Longman, God Is a Warrior: Coming to Terms with Divine Violence in the Old Testament

Lecture Listening Guides

by David  Capes

Lecturer: Tremper Longman

Title: “God Is a Warrior: Coming to Terms with Divine Violence in the Old Testament”

Date: 09/16/2017

Prepared by Dr. John Beukema


  1. Where is the first place God is explicitly called a warrior in the Old Testament?
  2. If 49 of the 150 Psalms are written in the context of actual warfare, what is the danger of spiritualizing them?
  3. Why is it significant that only two Old Testament books do not speak of God as a warrior?
  4. Of the two evangelical approaches (Boyd and Copan) to explaining away God as warrior, why does Longman view Boyd’s as most troubling?
  5. Longman lists several problems with Boyd’s approach. Which one seems to be the most significant and why?
  6. What can be lost when the divine violence passages are read in as positive a light as possible?
  7. While the theme of God as warrior is pervasive in Old Testament, where does it also appear in the New Testament?
  8. What is the nature of Herem warfare according to Deuteronomy 20?
  9. How was God’s special presence made known on the battlefield, and what impact does that have on the troops and weaponry needed?
  10. In what way does David’s speech to Goliath reflect what Longman calls “Warrior Theology”?
  11. What are the five phases of a warfare theology that unfold from Genesis to Revelation?
  12. What is the purpose of divine violence against the people of God?
  13. How does the depiction of Christ in Revelation 19:11ff reflect Old Testament micro-allusions and quotations of YHWH as warrior?
  14. What is the one coherent story of God’s battle and ultimate victory against evil?
  15. How can Old Testament violence be a preview of end-time ethics when the wicked are punished and justice is carried out?
  16. How is it possible for the wrath of God to be a legitimate tool for evangelism?
  17. When is the use of violence sinful in defense of the church or the interests of the gospel?
  18. According to Longman, how can we discern whether a natural disaster is divine judgement?
  19. How is divine violence any different than Islamic jihad?
  20. When does Longman feel it could be appropriate for a Christian to pray in an imprecatory manner?