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Getting Involved with God: Rediscovering the Old Testament
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Getting Involved with God: Rediscovering the Old Testament

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  254 ratings  ·  41 reviews
"This is a book about getting, and staying, involved with God--what it takes, what it costs, what it looks and feels like, why anyone would want to do it anyway. It is at the same time a book about reading the Old Testament as a source of Good News and guidance for our life with God. The key piece of Good News that the Old Testament communicates over and over again is that ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published January 25th 2001 by Cowley Publications
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4.39  · 
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 ·  254 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Sep 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Books like these "keep me alive in famine." There are so many gems in this book, so much insight and wisdom. Ellen Davis has been studying the wisdom literature of the Bible for years and walking with God for a long time. It is a great kindness that she shares what she has learned with her readers.

She studies texts which are often marginalized or flat out avoided in the church today: The Psalms of Lament, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, and Job chief among them. Reading Davis reminds me that I hav
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommend, even if you only read one section or one chapter, it's worth getting. I read it during a time where I felt really far from God and pretty depressed, and some chapters really helped; it wasn't cheesy, or a cheer up pal, God's got Your back (which I mean He totally does, but sometimes it can come off sounding cliche) type of comfort,but real stuff. It gave me a different perspective on the Psalms and the book of Job too. It was a good mix of scholastic-ness and devotional/feels. ...more
Aug 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I was wonderfully surprised by how much I was captivated by the author's unpacking of the Hebrew Bible (OT)! Since it was recommended by Walter Brueggemann, I should have guessed as much! But wonderful introduction to themes in the OT, insightful and accessible commentary on Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Job, Isaiah and more.
Bryant Cornett
Nov 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Christians, seekers, lovers, fighters
Recommended to Bryant by: Thomas Martin, a preacher at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church
Every Christian should read this book.

I've been called an Old Testament Christian before, so it's not likely a surprise that I would like this book. But Ellen Davis does something special and unexpected here, because I don't agree with her on a number of points. Still, this book gave me a view of a facet of the diamond that is the Gospel that, frankly, I'd never seen.

The book is divided into five sections: the Psalms, Love, Wisdom, Disciplines of the Heart and Ecotheology.

Here are some things th
River Lewis
Jul 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
Isn't it amazing what can get published?
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: old-testament
Exceptional!!!!! One of the best books I have ever read. I am changed, moved, challenged...will be returning to this work often.
Circle of Hope Pastors
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great way to do what the title suggests. Not an exhaustive reading of everything in the Old Testament, rather a series of highlights that uncover enough for us to see what we might have missed at first glance. Ellen Davis applies her biblical scholarship to stories that inspire in new ways with just a little bit more information. Her insights on Job were especially revelatory. -Ben
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 stars, not because I agreed 100% with it all but because it was a book that caused me to think deeply and to re-examine how I read the Bible. And I love books that do that! Loved how the author emphasizes “slow reading” and how she brings out so much from the original text - made me wish I had paid more attention in my Hebrew modules when I studied theology! Also, I have come across very few books that address those “tricky” passages in scripture.

I am particularly interested in reading more ab
Ben Crosby
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it
A good book and a convicting call for Christians to engage more seriously with the Old Testament. Davis' chapters on the Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes are especially excellent. The section on eco-theology gave me a substantially deeper appreciation for a type of theologizing about which I am often rather skeptical. I do, however, have some real reservations about her willingness to talk about God being vulnerable, God being open to pain, God needing reassurance from his human partners in co ...more
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Davis provides a thoughtful, accessible, and engaging discussion of the the Old Testament focusing on specific chapters and verses. I particularly loved the chapters on The Psalms of Lament and the Psalms of Praise. I wish there was more discussion of relevance and application to today but overall a great read.
Jeromie Rand
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a purely theological work, I find this book lacking. There are times when Davis' language about God goes too far in, it seems to me, an attempt to shake us from our normal patterns of thought. But that weakness is also the strength of the book: Davis invites the reader to ponder old passages of scripture anew and to see an invitation throughout the Old Testament to deep intimacy with God.
John Angerer
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was not what I was expecting. It turns out to be an externally accessible treatment of Old Testament Theology with the modern day dilemma of life. Ellen Davis has a natural and easy flow of writing. She addresses many topics relevant to today and casts the OT into a new, more reachable light. I plan to use this book in my parish for a Lenten study in 2019.
Kate Meyrick
Ellen's prose is beautiful. I found this was an extraordinary guide while I read the the OT and continue to study it throughout my life.
Linda Owen
Aug 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Heavy duty Biblical study. Not a quick read; needs meditative/contemplative work.
Sep 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religious
A beautifully written and thought provoking look at the parts of the Old Testament that make many modern readers most uncomfortable. Davis shows us how those very passages that make us cringe for the people involved are meant to demonstrate the breadth of God's love and encourage us to break down our own walls that prevent us from honesty with God and one another. She concludes with a very brief section on ecology that was equally insightful and convicting. I'll be teaching this one in Sunday Sc ...more
Feb 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Getting Involved with God: Rediscovering the Old Testament is a series of essays and sermons that takes a look at the Old Testament with a critical lens, all the while finding the good news of how God wants to be involved with us through the stories, poems and wisdom it shares.

I was assigned this book for my Old Testament 101 class in seminary and didn't read it. With 500+ pages per week (!) that we had to read in another book (plus the readings for other classes), I simply did not have time. M
Dec 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Ms Davis' book is a true treasure! She opens with a rich discussion of the Psalms, beginning with the seldom-used psalms of lament (yes, she really starts there), seeking to show the breadth of conversation God desires with us. For, as she continues, God's love for us expects, demands, anticipates full candor. If you don't believe that, then her chapter on the Song of Songs is for you. My favorite of all the discussions is that of the Book of Job. Ms Davis shows a side of Job that I've never con ...more
Ann Foust
Jul 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was a spur of the moment purchase; I think the title caught my attention. It took me a while to get through it, though, because I didn't find it to be a book I could read a few pages, put it aside for a few days and then come back to it. It is a very thoughtful treatment of the Old Testament, and I found the writing scholarly yet accessible to a non-scholar like me. I especially liked her chapter on the book of Job. I didn't know that Job, after the tragic loss of his first family, nam ...more
Sep 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
Beautiful. Insightful. Thought-provoking.

I feel like I should buy a copy and give it as a gift to someone (I read a library copy) but there are too many people I want to give it to! I copied so many quotes out into my journal.

Here is one of my favorite quotes:
"What we must face is the fact that God's vulnerability to sin is total, even unto death on a cross. That is what it means to say that God is love. For every human lover knows that the downside of love is vulnerability to pain. Therefore
Nov 16, 2015 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Lydia by: Lauren F. Winner
Shelves: to-read-spirtual
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ellen F. Davis' "Getting Involved with God: Rediscovering the Old Testament," published in 2001, was a good read covering the Psalms and wisdom literature, some significant stories about the cost of love (the binding of Isaac, chapter 6, is worth the purchase of the book alone), Old Testament habits of the heart (e.g. lamenting in Psalm 51), and a theology of ecology (yep the Old Testament has something to say about that). I highly recommend this book.
Leigh Kramer
Apr 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
I usually stay far away from theology books but I'm glad we read this one for The Red Couch (SheLoves Magazine's book club). Every time I sat down to read Ellen Davis’s words, I walked away with a new insight. It’s accessible, it’s fresh, it’s compelling. Anyone who advocates for the cursing psalms and makes space for lament is fine by me. Her take on Song of Songs made me sit up straight. It turns out she's my kind of theologian.
Alison Kuhlman
Wow. Davis did an amazing job bringing life and understanding into the Old Testament. This was definitely a slow read book only because it was so full of insight and new ideas for me as someone who tends to stick to the New Testament. It helped greatly to bridge the Old Testament New Testament God gap. Will definitely be keeping it close to reference and retread. Simply lovely.
Mar 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
I LOVED this book. E. Davis writes about several books in the Old testament with unique perspectives and an evident love for God and His word. It was refreshing to read a current author who did not try and fit her writing in the mold to "catch" the reader, but was more interested in uncovering some gold truths from the Old Testament.
Dec 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Davis rightly calls us to a deeper understanding of our relationship to the earth and its non-human inhabitants as a reflection of our relationship to God and His Law. Furthermore, she provides a moving picture of God's interactions with various figures in the Bible and the intimacy of relationship with God which the prophets call us toward.
Nov 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, church
Excellent. I really enjoyed the author's approach to the Old Testament, and her chapters about different sections were both reflective and insightful--she often explained the meaning of Hebrew words in her exegesis. Her emphasis on the relational and "real-life" aspects of Old Testament Scripture made it a refreshing read.
Keith Wilson
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Davis' fresh interpretations of segments of the Hebrew Bible really bring those stories to life (or re-birth) I especially liked the chapter on Job and will never be able to look at the natural world the same way again.
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: old-testament
A lot of information in this book was really confusing. I need to read more of the Old Testament. However, this book gave me new insight of Old Testament books I have read. Reading this book taught me that there is so much to learn about Scripture and God.
Jul 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Ellen Davis does a marvellous job of examining the Old Testament in a way that is scholarly and intelligent while also being accessible and applicable. I frequently return to it for insight and inspiration.
Apr 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is a lovely, lyrical weave of Dr. Davis' teaching and preaching styles. Read it to be challenged, encouraged, and gain a deeper appreciation for the Old Testament and some of the most difficult passages within it.
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“The sufferer who keeps looking for God has, in the end, privileged knowledge. ... She passes through a door that only pain will open, and is thus qualified to speak of God in a way that others, whom we generally call more fortunate, cannot speak. (pg. 122)” 3 likes
“For us the true measure of our wisdom will never be the grade point average we covet, a degree or rank, the right job, the book accepted by a prestigious press. No, we will be wise when we desire with heart, soul, mind, and strength only the things that God also desires for us--and nothing else compels us, or ever catches our wandering eye. (pg. 151)” 2 likes
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