Tag Archive for 'Old Testament'

Paul and the Importance of the Old Testament

Peter at Beauty of the Bible laments the fact that he went to a Christian book store and didn’t find any commentary on the Old Testament. Peter says, “I think this is evidence of the sad state of Christianity’s understanding and interest in the Old Testament. Unfortunately, Christians will never understand the New Testament as well as they want or need to without understanding the Old Testament.”

I always think of Romans 15:4 regarding how important Paul thought the OT is.

Romans 15:2-4
We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. 3For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.” 4Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

Obviously Paul was talking about what we call the Old Testament. Even the Gospels most likely weren’t written until after Romans. There’s no way we can know what he’s talking about or receive teaching, hope and encouragement from them if we don’t know the OT. If the OT wasn’t useful, it wouldn’t have been quoted so much by Jesus and the inspired NT writers.

Related post:

Old Testament Education

I’m now going through Revelation (and enjoying it a lot). I love reading commentaries and have gone from Romans through Revelation having done a lot of reading about Jesus from the historical perspective and also books pertaining to the Gospels.

After Revelation I would like to alternately read a commentary on an OT book with a Gospel and then Acts.

Regarding the OT I’d like to mention what I have and plan on reading. It’s the order of things that I’d like to ask you fine folks about.

I have von Rad’s Old Testament Theology, Creation and Blessing–a commentary/exposition of Genesis, Eaton’s commentary on Ecclesiastes, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Stuart and Fee (which I’ve read once) and The Symphony of Scripture by Mark Strom. Starting next year or earlier I plan on reading through the whole OT. I would also like to buy a commentary on Isaiah and possibly Daniel, the latter just because I like him. I also have the ESV and NLT study Bibles.

Since suffering is a subject of interest, I’ve done a lot of reading on Job and feel I have a relatively good handle on that one.

Given all that, what order would you read these materials? Should I read von Rad’s work first? If so, the whole thing or piece-meal? Something more basic on themes like The Symphony of Scripture? Should I read through the OT first? How would you go about it?

Wordle’s of OT Prayers

Last week I reviewed a book called Great Prayers of the Old Testament. Here are Wordles of the prayers in case they may interest you.

Abraham – Genesis 18:22-33
Wordle: Abraham Prayer

Moses – Numbers 14:13-23
Wordle: Moses

Hannah – 1 Samuel 2:1-10
Wordle: Hannah

David – 2 Samuel 7:18-29
Wordle: David

Solomon – 1 Kings 3:5-14
Wordle: Solomon

Jonah – Jonah 2:2-9
Wordle: Jonah

Jeremiah – Jeremiah 32:16-25
Wordle: Jeremiah

Hezekiah – 2 Kings 19:15-19
Wordle: Hezekiah

Ezra – Ezra 9:6-15
Wordle: Ezra

Nehemiah – Nehemiah 1:4-11
Wordle: Nehemiah

Daniel – Daniel 9:3-19
Wordle: Daniel

Job – Job 42:1-6
Wordle: Job

Jeremiah 29:11

I write this post with fear and trembling. This verse is a favorite for a lot of people and I have had it memorized for many years.

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

But looking at it in the context of the whole paragraph puts it in a new light.

Jeremiah 29:10-14 NIV
This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD , “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD , “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

God is speaking here to Jeremiah regarding Israel. I don’t know if this necessarily means the premise is invalid but I think there is other Scripture that may be more appropriate like Habakkuk 3:17-19, Matthew 6:33-34, Romans 8:28, Romans 15:13 etc. We need to “be prepared to endure everything with patience while joyfully giving thanks to the Father who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light” which may be subject matter for a future post. (Colossians 1:11-12)

During my hesitation to post this I came across this review of The Purpose Driven Life which gives further perspective. I try to stay away from direct criticism of others on this blog because I want to stick to Scripture and because there are a ton of other blogs for that stuff. But I think this quote is beneficial.

‘First we will examine promises Warren says apply to all Christians. One clear example of this is Jeremiah 29:11 which he uses multiple times in the book. On page 31 we read “Wonderful changes are going to happen in your life as you begin to live it on purpose. God says “I know what I am planning for you…’I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future’.” When read in context we see that this verse is not written to apply to all Christians. It is a promise given specifically to the Israelite exiles. By Warren’s logic Jeremiah 44:27 should also apply to all Christians. It reads, “I am watching over them for harm and not for good, and all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt will meet their end by the word and by famine until they are completely gone.” A pastor once told me “that verse wouldn’t sell as many plaques at the Christian book stores.”’

http://www.discerningreader.com/review/the-purpose-driven-life/

Also see:
What Jeremiah 29:11 Is Not About

Affiliate link:

jeremiah by kidner

Christians and the Old Testament Law

I don’t have time or content for a post today so I will suggest a series that will be starting at Pulpit Magazine that I’m very eager to read over the next two weeks:
You, Me, and Moses
The NT Christian’s Relationship to the OT Law

Awesome!

Unfortunately, we’ve lost the true meaning of the word awesome, at least in the USA. (How about you in other countries?)

Awesome

Dictionary.com

1. inspiring awe: an awesome sight.

2. showing or characterized by awe.

3. Slang. very impressive: That new white convertible is totally awesome.

American Heritage Dictionary

1. Inspiring awe: an awesome thunderstorm.

2. Expressing awe: stood in awesome silence before the ancient ruins.

3. Slang Remarkable; outstanding: “a totally awesome arcade game” (Los Angeles Times).

I think these slang terms are even outdated. Anything anyone likes or thinks is cool can be labeled as awesome.

Awe

Dictionary.com

1. an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like: in awe of God; in awe of great political figures.

American Heritage Dictionary

1. A mixed emotion of reverence, respect, dread, and wonder inspired by authority, genius, great beauty, sublimity, or might: We felt awe when contemplating the works of Bach. The observers were in awe of the destructive power of the new weapon.

WordNet

1. an overwhelming feeling of wonder or admiration; “he stared over the edge with a feeling of awe”

2. a feeling of profound respect for someone or something; “the fear of God”

Exodus 15:11 “Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?

Psalms 66:3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.

Isaiah 64:3 When you did awesome things that we did not look for, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.

Joel 2:31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.

We younger people sing in church “Our God is an Awesome God” or other songs and hymns mentioning the word, I wonder if they’re thinking that God is really cool or a great guy.

I have to wonder if Bible translators will feel a need to find another word for awesome to describe God.

Somewhat related to that, I think the church in general has lost the “fear of God” or awe of God in the classic sense. Mabye a future post on that.

Knowing Scripture

Romans

Paul quotes the Old Testament more in Romans that in any of his other letters.

Two things come to mind:

1) The Old Testament is important to Paul and should be important to us. He says in Romans 15:4 “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.” This was written before there was a New Testament but after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah. Jesus says in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”

2) Paul knew the Old Testament. Paul most likely wrote Romans when he was in Corinth so it wasn’t one of the prison letters (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon). At that time he may have had his books and parchments and may not have had to quote everything from memory. But at the time he wouldn’t have had a concordance or a computer to search for the Scripture he wanted to quote. He knew it well enough to find everything he needed and I would guess he had much of it memorized.

While writing the prison letters he may not have had anything written down and have in fact have to have quoted from memory. 2 Timothy 4:13, “When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.”

I believe a large part of knowing Scripture is memorizing Scripture. In case you need Scripture to support that, here are a few:

  • Joshua 1:8
  • Psalm 1:2
  • Psalm 119:11
  • Proverbs 7:1
  • Romans 15:4
  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17
  • James 1:25