Preachers are always looking for their next sermon series. Whether it is a book, a theme, or topic, if it is in Scripture, it is liable to become a series. Preachers and pastors must teach Scripture. That is lined out in the New Testament. Yet, it is difficult when a popular pastor says that Christians do not need a particular portion or entire testament. I must note all of Scripture is necessary and authoritative for Christian faith and practice. What is fascinating about Scripture, then, is its sometimes explicit or implicit motifs. For example, the idea of the exodus is a critical motif that runs through the Christian Scripture.
Bryan Estelle’s book, “Echoes of Exodus: Tracing a Biblical Motif,” tracks the motif of the Exodus throughout Scripture. It is a theme I had not thought of conjoining the two testaments, but Estelle presents a magnificent volume demonstrating such an idea. This is a book which will benefit pastors in the local church for years to come.
Estelle begins in the first chapter laboriously defining specific terms for the reader who is unfamiliar. He also seeks to present the “burgeoning field of intertextuality.” He also discusses the use of allusion and typology in a post-Enlightenment world.
Chapters two through eleven turns to the biblical corpus. First, he considers Genesis and how the creation account(s) provide the background to the Exodus event. He then discusses the story of the Exodus and how this foundational salvific event serves as a paradigm for God’s greater redemption narrative. This story is about God crafting a “holy priesthood” for himself. The exodus motif is also observed in the “tapestry of the Psalms.” Here Estelle writes, “Israel was called to a new level of understanding in light of God’s faithfulness in the past.” Fifthly and sixthly, Estelle writes on the idea of exodus and a “new thing” in the prophets, specifically engaging with Isaiah, Ezra-Nehemiah, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah. This “new thing” comes to fruition in the gospels and the book Acts in Jesus Christ of Nazareth. God is bringing to an end this idea of exodus in Jesus his Son. Chapter nine discusses how the exodus event affected Paul and how readers can note this motif in his letters. The Petrine Epistles take an interesting perspective in addressing the motif from an ecclesial point of view. Finally, the volume closes with the Apocalypse of John where the new exodus is consummated in the coming of Christ.
Estelle then steps back and looks at the idea of intertextuality in its contributions to biblical and systematic theology. I think this is perhaps one of the most helpful sections of the book as it helps readers apply different motifs in Scripture to their lives. estelle also provides a brief history of intertextuality in biblical studies which helps the reader gain a more firm foundation of knowledge of the undergirding idea he used the entire volume.
I absolutely believe this book will aid pastors and serious students of Scripture. I found it fascinating and full of new knowledge that I had not considered before. And, of course, this book has provided a sermon series or teaching series idea that I would love to use in my own local church. I hope you will consider taking up and reading this volume.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from InterVarsity Press. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and a positive review was not required. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.