R.C. Sproul explores the meaning of covenant and specific covenants from the Old Testament through Christ. Throughout this meaty text, Sproul offers readers challenge, encouragement, and a theme of faithful stability from a God who never alters or changes. He also reveals to today’s believer how God’s relationships with Noah, Abraham and Moses affect them now. Readers will discover how God’s promises to His people throughout history tell us about His unchanging character, His love, and how He chooses to interact with individuals in today’s world.
"Sproul brings a frequently dry topic to life and offers readers a lively and engaging setting in which to study these foundational Christian truths."
Since many readers do not fully understand some of the terminology so common to biblical characters, Sproul opens his text with a brief primer on the meaning of the word covenant. He writes, “Biblical covenants have elements of promise, one thing makes them different from these other kinds of agreements --- biblical covenants are established on the basis of a divine sanction. That is, they are established not on the foundation of promises made by equal parties, but on the foundation of the divine promise of God. In the biblical covenants, it is God who declares the terms and makes the promises.” Covenants made among individuals, governments and rulers, where those involved agree to a specific set of rules or behavior, are not on the same plane as biblical covenants between God and man.
Sproul also makes the point about the difference between Old Testament and New Testament covenants, and how confusion often creates lots of unnecessary squabbling and discussion. He notes that when individuals talk about these two types of covenants, they are not speaking about the concept of the testament but about a period of time. When believers refer to the Old Testament covenant, they are talking about what God promised to do after the fall.
Readers will discover in-depth information about these covenants: the covenant of redemption, the creation covenant, the Noahic covenant, the Abrahamic covenant, the Mosaic covenant, the Davidic covenant, the New covenant, and the Christ of the Covenant. Throughout this 14-chapter text, Sproul includes a handy and detailed study guide for further discussion and study. It includes a brief introduction to the specific covenant, scripture readings, a learning objective, a quotation, and then a comprehensive outline, followed by study questions, bible study and discussion questions, and a suggested reading list. All these study tools will aid even the most novice biblical scholar in unpacking these covenantal truths.
THE PROMISES OF GOD is important because too many Christ followers have abandoned a serious study of the Old and New Testament promises, which adversely affects their belief, trust and faith in a God they do not truly understand. Sproul brings a frequently dry topic to life and offers readers a lively and engaging setting in which to study these foundational Christian truths.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on July 19, 2013