Reading through the Hebrew Bible takes time and effort and sometimes results in frustration.
"People start reading the Old Testament and have intentions of reading it through but get lost in it somewhere," said Thomas B. Lane, a former adjunct religion professor.
To help people of three major faiths get a grasp on what the Old Testament is all about, Lane has written "Reading and Understanding the Old Testament: The Foundation of Judaism, Christianity and Islam."
Thomas B. Lane, formerly of Altoona, has written a book on the Old Testament.
Lane, who taught Scripture and theology for more than 30 years at St. Francis University, Penn State Altoona, Mount Aloysius College and Northeastern Christian College, wrote the book to give people insight into the content of the Old Testament books.
He said all three faiths' spiritual histories can be traced to it.
"Their foundation or understanding of God comes from the Old Testament," Lane said.
The three faiths consider "who is God, who am I, what relationship does God want me to have with him and others and with the Earth," he said.
"All three groups have similar virtues and values," he said, "and the vision for the people is pretty similar."
He said Christianity has its roots in the Old Testament and that Christ, who was a Jew, would refer to the Old Testament Scripture and redefine it. The New Testament developed from Christ's teachings.
Lane said in Judaism, the Talmud helped the Jews to develop their religion and to reinterpret the Old Testament as civilization moved forward.
For the Muslims, the Quran is the final revelation from God, but it, too, reinterprets the Old Testament, Lane said.
He said what brought about the different directions that the faiths take is explained in the book.
The book is not an overview of the Hebrew Scriptures but a chapter-by-chapter examination of the writer's intent. He uses verses of Scripture to explain their meaning in ancient times and today.
He said it is about 600 pages and took him three years to write.
"It applies scholarship in practical ways," Lane said. "It doesn't contain scholarly jargon."
He said to make sure the chapters were readable he had his wife go through them.
Lane said he could have marketed the book as a textbook for college students, but he believes it is helpful to anyone who wants to gain an better understanding of the Hebrew Bible.
"It would be excellent for groups wanting to study the different books of the Old Testament," he said.
"The introduction explains different ways it can be used in group Bible study," Lane said.
The book retails for $28.95 and is available from Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com.
He said he is working on a second book about reading and understanding the gospels and may to do a third one on the epistles of the New Testament.
Originally from Altoona, Lane retired to Florida 14 years ago. He also taught at Bishop Guilfoyle High School.
He earned a Doctor in Ministry degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and a doctorate in religious studies and counseling psychology at Clayton University.