A Book for Christian Adults Who Seek Better Understanding of the Old Testament
This is a significant book of 219 Old Testament stories written for Christian adults who want to gain a better understanding of and a greater appreciation for the Old Testament. (See the picture of the book cover [and the links to Edenwood Press and to Amazon.com] at the bottom of this page.) This book, entitled I Will Make of Thee a Great Nation: Old Testament Stories, is highly regarded and was a “Best Books Award Finalist” for USA Book News. It was also the “Book of the Month” on Online Book Club (onlinebookclub.org) in August 2019.
I am confident that you will love this book! And through it, I believe you will come to love the Old Testament because you will understand it better than ever before. The stories are simple without being simplistic. You will find them to be both very readable and true to the scriptures. You will also be pleased that there is no fictionalizing and no embellishing.
THE OLD TESTAMENT: UNDERSTAND IT, LOVE IT!
Following are three reviews of I WILL MAKE OF THEE A GREAT NATION:
by Midwest Book Review:
by Jaroslav Melgr:
The OT is a large volume or work and it isn’t easy to understand at first. I remember the first time I opened the bible at the beginning and felt utterly overwhelmed and unprepared to comprehend what lied within. If you feel the same about the OT, but would like to learn more about it, this is a perfect book for you. Also the OT is very underappreciated volume of scripture. Many bible students touch on it only when they have to in seminaries or Sunday school classes and rush off to study the New Testament (NT) to discover the mysteries therein…. Yet it is my belief and my experience that the OT is a treasure trove of wisdom, knowledge and a key to proper understanding of the NT and Christ’s atonement. So Mr. Greenwood did a great service to all of us by putting together this book. His experience in studying and teaching OT for a number of years clearly shows through. He gets to the essence of each story and when he gives an interpretation or explains the meaning of something he clearly documents his interpretation with references to biblical passages. Once again, it provides the reader with a fresh view of the stories many of us are already familiar with.
The book also includes a section with biblical maps, pronunciation guide, name index with description of each character and references to where to read about them, subject index and bibliography. I highly recommend it to both beginning and advanced students, but especially to parents and teachers interested in fostering the love of the scripture and of the Old Testament.
by Donald James Parker:
Mr. Greenwood’s writing is invisible. That sounds like an indictment, but actually that comment is meant as a compliment. I mean I didn’t notice whether the writing is good or bad, because I was flowing with the idea the writing is supposed to convey. If the writing was bad, I’d notice and be distracted from the content. If the writing was salient, I would have been distracted by my stopping to admire the phraseology or perhaps to decipher a phrase that was overly complex in nature. Either way I would be distracted and my absorption of the material would be impacted. The author’s goal here is not to impress us with his literary prowess. He’s trying to deliver the word of God in a more digestible and condensed format. I think he succeeded admirably. Since this is just a retelling of material that already exists, there is no major element of creativity involved here to critique. The author’s major challenge is to determine what to include and what to omit. After the decision on what to include, he had to determine what to focus on and what to mention briefly. This is an area that some might criticize. For example, some might want to see more about King Jehoshaphat and less about King Saul. I don’t know enough to be critical or laudatory here. I know I learned a lot, but I have no clue about what should have been included or stressed in this work but wasn’t. This type of analysis really requires a Biblical scholar…
by Albert McIlhenny in Christian Book Reviews:
I Will Make of Thee a Great Nation: Old Testament Stories – Val D. Greenwood
American Book Publishing (February 2, 2009)
Topic: Christian Education
Summary: Major stories of the Old Testament arranged in a chronological form with Scripture references
Rating: 5 stars
For many new Christians (and some old Christians as well), reading the Old Testament may sometimes seem less a source of inspiration than perspiration. They know there are many vaguely familiar stories but they seem lost in a sea of genealogies and lists of ritual purity laws. Moreover, the sheer size of the Old Testament can seem overwhelming and impractical for searching out the desired accounts. When we add the sometimes difficult prose for a young or novice reader even if they happen to stumble onto what they seek and the fact that accounts may appear in multiple places, it can add up to a lot of frustration when those who have been steeped in the Bible since childhood effortlessly sail through its pages.
Val D. Greenwood has come to the rescue for many a frustrated novice Bible reader with the publication of I Will Make of Thee a Great Nation. Beginning with the creation accounts in Genesis and working his way through the Bible chronologically, Greenwood covers all the major Biblical figures in detail and gives accounts of the most well known and important events in the Old Testament. Best of all, with each account, he gives the location of the relevant Scriptural accounts so the book can serve as an introduction to the reading of Holy Scripture directly.
The book is divided into sections covering all the major eras of the Old Testament beginning with the creation accounts and ending with the period following the return from the Babylonian captivity. Each section has an average of eighteen chapters of a few pages each. Each chapter covers one of the important stories from the Bible. The text is very user friendly without being simplistic and manages to convey the material in a manner that can appeal to a wide range of backgrounds and ages.
If used as a tool for Bible study, one can go through the book, reading the Scriptural references given, and emerge with a solid background in the Old Testament. After working through the book this way, the reader will be much more comfortable reading the Old Testament on their own since they now will have some context to situate their readings.
Besides the obvious aid to Bible study, this book would also be extremely valuable to those involved with Christian education at all age levels. It would be very suitable as a text for a class on the Old Testament for adults and/or teens and would also be helpful for teachers of Sunday School for younger children so they may better explain Old Testament stories to their young charges.
Val D. Greenwood has managed to fill a void with I Will Make of Thee a Great Nation by supplying all the classic stories from the Old Testament in a very thorough yet engaging form. This book should be in the library of every Christian involved in teaching God’s Word and would be a blessing to any new Christian undertaking their first encounter with the Old Testament.
Review on OnlineBookClub.org
I grew up with these stories. “I Will Make of Thee a Great Nation,” was a promise to Abraham and his sons Isaac and Ishmael.
When I was older and was expected to read the entire text of the Bible,however it was difficult to get through. While I personally think at some point reading the whole Bible is important, this brings those familiar stories to life in an easy to read manner. It isn’t simplistic like a children’s book, it is more detailed and has some insight from the author thrown in.
There are some stories that I had completely forgotten about. I didn’t remember the story of Dinah at all. I did remember Sodom and Gammorah, but I had forgotten that Lot had sons that were destroyed there. So, it’s also a good refresher for people who have grown up with these stories.
Although I believe it is geared towards adults, I think anyone from middle school and up would benefit from reading this book. This is especially beneficial for people who are young in their faith. It’s also very helpful in learning history. Not just Christian or Jewish history, but world history.
I give “I Will Make of Thee a Great Nation” 4 out of 4 stars. It is well edited, no misspelled words or typos and the grammar is flawless. The history is correct. Plus, it was enjoyable to read.
Another review from OnlineBookClub.org
by TK Pumpkin
I Will Make of Thee a Great Nation: Old Testament Stories is an enlightening rendition of the Old Testament as told by Val D. Greenwood, spoken in modern language that is easy to understand. This book contains much of the Old Testament which is snipped, rearranged, and pasted into a chronological story that makes sense. It is told from start to finish in a way that allows the reader to grasp the characters and events of biblical history. Anyone who has read the Old Testament knows that it is a series of books by different authors during different periods, each with a different purpose. Reading the Old Testament from front to back can be repetitive and confusing for some, and it is also sprinkled with books of prophecy, poetry, prose, and law. This book summarizes only the stories, which is what many people may be interested in. It is not a replacement but can be used as a supplement, preview, or review of the Old Testament. The truth and often hidden personal messages from God throughout scripture can and should never be replaced, but this book serves as a sort of “CliffNotes,” or summary, of the main plot points.
What I liked most about this book was the transparency of the author. With so many religious-themed books full of dogmatic religious fanaticism, I’m always skeptical of writers’ motives, but Val Greenwood is upfront and honest about his interpretations and takeaways. I like how he keeps the business of scripture very simple and straightforward while capturing the meaning in the footnotes. This allowed me to take the information and form my own opinion without feeling coerced or preached at.
. . .
I Will Make of Thee a Great Nation: Old Testament Stories is for people who plan on reading, have already read, or are currently reading the Old Testament and want to be familiarized with the characters and events of the Old Testament. Christians can trust Val Greenwood to inform them without persuading them away from the true message of God’s word, and non-Christians can grasp an unbiased opinion as well without feeling preached at.
Overall, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It deserves more than three stars because it was exceptionally well edited with no errors and because I respect the tremendous amount of research that went into compiling and summarizing the Old Testament books. Its intention was not to entertain, persuade, or argue; rather inform, and the author did an amazing job of that.