Monday, April 17, 2006

The Resurrection & Reading the OT

According to Luke, one of the things Jesus stressed to his disciples immediately after his resurrection was how to read the OT:

"Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures." (Luke 24:27)

"Now He said to them, 'These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.' 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, 'Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.'" (Luke 24:44-48)

In these two passages, Jesus makes it clear that if his disciples are to read the OT correctly, they must read it with a view to his suffering/resurrection and the proclamation of that message to the ends of the earth. In other words, if we read the OT without attempting to understand how that particular passage in some fashion points forward to Christ and the gospel, we are not reading the OT in the way that Jesus commands us to. I would call this a "gospel-centered hermeneutic." Only in the light of Jesus' death/resurrection and the proclamation of that event do we have the hermeneutical key for reading the OT in all its fullness.

5 comments:

Josh said...

Matt,
I saw a link to your blog at Justin Taylors, so I thought I ought to check it out.

Thanks for devoting this site to biblical theology. I look forward to your thoughts and would love to read your dissertation on Paul's Use of Isaiah in Galatians. We are about to finish preaching through the letter in our church and would love see some of what we might have missed.

Matt Harmon said...

Thanks for stopping by, Josh. I stopped by your own blog and was intrigued by your series of posts on covenant and worship that I hope to check out as time permits.

As for the dissertation, I'm in the post-defense revision stage but hope to get an article out on the importance of the quote from Isa 54:1 in Gal 4:27 for the whole argument of Gal 3-4 sometime in the next few months, Lord willing.

james said...

Very good insights. Certainly the New Testament provides the key to a proper and meaningful exegesis of the OT. Apart from connecting the OT to the NT in this way we fall short of realizing all that God has accomplished in the history of man and redemption.

I look forward to reading more of your writings!

Scott said...

Hear! Hear!

This practice was long done by Protestants. You can read the Fathers, Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, Ridley, Matthew Henry, other British evangelicals and American Protestants and find this hermeneutic in play. It wasn't always perfect, but it was commonly undertaken. I'm often appalled at "flat" readings of texts that result in moralism, generalizations about God without thinking about how the Gospel must inform our reading of the WHOLE Bible.

One of the better arguments in favor of the centrality of the Gospel in interpretation is Peter Jensen's The Revelation of God. Not as strong as other works, but very readable.

Yingrou said...

Hi Matt,

I wandered onto your blog from the web, and I'm quite interested in what you've written so far.

I've a question about connecting the OT to the NT. Although I do agree that the OT is connected to Christ, for instance, the institution of the sacrifices in Israel's worship; is it possible to interpret every single passage in the OT as pointing towards Christ? For example, how is it possible to interpret the deep friendship between Jonathan and David in the light of Christ?