Book Reviews

Book Review: Scripture Storyline (Todd Chipman)

Todd Chipman, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at MBTS and Teaching Pastor at The Master’s Community Church, has provided a yearly Bible reading guide that draws the long lines through both Testaments to help you understand how the New Testament both fulfills the Old Testament and points back to God’s promises and faithfulness made there. He shows how the New Testament authors interpreted the Old Testament to make sense of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and his rule as the sovereign King for all eternity.

Being both a scholar and a pastor help Chipman to be both grounded in theology and biblical studies and to have the care of a pastor who wants the church to be feed with the Word. This is a book “that accounts for how the biblical covenants develop, how the New Testament authors use the Old Testament, and how Jesus supplies the solution to all problems, provides the Yes to every promise, fulfills all hopes, and operates as the substance to which all shadows point” (xvii). Chipman divides his book into 313 units so that it can be read at a pace of six days per week. Chipman writes not only for the church at large but for church families so that they would know the Word and be able to nourish each other and their children with God’s faithful character toward us. The church itself becomes healthier as it receives the Word on Sunday and as families are daily nourished and built up through the rest of the week.

If you pick up the book or peruse the Table of contents, you’ll notice that books are a bit out of order. The Old Testament books are in order, but Matthew is placed after Deuteronomy, Mark after 2 Kings, John after Song of Songs, and Luke (and the rest of the New Testament) after Malachi. This seemed a bit odd, but Chipman ordered the books this way so that readers “could regularly appreciate the fulfillment Jesus brought about even as they read through the larger Old Testament story” (2). Chipman provides nine pages of recommended resources on the topic of biblical theology at the end of his book.

The Psalms were arranged according to the historical situations that inspired them (when those are known) or with Old Testament passages that have shared themes. Some won’t like this due to more recent literary-canonical readings of Psalms that understand the Psalms to be its own book, with its own themes and motifs. While that may be the case, I think what Chipman has written will help people connect individual Psalms back into the Old Testament story.

Leviticus 25–27

Not every chapter/section runs straight to Jesus. That would be too predictable. Instead Chipman really tries to follow the storyline and bring us from an Old Testament passage to how it could play out in New Testament life. For example, on pages 49–50 Chipman looks at Leviticus 25–27 and Psalm 119:89–96. These chapters set forth “the laws for community maintenance in the Promised Land,” laws which would help the communities to care for the land God gave them as well as their own families and the foreigners who lived in their midst. Leviticus 25 teaches us that “Israel’s corporate occupancy of the land was to be more highly esteemed than the opportunity to maximize individual or familial prosperity” (49). This included allowing everyone to rest on the Sabbath, not merely everyone who had enough slaves who could continue working that day (25:1–7). Everyone, even the animals, were to rest and reap the benefits of living in God’s land. As well, one family couldn’t gain land from another’s misfortune and expect to keep that land for future generations. At every Jubilee, land had to be returned to the original family (vv.8–24).

There is more that could be said about these three chapters, but within the paradigm of Christ, the church is to be generous with their resources to help fellow brothers and sisters as seen in Acts 4:34–35; and concerning widows in 6:1–7; and 1 Timothy 5:2–16. Those with wealth are not to trust their resources (only in Christ!), and they are to be generous with all that God gave them “so that they could lay hold of eternal life, life that is real (1 Tim 6:17–19)” (50).

Recommended?

I think this is a grand resource. Don’t expect to find a full commentary for each unit. Instead, you get a helpful summary of the chapters that give you an overall idea of how to understand them, and you will be pointed to their fulfillment in Christ. On the flip side, you will see the basis for much of the New Testament’s doctrine by constantly being pointed back to the Old Testament. The Apostles didn’t make this stuff up! It came from somewhere. Christians need to know the Old Testament, and we need to know how it was fulfilled in Christ in all its parts. I am thankful for Chipman’s book and hope that many churches and church families will use this to learn and be filled with the Word.

Lagniappe

    • Author: Todd R. Chipman
    • Hardcover/Paperback: 518 pages
    • Publisher: Fontes Press (October 1, 2020)

Buy it on Amazon or from Fontes Press

Disclosure: I received this book free from Fontes Press. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.

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