Book Review of The Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic?

Michael Rydelnik, The Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic? by Michael Rydelnik

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: B & H Academic, 2010
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-0805446548

The Messianic Hope is in the NAC Studies in Bible and Theology series, which includes titles by Tom Schreiner, James Hamilton, and others. Rydelnik is irenic but concerned about the widespread “shift in evangelical scholarship away from reading the Bible as a messianic text” on the basis of dubious presuppositions and less than compelling hermeneutics.

His central argument is that the OT, when read text-critically, innerbiblically, and canonically, was written to be read as an eschatological text saturated with Messianic anticipation. He works systematically, exegetically, and contextually through multiple key passages that were almost universally held to be Messianic prior to the 20th century. The book also includes chapters devoted to extended treatments of Messianic super-texts (Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; Psalm 110), and concludes with an interesting and inspiring slice of personal history.

The writing is clear, the arguments cogent. While one may not agree with every interpretational detail, Rydelnik’s conclusions are thoughtful, compelling, and a breath of fresh air in an atmosphere of scholarly cynicism about anything traditional.

Personal Note About the Author: My interest in Rydelnik began when I met him unexpectedly on a flight to Israel in May 2011. He was friendly and delighted to discover that our group was from BJU. Dr. Rydelnik—professor of Jewish Studies at Moody Bible Institute—has a fascinating personal history. He grew up in an orthodox Jewish home, his parents both Holocaust survivors. When he was a teen, his mother revealed a shocking secret: she confessed that she had actually been a believer in Jesus ever since she was 13. The announcement enraged her husband, who eventually divorced her, as well as her son (Michael) who now had to live with this traitor to the Jewish faith. He set himself the task of proving to his mother that Jesus could not possibly the Messiah and, in the process, became a convinced believer in Christ.

Reviewed by: Layton Talbert, Ph.D., Professor of Theology in BJU Seminary.

This book is available at


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