Book Review: “On The Old Testament” by Mark Driscoll

This past summer [2011] I had the opportunity to listen to probably at least 30 sermons while at work, many of which were preached by one of the most popular preachers, Mark Driscoll. Recently, I had the opportunity to read a short book he authored “On the Old Testament: A Book You’ll Actually Read.” It’s part of a series of concise books about various Biblic al topics, done so in a very easy-to-read style. Here are a few observations of this book…

There were a few reasons why I purchased this book. (1) I go to a non-Reformed Bible college (though moderately Reformed in some doctrine) and desired to have a moderately different perspective on some topics, such as Eschatology, Ecclesiology, and Israelology (I think that’s a word??). I refuse to be spoon-fed doctrinal positions without closely examining topics for myself. Maybe it’s stubborness, maybe it’s carefulness, or maybe it’s a mixture. (2) I enjoy Driscoll’s easy-to-understand, yet doctrinally heavy approach in his books and sermons. (3) I have a lot to learn from the OT.

First of all, Mark Driscoll lays forth a lot of the very basics in this book, and should be seen as a helpful source for for looking at the OT as a whole. But, it is quite short (93 pages) so it probably wouldn’t serve well as an OT Survey textbook at a Bible College/Seminary, though it could be a valuable supplemental book. While it was short, it was still a very beneficial, enjoyable, and thought-provoking book. Driscoll’s personal testimonies that related to this topic were very encouraging and practical. He even includes a reading chart and recommended resources for a theological library. Now, of all things included, the section on “What is the central message of the OT” was most interesting. Driscoll proposes that it’s all about Jesus in contrast to a common view of moralizing every passage. For those that aren’t aware, a lot of Reformed theologians emphasize Christology throughout the Scriptures. Some would even say in every verse (Edmund P. Clowney). Though I will still study this topic, I thought Driscoll made some notable points. On page 42 he says, “God’s intentions for our study of the Old Testament is never demonic pride or hopeless despair, but rather Jesus Christ-who not only shows us how to live but transforms us so that we can.” Overall, I enjoyed his thoughts. Some would slightly differ in opinion but it’s an interesting perspective.

Should you buy this book? I would say so. It doesn’t venture far into the OT books, but will probably benefit the way you approach some of the texts. It isn’t exhaustive by any means, but that wasn’t the intended purpose. For someone who is being discipled, I think this could be a great tool. Also, for theology nerd, this might not “wow” you, but it’s a nice refresher (might I add, a good book to read while sipping on the morning coffee). So, that’s that. Check it out if you get the chance!


One thought on “Book Review: “On The Old Testament” by Mark Driscoll

  1. Thanks for the review of this book, I find the Old Testament quite interesting, if sometimes hard to understand, yet it should not be ignored. So much of the New Testament lines up with much of the concepts found in the Old, so we should seek to study both. Also, it is good to have some smaller books on the Old Testament written in addition to the larger ones.

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