The Riches of Divine Wisdom – David Gooding

Paperback, 425 pages, Published by Myrtlefield House, 180 Mountsandel Road, Coleraine, BT52 1TD. ISBN 978-1-874584-21-6.

Over forty years ago, Prof. John Heading and I had the privilege of sitting in on an informal debate between Dr. David Gooding and a number of modernist theology professors in the staff common room of the Theological College of Wales in Aberystwyth. David Gooding won hands down! It was delightful to hear a conservative evangelical voice stating traditional scriptural truth in a contemporary and academically acceptable way. In many ways, this book by David Gooding seeks to serve the same purpose in unpretentiously addressing the important subject of the book stated in its subtitle - ‘The New Testament’s Use of the Old Testament’. 

The book is in three parts: ‘The General Relation of the New Testament to the Old Testament’; ‘New Testament Thought Categories for Old Testament Interpretation’; and ‘Guidelines for our own Interpretation of Old Testament Narrative’. These are subdivided into various sections, many of which can be profitably read separately such as ‘Abraham’s Sacrifice of Isaac’ and ‘The Story of David and Goliath’.

Discussion of the areas covered, especially the very interesting analysis of the tabernacle, present some interesting new viewpoints, even if more traditional approaches are not always pressed. For example, much is made of the lampstand being made to resemble a living almond tree – ‘the first tree to blossom after the deadness of winter’ – as being symbolic of ‘the tree of life and at the same time it carried the light. It eloquently pointed to Him of whom John said “In him was life, and the life: was the light of men”’. Then, when the laver is dealt with, the author postulates that this covers the idea of the once-for-all bathing and subsequent washing of the New Testament, without the need for the introduction of the contemporary Greek picture of the public baths followed by later feet-washing.

Young Christians should be encouraged to read this ‘Christ in all the scriptures’ themed book; it will arm them against ‘the wiles of the devil’ in the world in which they move. However, we should say that anyone expecting a conventional Bible commentary might find this book tedious in places, and sometimes where the author in his 400+ pages painstakingly and unhurriedly sets out his arguments, modern readers might be tempted to flip over the pages. 

Thanks to Howard Barnes, West Houghton, England for this review


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