If nothing else, I am loyal. When I find a Bible teacher that has shaken me or has moved me, I search other titles they have written to get more of their artistry with a turn of a phrase, their admonition to dig deeper, and to find what has moved their heart. Pricilla Shirer is one of those Bible teachers. So a few weeks ago when I heard that Sandra Richter’s book, The Epic of Eden, had deeply changed Pricilla’s perspective on the Old Testament of the bible, I had to read it too.
It was such a stroke of good fortune, [No, let me rephrase that] such a shining example of the work of the Holy Spirit, to have discovered this book while renewing a goal to re-read the entire Bible last year. Dr. Richter totally had me hooked in the introduction entitled “The Dysfunctional Closet Syndrome.” She likened the average Biblical student’s understanding of the Old Testament to the disarray of an unbelievably messy closet.
We’ve all had one of those. I remember as a child hearing my own mother repeatedly admonish me to “Clean up your closet!” My closet was so bad once that when our female Dachshund was looking for a place to have her puppies she chose the bottom of my closet on top of a pile of my clothes! Now as a mature adult, I’ve adopted the extremely organized lifestyle of my Scandinavian ancestors, who have been known to regularly clean the streets in front of their homes.
With so many stories, names, dates and patriarchs in the Old Testament, it can be intimidating to keep everything neat and tidy in ones mind. Enter Dr. Richter’s The Epic of Eden. I’m in the habit of listening to many books on my audible app while I get in my weekly hour-long walks. I still do actually read books at other times in the day [Last year the list of books I listened to or read was over 65!], but it is a testament to Dr. Richter’s organizational “closet structures,” that helped me to be able to remember the five part structure of famous biblical characters as I walked! She was able to help me see these people and events as sections of my biblical closet with hangers and drawers to keep things neatly arranged.
The books’ structure emphasizes the Old Testament as “our story,” yours and mine. Which allows us to see the New Testament as a continuation of that story. That of course is the story of God’s redemption for each and every one of us.
Another impressive feature of this book is the understanding given to the “Concept of Covenant.” I was fascinated with finally seeing clearly that the story of God’s chosen people was based on his promises and covenant. While his people, including us as a part of his adopted family, have not kept our end of that covenant, He has always kept his.
If you are wanting to finally get your Old Testament “closet,” in order, I would highly recommend this book as one to add to your 2021 reading list.