What is the point of the Book of Ruth?
I think there are two central points: a political and Christological dimension:
What we argue is that Ruth is actually a political tract making the case for the Davidic Kingdom…in other words, why Israel needs a faithful
King who will be strong like Boaz, loyal like Ruth, and whose fortunes will
turn like Naomi’s.
It’s Christological because it sets the stage for a kinsman
redeemer who woos his bride through his generosity and strength, who covers his
bride under his wings, who becomes this new land where God’s people can glean
freely until the end of history. Jesus is this unending source of blessing to
the foreigner and to the citizens of the land.
How do you preach through the book?
It’s such a compelling story that if I were a pastor who had not preached through Ruth, I’d go to Amazon and buy this commentary right now and start a series through it. I kid. But seriously, what are you waiting for? CLICK HERE!
I think the beauty of preaching through it is that you are
preaching through a familiar story, which means the contextual dimensions are
fairly known, but it also means that people have expectations for what you are
going to say, but our goal in the commentary was to show just how nuanced the commentary
is and just how the language of Ruth is filled with redemptive meanings from the
names of Mahlon and Chilion and to the genealogy in chapter 4 which is
The pastor can take his time working through each character and
bringing out their significance in the larger story.
What is it like to write a commentary?
Well, I think we both have to preach through it first as
pastors…we need to read and re-read the text. Lusk, who is the genius behind
this, taught a Sunday school class on it and I both preached and taught through
numerous times here in the US and in Brazil.
The process can be really slow because we both have
full-time jobs, children and other concerns, but we have to find time whenever
it is available.
So, the benefit of the Through New Eyes Series commentaries
is that much of our theology is already developed. It’s based on the genius of
James B. Jordan whose imprint is in every
page. With that starting point, we are looking at two elements: first, what
does the text say? We are operating on a section or verse by verse analysis of