Leviticus is the place where the best of intentions to read through the Bible often stall out. But it is a book that Jay Sklar—professor of Old Testament and vice president of academics at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri—has studied and written about prolifically. Sklar’s doctoral studies focused on the theology of sin, impurity, sacrifice, and atonement in the Old Testament sacrificial system. He contributed to the study notes of Leviticus for the ESV Study Bible and the introduction and notes for Leviticus for the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible, and he wrote a commentary on Leviticus for the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary Series (InterVarsity Press).
In this conversation, Sklar outlines five reasons Leviticus is a challenging book to read and understand, as well as to teach:
- It is mostly law, which is unappealing to most of us.
- It is culturally strange.
- It emphasizes ritual, which we tend to assume is meaningless.
- Its laws and teachings appear unfair or unjust.
- It is hard to fit into the larger story of the Bible.
But Sklar also offers keen insights into how to make sense of the book and break down some of the barriers to interest. He also talks about how to present Christ through discussing issues that arise in Leviticus such as slavery, homosexuality, ritual impurity, and disability.
Recommended resources by and from Jay Sklar:
- The Book of Leviticus (New International Commentary on the Old Testament) by Gordon J. Wenham
- Leviticus (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries) by Jay Sklar
- How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart
- Jay Sklar’s oage (Covenant Seminary website) which includes audio, video, and a printable resource for preaching and teaching Leviticus
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