1. What previous research and/or personal interests led you to this project and helped prepare you to write this commentary on Exodus?
I had been doing some working on the theme of new exodus in biblical theology so it was a great opportunity to explore the foundations of that theme in the original exodus. But I was also keen to get into the detail of the building of the tabernacle – the (large) section of the book of Exodus that is so often ignored. In particular I had some hunches about its link to creation that I wanted to pursue. Above all, I love preaching Old Testament narrative because it allows you to preach Christ in fresh ways.
2. Who is the intended audience for this commentary? Would it benefit pastors? professors? students? lay Christians in the local church?
I think of the God’s Word for You series as ‘expository guides’, although there is a commitment to cover every verse. I guess my two main audiences were Christians wanting something to guide their personal reading of Exodus and pastors wanting help as they seek to preach Christ from the Old Testament.
3. What is unique about this commentary? What contribution does it make to the study of Exodus?
The commentary reflects a strong commitment to Christ-centered biblical theology. That means looking forward to the fulfillment of exodus, law and tabernacle in Jesus. But it also involves looking back to creation and Adam to see how exodus, law and tabernacle function as a blueprint for the renewal creation in Christ.
4. What section or passage of this commentary was particularly memorable to research and write? Why?
I particularly enjoyed working on the descriptions of the tabernacle and seeing their connection back to creation and on to Christ. It was great to be able to rehabilitate the best of an older tradition of exposition in this area. Also, the meal of Exodus 24 connected with previous work I’ve done in my book, A Meal with Jesus (IVP/Crossway). I also loved working on the parting of the Red Sea and making the connections to the ‘baptism’ of Jesus at the cross and to Christian baptism. It allows us to present salvation as moment of high drama.
5. What personally edified you in writing this commentary, increasing your affections for Christ?
Surprising as it may seem, it was probably description of fixtures and fittings! The fixtures and fittings of the tabernacle signal God’s intent to dwell among his people in a new creation and they point to how Christ will accomplish this. I loved tracing the connections between the cloud that shrouded Mount Sinai and the altar of incense – which was basically a cloud-making machine in the tabernacle – both of which are designed to shroud the consuming glory of God. This then sets the scene for the ascension of Jesus in which he passes through that cloud into the presence of God on our behalf.
6. Besides your commentary, what are your top recommended books (commentaries or otherwise) on Exodus?
The technical commentary I found most helpful was Exodus by John Mackay, published by the Mentor imprint of Christian Focus. It’s a good introduction to the meaning of the Hebrew text without expecting you to know Hebrew.
7. What’s next for you? What project are you currently working on? How can people follow your work and ministry?
I’ve written 2 Samuel for You so that will be coming out soon to accompany my book, 1 Samuel for You. And I’m in the middle of working on Revelation for You. I have a couple of other books coming out soon. Rediscovering Joy is an introduction to the message of the Reformation in the form a three-way conversation between the Reformers in 16th-century Europe, Paul in 1st-century Galatia and us today. It’s published by IVP in the UK and Crossway in the US. The second book is Bible Matters, an introduction to the doctrine of Scripture with a particular focus on the relational nature of Scripture as the place in which we hear God’s voice. It’s published by IVP in the UK and InterVarsity in the US.
People can follow my at www.timchester.co.uk and @timchestercouk.
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