentary, "Leviticus". This third volume in the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary series hands parishioners, pastors, and professors a learned, and yet lucid resource that will be referred to for years.

Sklar's introduction alone is worth the price of the book. In the introduction the author maps out reasons for Leviticus, and how it should be read and heard. The author shows how law is not graceless, but flows out of redeeming grace; "the law does not create relationship with the Lord; it regulates an existing relationship" (42). He also explains why Leviticus should not be perceived as a blood-thirsty manuscript, but one that restores hope, reclaims a clearer perspective of a gracious and merciful God, and reorients our view of the landscape. Leviticus "does more than answer questions raised by its immediate literary and historical context. It also casts a vision rooted in the Bible's larger story and, in particular, in creation" (28).

The remainder of the book walks through the whole of Leviticus at a healthy pace. It doesn't bog down to rubbernecking speed, nor does it race past important details or difficulties. At appropriate places Sklar lays out charts that give an easily grasped visual to unfamiliar technicalities. My favorite areas of the book are the "meaning" sections where the author takes the subjects just covered and applies them in ways that are devotional, applicable and remedial.

One would not think that simply reading a commentary through at leisure is normal; and it's not. But I actually read through "Leviticus" as personal reading, and found it enjoyable! Therefore I sincerely think it will make a great addition to any Bible student's library. Not only should you grab a copy for yourself, but get one for you minister as a present. I gladly recommend the book.

You can obtain a copy here: IVP

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