Lies My Preacher Told Me: An Honest Look at the Old Testament

Brent A. Strawn
Westminster John Knox Press
Published Year: 
Cover image with hand holding an apple for Brent Strawn new book

Brent A. Strawn, Ph.D., professor of Old Testament at Duke Divinity School, has written a new book addressing ten common mistruths that Christians have been told about the Old Testament.

The book, Lies My Preacher told Me: An Honest Look at the Old Testament, was published by Westminster John Knox Press in February. In this concise volume, Strawn explains why stories and laws written thousands of years ago, centuries before Christ, are enriching and indispensable for modern Christians.

With a goal of expanding thinking about the Bible's First (and largest) Testament, Strawn guides readers in examining common mistruths about the Old Testament, ranging from perceptions of God's personality such as the “angry Old Testament God,” to the relevance of the Old Testament for Christians. The book is designed for easy reading and group discussion.

Strawn cleverly explores the 10 mistruths, starting with the tongue-in-check title of the book, in individual chapters before the concluding chapter in which he explains why truth about God’s Word matters. The chapter titles are: The Old Testament Is “Someone Else’s Mail,” The Old Testament Is a Boring History Book, The Old Testament Has Been Rendered  Permanently Obsolete, The Old Testament God Is Mean…Really Mean, The Old Testament Is Hyper-Violent, David Wrote the Psalms (and Other Unhelpful Historical Assertions), The Old Testament Isn’t Spiritually Enriching, The Old Testament Isn’t Practically Relevant, The Old Testament Law Is Nothing but a Burden and Impossible to Keep, and What Really Matters Is That “Everything Is about Jesus.”

Strawn joined the Duke Divinity School faculty in 2019 after serving as the William Ragsdale Cannon Distinguished Professor of Old Testament at the Candler School of Theology and Graduate Division of Religion of Emory University, where he taught for eighteen years. He specializes in ancient Near Eastern iconography, Israelite religion, legal traditions of the Old Testament, and Old Testament theology.

He most recently co-edited The Oxford Handbook of the Historical Books of the Hebrew Bible (Oxford University Press, 2020), a volume of 36 essays offering resources for the essential interpretation of the Historical Books of the Old Testament. Strawn also is the author of The Old Testament: A Concise Introduction (Routledge, 2019), a concise guide to the Old Testament and the most current questions in biblical scholarship, and The Old Testament Is Dying: A Diagnosis and Recommended Treatment (Baker Academic, 2017). He also has edited more than 20 volumes to date, including the award-winning The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Law. Strawn was a member of the translation team and editorial board for The Common English Bible and is an ordained United Methodist elder.