I rejoice that God has granted this new book to release today! I pray that it will serve to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ.

Jason S. DeRouchie. How to Understand and Apply the Old Testament: Twelve Steps from Exegesis to Theology. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2017. xxxvi + 583 pages.

What Others Are Saying

Conversationally engaging; literarily transparent; materially comprehensive; pedagogically superb; academically sound, precise, and informed—all this and more. In over 52 years of teaching in the classrooms of higher education, I have seen nothing comparable to this magnificent work by DeRouchie––destined to be the classic in its field.
––Eugene H. Merrill, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Old Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary, and co-author of The World and the Word: An Introduction to the Old Testament

I think Jason DeRouchie would be happy if I said that this book is designed to move us from revelation through rigor to rapture––from the sacred word of God, through the serious work of reading, to the satisfaction of knowing and enjoying God. There is no getting around the hard work of reading for holy wonder of worship. So DeRouchie spares no effort to make the rigors of careful reading plain. For many folks the Old Testament is a foreign land. O how good it is to have a native with you when you travel to a strange place. With his help, dozens of strange things begin to make sense. You even start to feel at home. I recommend this book, if you have a wanderlust for exploring ancient treasures. There are many, and they are great. DeRouchie will show you how to find them.
––John Piper, Founder and Teacher, Desiring God; Chancellor and Professor of Biblical Exegesis, Bethlehem College & Seminary

Once again DeRouchie has evidenced his special gift in combining the precision of a scholar, the organization of a teacher, and the heart of a pastor in his new textbook, How to Understand and Apply the Old Testament. Writing in three concurrent tracks for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students, he develops a clear trajectory from exegesis to theology, providing discussion informed by recent scholarship, clear biblical examples, and abundant resources for further study. This, then, is a manual that invites rereading at increasing levels of insight and precision. For students of the OT, DeRouchie’s work will likely become the standard for the next generation.
––Daniel J. Estes, Distinguished Professor of Old Testament, Cedarville University, and author of Learning and Living God’s Word: How to Study the Bible

People often ask me how they can grow in understanding the Bible when seminary is not an option. How to Understand and Apply the Old Testament provides exactly what those of us who don’t know Hebrew and Greek need to take a huge step forward in our learning. This book not only provides instruction on using the tools such as genre, grammar and context, it demonstrates clearly and effectively how to use these tools.
––Nancy Guthrie, Bible teacher and author of the Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament Bible study series

DeRouchie’s How to Understand and Apply the Old Testament is perhaps the most comprehensive and complete practical guide to OT Hermeneutics and Exegesis available today. This is an outstanding work, and I heartily recommend it to all who teach OT Exegesis.
––J. Daniel Hays, Professor of Biblical Studies, Ouachita Baptist University, and co-author of Grasping God’s Word: A Hands-On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible

DeRouchie brings both scholarly expertise and mission experience into the service of helping us see the Old Testament as Christian Scripture. Here is faithful interpretation of the Word of God in accord with its own historical setting and in harmony with its redemptive context. Such a whole Bible perspective will help enable Bible interpreters to identify the particular concerns of OT writers and to celebrate the continuities of their words with New Testament revelations of our Redeemer. As a result, believers will be enriched in their ability to apply the OT to their lives in ways that nurture hope in the gospel and that fuel zeal for the glory of Christ.
––Bryan Chapell, Pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church, Peoria, IL, and author of Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming Expository Sermons

DeRouchie has produced a masterpiece of a guide to interpreting the Old Testament Scriptures. He has written it so that beginning, intermediate, and advanced students may grow in their understanding of the message of the divinely-inspired text. I enthusiastically recommend this book for everyone who desires to interpret the Old Testament faithfully.
––Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College, and author of the How to Read the Old Testament series and co-author of An Introduction to the Old Testament

How to Understand and Apply the Old Testament takes seriously the testimony of Scripture—that the OT is Christian Scripture, and as such, it ought to be preached and taught in the church today. Anyone wanting to grapple with how to interpret and apply the OT will find this volume immensely helpful. It is scholarly, rich in theological and exegetical insight, attentive to Hebrew grammar and syntax, yet the step-by-step approach to the interpretative task means that it is accessible for pastors and Bible teachers alike. You will want to have this volume in your library!
––Carol M. Kaminski, Professor of Old Testament, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and co-author of CasketEmpty at http://www.casketempty.com/

If there is a deficiency in the contemporary evangelical pulpit, it is the absence of consistent expositional preaching of the Old Testament Scriptures. Many pastors have either lost touch with the biblical Hebrew they learned in seminary or are intimidated by the demands placed on those who would venture into the interpretation of complex OT texts. If that is you, or perhaps someone you know, rejoice with me to see the publication of DeRouchie’s excellent treatment of the twelve steps essential for movement from exegesis to sound and substantive pastoral theology. The church has long awaited and greatly needed this volume. I highly recommend it.
––Sam Storms, Lead Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bridgeway Church, Oklahoma City, OK, and author of Tough Topics and Tough Topics 2: Biblical Answers to 25 Challenging Questions

Just looking over the table of contents gave me an adrenaline surge. I wish I had this book when I was teaching Old Testament, and I now envy the professors and students who use this book. Its content does not disappoint. Every sentence conveys the result of careful thought. DeRouchie is a scholar who knows the theological discourse regarding biblical interpretation and is thus well-equipped to introduce students to it. But his work does more than orient the student’s head; DeRouchie also aims at producing the heart of a faithful interpreter of God’s Word. I will be returning to this book often.
––E. Ray Clendenen, Senior Editor of Bible and Reference Publishing, B&H Publishing Group

Two words come to mind when reading DeRouchie’s How to Understand and Apply the Old Testament: comprehensive and accessible (think: Grant Osborne meets Fee and Stuart). DeRouchie’s passion for the OT and love for Christ come through on virtually every page. This book is a reliable guide for interpreting the OT that is balanced with both light and heat.
––Benjamin L. Merkle, Professor of New Testament and Greek, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; and co-author of Understanding Prophecy: A Biblical-Theological Approach

It is rare to find in one book everything you need to learn how to interpret rightly and apply wisely God’s Word to our lives, yet this is such a work! In addition, many Christians struggle with how to understand and apply the Old Testament to their lives today, but this work removes the fog and makes the OT come alive for Christians. Whether you have been studying God’s Word for years or you are a novice, How to Understand and Apply the Old Testament is a must read. One will learn how to move rightly from the biblical texts in all of their instruction, authority, and beauty to their proper theological application in our lives viewed in light of the glorious work of our Lord Jesus Christ. I know of no better book that puts all of the pieces together and so wonderfully teaches the reader how to move from exegesis to theology, and which practically helps us become better readers of the OT. Jason DeRouchie has given us a real gift, and I highly recommend this work for anyone who is serious about the study of Scripture and desirous of seeing God’s Word be proclaimed, taught, and obeyed in the Church.
––Stephen J. Wellum, Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; editor of The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology; and co-author of Kingdom Through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants

Students of God’s Word from all walks of life will benefit from How to Understand and Apply the Old Testament. Thinking over my travels and work overseas, I can’t help but think of how much less doctrinal error and how much more peace in Christ we would enjoy if we took theology as seriously and cheerfully as DeRouchie. One of the key components of this volume’s usefulness is its three tracks for target audiences. As a busy mom I don’t have time to read every page, but as a wannabe Hebrew student I do want to grow in my understanding. The chapter-by-chapter “trail-guides” really helped me maximize my time in the book. Use and enjoy this volume in your personal studies, discipleship, and parenting.
––Gloria Furman, cross-cultural worker and author of Missional Motherhood

For nearly a century only a handful of scholars have published manuals for the exegesis of the Hebrew Bible. How to Understand and Apply the Old Testament surpasses all previous works with its biblical-theological orientation, purposeful organization, depth of analytical guidance, clarity of explanation, illustrative examples, and direction regarding interpretive implications. DeRouchie walks the aspiring exegete and expositor through the steps of a text-focused, genre-aware, and context-sensitive methodology. No matter what one’s theological views might be on any particular text, this volume gives users superb guidance for interpreting the OT. I commend it to every teacher and student of Hebrew exegesis as the best textbook available.
––William D. Barrick, Retired Professor of Old Testament, The Master’s Seminary; and OT Editor, Evangelical Commentary on the Old Testament

Like few others, DeRouchie understands that the path to orthodox theology and true worship is driven by one’s encounter with the Incarnate Word as presented in the Written Word (John 5:39; Luke 24:44; Rom 1:1–3). Thus, no amount of rigor is spared in leading students of the Bible from the science of analytical, exegetical analysis into the art of theological and practical application, which then culminates in the satisfaction of worship. Especially helpful are the sections on Literary Units and Text Hierarchy and then Clause and Text Grammar. This volume will not only become a standard course textbook, but it will also serve as lifelong resource for those called to study and faithfully proclaim the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ from the Old Testament. If you are hungry to devour Scripture (Ezek 3:1–3), then “get up,” take this book, and “eat” (Acts 10:13).
––Miles V. Van Pelt, Alan Belcher Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages, Director of the Summer Institute for Biblical Languages, and Academic Dean, Jackson Campus, Reformed Theological Seminary; co-author of Basics of Biblical Hebrew

Purpose and Contents

This book is designed to help believers understand and apply their Old Testament’s as Christian Scripture. The book introduces twelve steps from exegesis (chs. 1–9) to theology (chs. 10–12), which I package under the five-part structure of TOCMA: Text > Observation > Context > Meaning > Application. 

Whom Is This Book For?

This book targets both laypeople who don’t know Hebrew and students studying the Old Testament in the original languages. This book is for anyone who wants to learn how to observe carefully, understand accurately, evaluate fairly, feel appropriately, act rightly, and express faithfully God’s revealed Word, especially as embodied in the Old Testament.

I have written this book with three tracks.

Level 1–Easy makes up most of the book and is for all readers. For beginning interpreters, this track may be the only one you will take, as it includes no exposure to biblical Hebrew. It will, however, still contain numerous exegetical and theological paths and vistas that will instruct, awe, inspire, and motivate.

Level 2–Moderate is also for all readers and does not require a knowledge of biblical Hebrew. It does, however, interact with the original language where beneficial for intermediate interpreters. I always translate the Hebrew and try to instruct clearly. Here you will gain exposure to some of the benefits of Hebrew exegesis and will learn how even those without Hebrew can profit greatly from important interpretive tools.

Level 3–Challenging is specialized for more advanced interpreters who know or are learning biblical Hebrew. These sections likely include technical discussions that will substantially benefit only those with some awareness of the original language and who will use their Hebrew Bibles for study.

Throughout the book I use the three symbols above to identify the difficulty-level of each section or sub-section. Decide what path you want to travel, and follow my lead. At the head of every chapter I also include a “Trail-Guide” that will remind you where you are at in the journey from exegesis to theology and that will give you a quick overview of the paths you are about to tread.

The Book Is a Fraternal Twin

I originally did not set out to write a book on biblical interpretation. Instead, I drafted the initial materials in summer 2015 to guide my teaching via teleprompter for the course Old Testament Exegesis for Logos Mobile Ed in a studio at the Faithlife headquarters in Bellingham, Washington. My close friend and faculty colleague Andy Naselli was recording the course New Testament Exegesis, and at the end of that process, John Hughes from P&R asked us to consider revising our materials into books. Andy’s companion volume is a fraternal twin in every way––conceptually, structurally, theologically, and pedagogically: How to Understand and Apply the New Testament: Twelve Steps from Exegesis to Theology.

More about the Book

  1. Steve Wellum review (of both DeRouchie and Naselli) for Books at a Glance (3/27/2017).
  2. Fred Zaspel interview (of both DeRouchie and Naselli) for Books at a Glance (3/27/2017)