Reformed Reflections

Search the Scriptures. Volume 1, Genesis - Exodus
by Dr. Cornelis Vanderwaal.
Covenant Press, Box 117, Grand Prairie, Alberta T8V 3A1. Spiral bound, pp. 94.
Reviewed by Johan D.Tangelder.

The first rule for reading, said Mortimer Adler in How to Read a Book, is this: "You must know what kind of book you are reading, and you should know this as early in the process as possible, preferably before you begin to read." People frequently read the Bible, without knowing what kind of book it is. What kind of book are we reading when we read the Bible? It is the only true book you can trust that will tell you all you want to know about the Saviour of the world. The Bible is the incomparable Book. It is the inerrant Word of the living God. It has a compelling message for the unbelieving world and for all who believe in the Christ of the Scriptures.

But how do we read the Bible? Some read it "piecemeal." They may never tire of insisting that the Bible is God's infallible Word. Yet, they don't bother read the whole Bible. They have their favourite passages of course, and they can quote a few texts. But if you were to ask them to summarize the contents and main emphases of a certain Bible book, they would be speechless. When they turn to the epistle to the Hebrews, they can't grasp its message because they didn't read Leviticus. Some believe that the God of the Old Testament is different from the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. Some find the Old Testament irrelevant. They can't find the Gospel in it. They prefer the four Gospels and the letters of the apostle Paul.

The words of Scripture are not grains of loose sand that refuse to stick to each other. All of Scripture is the Gospel. The Old Testament comes to us as the harmonious and deeply meaningful canon of the old covenant, which in turn helps us interpret the Old Testament in a truly Christocentric way. The same faithful God of Israel still addresses us today. The Father of Jesus is the God of the old covenant, who remains the same in the new covenant. The message of Scripture is unified. When we present it to others, let's present all of it.

In plain language, Vanderwaal, the author of many works on exegesis, prophecy, and church history, shows why we are to view the new covenant as a fulfillment of the old - and not a break with the old covenant. In this book, the first in a series of ten, he focuses on the overarching unity of Scripture. In each one of the books in the series, he shows something of the pattern, the major emphases, and the redemptive message of each Bible book. At the same time, he tries to make it clear how each book fits in with Scripture's dramatic presentation of the whole sweep of redemptive history.

Vanderwaal's series were originally published in Dutch under the title Sola Scriptura. Several years ago, the Covenant Press obtained the right to publish the Search the Scripture series. In this new edition, it changed the format to include questions for further study. It is designed to be used, not only for Bible study groups, but also for a curriculum for Christian high schools. It can also be used for profitable personal Bible study. The prayer of the Covenant Press publishers is that those who use Vanderwaal's materials will learn more about covenantal history, and the God Who revealed Himself through His Word. I am grateful for the publishers for making this much-needed material available in such an attractive format and at an affordable price.