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We Still Need Sinai: An interview with Carmen Joy Imes

Carmen Joy Imes (PhD, Wheaton) is associate professor of Old Testament and program coordinator for Bible and Theology at Prairie College in Alberta, Canada. Today her book Bearing God’s Name: Why Sinai Still Matters releases from IVP. Here we talk about her work.

Welcome! So let’s dive right in. Why did you write this book?

The church today desperately needs to understand what to do with the Old Testament (OT). We vacillate between two extremes—either neglecting the OT entirely or fixating on it in unhelpful ways. With my book I’m trying to address the need for Christians to recover the OT and read it well.

What’s the big idea you want to get across?

We cannot fully understand our vocation as Christians without understanding what happened at Sinai. We tend to think of the OT law as a negative thing that didn’t work, but if we read it in context, we discover what a gift it was for the Israelites. The law was not their means of salvation, but rather defined the parameters of a life of freedom meant to demonstrate God’s character to a watching world. At Sinai, Israel learned what it looked like to bear God’s name among the nations. By placing our faith in Jesus, we become part of the people who bear God’s name. Sinai tutors us in what matters to God and prompts us to consider how we can bring him honor in our cultural context.

Who is this book for?

Bearing God’s Name is for everyone. For individual readers as well as small church groups. It’s also suitable as supplementary reading for undergraduates or seminary students. Each chapter includes discussion questions, suggested Bible passages to read, and QR codes that link to videos from The Bible Project. I’ve already heard from a wide range of readers—from teenagers to seminary professors—who say that they thoroughly enjoyed reading it and found it helpful.

Have you had any surprises in the process of producing this book?

Yes! So many. First, it was the easiest writing project I have ever attempted. I wrote it in one summer, and the words just flowed out of me. It was an absolute joy to write. Second, I expected that non-scholars would appreciate it, but I didn’t anticipate the glowing reception from academics. Watching the sales stats on my Amazon author page is my new hobby. Third, so many doors are opening to talk about these concepts with audiences around North America. I’m thrilled to have a small part in reigniting people’s passion for the Scriptures.

Where can people buy your book, and in what formats?

It’s available directly from InterVarsity Press ( or on Amazon in Kindle and paperback. Christian Audio is also producing an audiobook.

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