The Better Covenant ~ Ron Bailey<br />Book Review / SummaryThe Better Covenant by Ron Bailey is a recently published book [2012] on the topic of New Covenant salvation. It could just as easily be entitled “The New Covenant” or “The Two Covenants” or possibly even “Three Covenants”! It makes some brief mention of other Bible covenants and then focuses most specifically on God’s covenant with Abraham, the Mosaic Covenant, and, unsurprisingly, is always moving toward the goal of “unlocking the treasures” of the “New”, or ‘Better’, “Covenant”, of which we may be a part today.

There’s a good deal of background information on the Old Covenant and also on extra-biblical Jewish practices/traditions. The information about converting to Judaism is particularly useful in helping our understanding of Jewish concepts of ‘new birth’. Following baptism (and other ceremonious acts) a proselyte was considered to be ‘born again’! This sort of information was really helpful in gaining further insight into Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus and the Jewish mindset on this topic. I also particularly appreciated the imagery Ron Bailey uses with respect to the tabernacle – being likened to the dwelling place of a desert chieftain!

It has been said that “we read to know that we are not alone.” In relation to my own experiences I deeply appreciated reading some of the comments in the latter portions of The Better Covenant regarding the subject of being ‘born again’. Ron Bailey talks of the “wind blowing where it wills…” (John 3 etc.) and how that there is no formula that guarantees the new birth experience – it is in the hands of God alone. Ron acknowledges that this truth can even be the cause of some frustration at times. I can very much identify with this. The natural man in us might think, “wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could in every case discern who is, and who isn’t, truly born of God!” And when a seeking soul says, “I want to be born again,” wouldn’t it be marvellous if we could just say, “Do this and then do that and so long as you truly mean it you will be born again!” Alas, this is not how it works and the author gently addresses such formulaic approaches in evangelicalism and evangelism.

The structure of the book is extremely accommodating. Chapters are short with plenty of sub-headings and a short summation at the end of every section to remind the reader what he has just read. There are fairly numerous Greek language references/explanations which are made relatively easy to follow and are well worthy of our time and attention.

Who then should read this book? I don’t know what Ron Bailey would say but I would say it is not for a brand new believer as it contains a considerably large portion of ‘meat’. However, Ron Bailey has done an excellent job of making this supremely important truth digestible to any serious minded Believer who has a desire for deeper insight and clarity on this topic. It is an average size paperback (also available for Kindle) which, by my reckoning, should be read right through once and then studied afterwards. So many, even long-standing Believers, just do not know which covenant they are living in. This book can most definitely help with that problem. And if you do already know which covenant you are living in, you will find this book a great joy, confirmation and solace. I very highly recommend the Better Covenant to all established Christians.

NOTE: For the benefit of regular visitors to this website (in view of its emphasis on New Testament Church practices in some parts) I would just point out that The Better Covenant only extends its scope as far as ‘individually’ living in the New Covenant; it does not expand into the realms of how the ‘Better Covenant’ affects God’s New Covenant people corporately – i.e. this is not a book about The New Covenant Church.

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