Question & Answer Forum

What Old Testament books are the most important keys to the Bible?

Every Bible book is necessary (2 Timothy 3:16, 17), but some seem more central.

Genesis, often called “the seed plot of the Bible,” lays the foundation for all God’s revealed works, indicating the purpose of matter, man, and marriage. Without the Fall, the rest of Scripture unravels. Gods plans for human government and Israel flow from Genesis. Many Bible doctrines are first mentioned in Genesis.

In the relatively short book of Daniel lies the “backbone of prophecy” (Daniel 9). It unfolds the “Times of the Gentiles.” The prophetic material in Matthew and the Revelation is closely related to Daniel.

D. Oliver

Which commentaries are the best helps to study these books?

The series, “What the Bible Teaches,” is a valuable first resource for each book it covers. At present, it covers Genesis, but not Daniel. Most general commentaries recommended in Truth and Tidings January, 2001; February, 2001) have some help on these books.

For Genesis, commentaries on the Pentateuch recommended by J. McColl (April, 2001) will provide help. W H. Griffith Thomas on Genesis is highly recommended by both Wilbur M. Smith and Cyril J. Barber, whose evaluations of Bible study books are widely respected. Barber writes that Thomas book is “possibly the most helpful devotional exposition of Genesis available.” Henry M. Morriss book, “The Genesis Record,” is valuable, especially for scientific data.

On Daniel, Wilbur Smith (who had about thirty commentaries on Daniel, a favorite book of his) said that, if he could have only one book on Daniel, it would be Arno C. Gaebeleins, “The Prophet Daniel.” Interestingly, Harold Paisley (before he wrote his good book on Daniel) considered Gaebelein to be the best on Daniel. Wilbur Smith wrote of Charles Boutfiowers book, “In and Around the Book of Daniel,” that “in historical matters, it is the finest work of its kind in our language.

W. Gustafson

What New Testament books are most important as keys to other books?

John unfolds truths regarding the Godhead and its interrelationships. He majors on eternal life, faith, and the Word of God. The Lord discloses the Rapture in John; Paul develops this in 1 Thessalonians. The teaching in John 13-17 lays a basis for most of Pauls epistles. Johns other writings complete his gospels presentation.

Romans develops the foundations of the gospel, introduced in the gospels. Its doctrine and dispensational truths explain Gods ways in the Acts. Its dispensational section argues for Gods dealings with Israel in the Revelation and the Old Testament prophets.

1 Corinthians, “the Charter of the Church,” completes the gospel records on the resurrection of Christ and complements 1 Thessalonians regarding the Rapture. Most important, it integrates Matthew, Acts, 1 Timothy and almost all New Testament assembly teaching. It is inseparable from 2 Corinthians.

Ephesians captures Gods eternal purpose for the Church, the Body, and our position in Christ. This relates it to John, 1 Corinthians, Philippians, and Colossians. The Church, as body, building, and bride completes truth from Genesis and climaxes in the Revelation.

Hebrews interprets many Old Testament prophecies and types. It elucidates much of Leviticus. Above all, it unites many Old and New Testament truths regarding Christs person and work.

D. Oliver

What commentaries will help most in studying these books?

Again, first consult the commentaries in “What the Bible Teaches” on each of these books. The above mentioned general commentaries also help with these books.

John: Any of the authors who wrote books on the gospels recommended by Tom Wilson (September, October, 2001) are worth consulting where they write on John. George Reith is not well known, but, of his 314 pages in two small volumes, W. Smith says, “Dr. Reith has packed more helpful, practical, biblical, interpretative material into the unusually rich paragraphs of this book than any other writer on the same gospel within the same space.” Leon L. Morris has 936 pages on John, of which Barber writes, “a work of superlative scholarship that not only replaces the majestic work of Westcott but surpasses Barrett as well.”

Romans: James Currie has just released his book on Romans, which is likely to be very helpful. H. C. G. Moules book, “The Epistle to the Romans” is highly rated. His “Studies in Romans” is good, but less valuable than the other.

I Corinthians: J. M. Davies “The Epistle to the Corinthians” and W. E. Vines “I Corinthians” are very helpful aids for study.

Ephesians: William MacDonald in his “Believers Bible Commentary” devotes more pages proportionately to Ephesians than any other epistle of Paul. It may well be the outstanding work in his commentary.

“In the Heavenlies” is one of Henry A. Ironsides best studies. John R. W. Stott, “Gods New Society: The Message of Ephesians” is also very helpful.

Hebrews: “Studies in the Epistle to the Hebrews” by E. Schuyler English and “An Unshakeable Kingdom” by David Gooding are a good basis for studying this book.

W. Gustafson