2 Simple Ideas to Help You Understand the Old Testament

Welcome to our blog, where we delve into the fascinating world of the Old Testament. While many find this sacred text complex and overwhelming, we are here to simplify it for you. In this post, we will present two simple ideas that will aid your understanding of the Old Testament, making it more accessible and relatable. So, if you have ever felt daunted by the ancient scriptures, get ready for a transformative journey as we unpack these ideas and shed light on this age-old treasure trove of wisdom. Let’s dive in!


The Old Testament, also known as the Hebrew Bible, is an ancient religious text that holds immense significance for many people around the world. However, understanding and interpreting it can often prove to be a challenging task. In this article, we will explore two revolutionary ideas introduced by Tim, in the popular Bible Project’s Hebrew Bible class, that can greatly enhance our understanding of the Old Testament. By adopting these ideas, we can develop a new sensibility for this ancient text and bridge the gap between the authors and the readers.

Idea 1: The Old Testament as Intentional Literary Communication

One of the fundamental concepts presented in the Bible Project’s Hebrew Bible class is that the Old Testament is not a haphazard collection of stories and teachings, but a deliberate and intentional literary communication. Each text within the Old Testament was carefully crafted with a specific purpose in mind.

By recognizing the intentional nature of these texts, we gain a deeper understanding of the Old Testament’s structure and themes. This understanding allows us to approach the text with a sense of reverence and curiosity. We can now ask ourselves, “What is the author trying to convey through this particular story or teaching?”

Idea 2: Reading and Re-reading for Clarification

Another revolutionary idea that Tim introduces in the Bible Project’s Hebrew Bible class is the importance of reading and re-reading the Old Testament for clarification. Since the texts of the Old Testament were written in Hebrew and Aramaic, languages that are foreign to most modern readers, it is crucial to spend time carefully studying and reflecting upon the text.

Reading the Old Testament once is often not enough to fully grasp its meaning and nuances. It requires consistent re-reading and engagement to uncover the layers of wisdom and insight embedded within the text. By adopting this practice, we allow ourselves to uncover deeper meanings and connections that may have eluded us during our initial reading.

Developing a New Sensibility for an Ancient Text

Understanding the Old Testament goes beyond simply comprehending the words on the page. It requires us to develop a new sensibility, a mindset that acknowledges the cultural and historical contexts in which these texts were written. By doing so, we can appreciate the richness and complexity of the Old Testament.

To truly understand the Old Testament, we must immerse ourselves in the world of its authors. This involves studying the history, language, and culture of the ancient Near East. By gaining insight into the lives and perspectives of the authors, we can bridge the gap between their encyclopedias and our own.

Clarifying Meaning through Dialogue

The communication between the authors of the Old Testament and the modern readers is a continuous dialogue. As readers, we bring our own experiences, biases, and assumptions to the text. It is essential to recognize and address these differences to gain a more accurate understanding of the Old Testament’s message.

Tim emphasizes the importance of actively engaging with the text and seeking clarification through discussions, commentaries, and other sources. By engaging in this dialogue, we can challenge our preconceived notions and explore new perspectives, ultimately enriching our understanding of the Old Testament.


Understanding the Old Testament can be a daunting task, especially considering its ancient origins and complex themes. However, by embracing the two revolutionary ideas presented by Tim in the Bible Project’s Hebrew Bible class, we can significantly enhance our understanding of this ancient text.

By recognizing the intentional nature of the Old Testament as a piece of literary communication and engaging in consistent re-reading, we can uncover deeper meanings and gain valuable insights. Furthermore, by adopting a new sensibility and actively engaging in a dialogue with the authors, we can bridge the gap between their world and ours.

Incorporating these ideas into our approach to the Old Testament will enable us to develop a deeper appreciation for its wisdom and significance. So, let us embark on this transformative journey and unlock the profound truths that lie within the pages of the Hebrew Bible.

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