Dr. Mark Rooker, professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina has recently come out with his fifth book: The Ten Commandments: Ethics for the Twenty-First Century. Dr. Rooker holds degrees from Rice University (B.A.), Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M.), and Brandeis University (M.A., Ph.D.) with additional studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has authored dozens of articles for books, journals, and dictionaries, as well as translation work for two English Bible translations.
Dr. Rooker has graciously agreed to the following interview concerning his book The Ten Commandments: Ethics for the Twenty-First Century.
How did the Ten Commandments: Ethics for the Twenty-First Century come about?
A few years ago, Broadman & Holman had a luncheon in the Raleigh area and announced the launching of a new series called the New American Commentary Studies in Bible and Theology. The next day I met with a representative of Broadman & Holman and the subject of the Ten Commandments was discussed. This was the beginning of my research for the book.
My special interest in studying the Ten Commandments for myself began during my doctoral studies at Brandeis University where I took a course on the book of Exodus taught by the late Nahum Sarna. Dr. Sarna was a Jewish scholar and a former British citizen and was interested not only in uncovering the meaning of the biblical laws but also how Old Testament biblical laws were the foundation for European law.
I continued to study the Ten Commandments as I taught courses on the book of Exodus at Dallas Seminary, Criswell College, Moscow Theological Seminary, and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Why did you write the book?
I wrote the book to examine each of the Ten Commandments in their Old and New Testament contexts and explore how they are relevant for today.
What is the main thesis of the book?
The Ten Commandments apply to the contemporary Christian life as they are important for biblical ethics and part of what is involved in the process of sanctification.
Who should read the book?
People interested in biblical ethics and those teachers who want to address our culture about the ethics and morals of the Bible.
What do you hope to accomplish through this book?
That people see the relevance of the Ten Commandments for personal ethics and appreciate the fact that the Ten Commandments are foundational for the laws of Western Civilization.