Megan's Ponderings

Contemplations from a Blessed Life

Book Review: The World of Jesus

The World of Jesus, written by Dr. William H. Marty, is an insightful look into the intertestamental period between the Old and New Testament. Dr. Marty uncovers the events of this silent period in a way that is easy to read yet intellectually stimulating for any Bible scholar. He discusses each of the following periods: Persian, Greek, Maccabean, Hasmonean, Roman, and the Early Church and Herodians. Dr. Marty also includes the impact each period had on the Jewish people and the struggles they encountered. For a deeper individual study or study with a group, discussion questions are included at the end of each chapter, and a helpful glossary can be found at the back of the book.

I found this book fascinating. Although I went to a Christian college and participate in Bible studies on a regular basis, I haven’t learned much about the intertestamental period. As I was reading, I discovered the reasoning behind many events found in the New Testament. For example, I was very interested in the hierarchy of leadership between foreign leaders and the Jewish people, especially the role of high priest. Many rulers tried to use the position of high priest in their quest for political gain, using their allies to assume that role.

One word that came to mind as I read was seeking. The Jewish people had been under so many foreign rulers that their hearts were starting to doubt God’s promise to send a Messiah. They were searching for anyone who would relieve them from the oppression they had experienced under foreign rulers. Unfortunately, they weren’t looking for the right person. Dr. Marty says, “Instead of looking for a Savior who would save them from their sins, they longed for a king who would lead them into triumphant vengeance over the Romans and establish a political kingdom.” (pg. 160)

If you enjoy Bible history, this book is for you. It’s also a great read for any individual or small group wanting to understand what happened between the Old and New Testaments and how those events impacted the life and times of Christ and beyond.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book for review purposes from Bethany House. For more information about this book or any other book written by Dr. William H. Marty, visit


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