How do we view and apply the OT to us Now?

Discussion in 'Exegetical Forum' started by Dachaser, Mar 12, 2018.

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  1. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    I know that we are now under the New Covenant of Grace, and that all of the scriptures were inspired by God, but how do we apply all of Scripture, especially the OT, towards us now?
  2. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
    24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
    24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

    For starters, and following our Lord's direction and example, we ought to study all of Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, to learn the things concerning him.

    As we learn from this study about our condition (how we got to where we are) and as we learn about what God has done and is doing (throughout history toward redemption), we ought to glorify God in Christ, and seek to be conformed to him in all our practice.
  3. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    The question, which I am by no means qualified to answer, brings to mind the quotation ; 'The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed. The New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.' I don't know who to attribute that to, or where I read it, but it sounds 'right' to me.
  4. kainos01

    kainos01 Puritan Board Senior

    David, I will just say that I am pleased to see you asking this question! From your posts, I know that you are in the midst of your own journey out of a broadly evangelical, Dispensational background (I've been there!). May your studies in this area strengthen your understanding of the Reformed faith.
  5. LilyG

    LilyG Puritan Board Freshman

    I am just fascinated right now (can't get enough of it!) with christocentricity permeating every page of the OT. Something that was greatly missing in my upbringing.
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  6. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    I have been almost exclusively in the OT for the past year-and-a-half, except for detailed teaching through the Gospel of Luke. Just today I began reading (not studying) the NT in Matthew. I'll be there for several months. I love the OT. I sorrow at their failures and rejoice at their victories, and I sing with David. The OT is at least three times bigger than the NT, so I suggest that we should spend three times as much time there. Remember, the OT was the Bible for Jesus, the Apostles and the early Christians. I just plain love it with all my heart.
  7. iainduguid

    iainduguid Puritan Board Sophomore

    You might find my little booklet Is Jesus in the Old Testament?, published by P&R, helpful.

  8. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    The same way Jesus, Paul, and Peter did.
  9. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Yes! David, your question deserves a more thorough answer than any of us can give in this forum. Dr. Duguid's little book covers the basics of what it means to read the Old Testament with Jesus in view. The booklet is inexpensive, and short enough to read in one sitting. Highly recommended.
  10. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    Are you asking specifically of the threefold division of the law?
  11. Cymro

    Cymro Puritan Board Junior

    I recall someone saying how Psalm 22, Ps40, Ps45 etc,were obviously Messianic for Christ is found in them. And an older wise Minister answered,” where is He not to be found in the psalter, for they all speak of Him.” The Jews and the disciples only had the OT scriptures, and the Lord told them, search the scriptures, for they testify of me. The pearl of greatest price is found throughout the OT revelation, and often the discovery throws light on the NT. And this connection, unity and harmony of the testaments concerning Christ, gives great confirmation and assurance as to the integrity and infallibility of the Bible. As LilyG points out, the discovery that the OT is Christocentric brought light and joy to her soul. That’s the application.
  12. Gforce9

    Gforce9 Puritan Board Junior

    This will be an indispensable part of it, certainly .
  13. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    More along the lines of how to apply the OT to us now under the New Covenant, is it by seeing how God worked out His salvation plan throughout History, and to take more like scripture principles form then to apply today?
  14. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    That answer seems to be about the same as when the Bible states to us that all of the OT was written to be examples to us now how we ought to live and obey the principles of God.
  15. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    Thank you, and am really trying to sort out what OT passages directly apply to us today under the New Covenant, and what would be seen more as being historical information plotting the plan of salvation to the NT times.
    While under strict Dispensational teaching, we would give the OT acknowledgement, but seemed to be pretty much all NT in study and application.
  16. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    I will get that booklet, and read through and apply it.
  17. LilyG

    LilyG Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't understand that conclusion. I take it you need to read that book.

  18. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    I was just referring to 1 Corinthians 10:11 here.
  19. LilyG

    LilyG Puritan Board Freshman

    I just mean to say your response was not "the same." "'The OT is the NT concealed' is the same as 'the OT is law, NT is gospel'" ...makes no sense.

    Find a good commentary. The indicative/imperative design of the letters (even in that very chapter!) to the antinomian Corinthians should be quite clear.

    Context, context.
  20. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    I was just suggesting that we do indeed still heed and apply the principles from the OT to us today, but not everything written down in there direct applies to us today either.
  21. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    David, this issue is one of the most important questions to ask today, because Christians everywhere don't know the answer to it, and thereby ignore the Old Testament almost entirely. Some of them may think, "Oh I still have to remember the Ten Commandments," and also, "Well, it might be important to know about the beginning of it all in Genesis 1-11," and "I like the Psalms," and others, "I like the practicality of Proverbs," but the rest of the Old Testament is a closed book. I know someone who is actually a rather mature Christian in many ways who said that he didn't like Ezekiel because it was dry and boring. I wanted to ask him, "If you think Ezekiel is boring, what would be interesting?" Ezekiel is probably the wildest and wackiest book of the entire Old Testament. Functional Marcionism is the rule of the day in today's Christianity, precisely because of this issue of not understanding the Old Testament.

    The first rule of the proper application of any text is that we must come to the best understanding of a passage that we can first. I well remember once leading a Bible study, and I started to get into the meaning of the passage, and someone stopped me and said, "Don't you think we should be focusing on how to apply the passage?" My response was, "We do need to get there, but if we don't understand the passage properly first, then we might misapply the message through distortion."

    Jesus tells us in John 5 and Luke 24 that the entire Old Testament is about him. This doesn't mean that every small detail is a type of Christ somehow. It means that the entire story is headed to Jesus Christ and points to him, one way or another. The proper application must take this fact into account. It doesn't mean that if it points to Christ that therefore it doesn't apply to us. Rather, it applies to us precisely because it applies to Christ (he bridges the gap between the Old Testament and us), and the church of which we are a part is the body of Christ. So, yes, some things will have a different kind of application to us today. Everything in the OT is applicable to us, because it is the story of God's people, and we are God's people. But, for instance, we would not apply the conquest narratives in quite the same way as they applied to Joshua's generation. We are not to take up the physical sword and eradicate all the idol-worshipers by killing them off. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 that our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the principalities and powers of this present evil age. In other words, holy war now applies in the spiritual realm against Satan and his gang of demons. But it is important to point out two things: 1. Jesus is in the Old Testament, and is not eisegeted into the text by the New Testament; 2. There are no "dead end" passages in the Old Testament that fail to point to Christ. It is all part of the grand narrative that culminates in Christ. The line of application therefore looks something like this: original text of the OT -> Jesus Christ -> church -> believer.
  22. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    I am not trying to apply everything said and done in the OT to myself, but do see how we can apply the principles behind some of those actions God did for those in the OT.
    For example, God never promised to make me a Joshua and lead His people, but iF I read and heed the scriptures, he will lead and guide me, same promise he made to David in Psalms.
  23. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Sophomore

    This is kind of a massive question. Probably need to ask with more specifics.
  24. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    How do we separate what was addressed to just the persons of that time in history as being valid, and what was to be applied towards all peoples for all times?
  25. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    It seems you are looking for a nice 10-point checklist that will solve all the problems. I wish one existed, too. ;)

    Instead we need to rely upon proper grammatico-historical exegetical methods will help us do this, David.

    For example, and not meant to be a full treatment of proper exegetical methods, ask yourself, are there details in the OT text that would cause you to conclude that the instructions:
    - are only for a specific place or time?
    - transcend a cultural context (i.e., the command still applies in different cultures)?

    Is some injunction in the OT a culturally specific application of an underlying theological principle? Or, is the injunction and cultural application inseparable?

    Finding the objective meaning of what was said by the writer is where the rubber meets the road. We were not there to actually hear the words recorded by Scripture. We were not living in that cultural context where the words, phrases, idioms, etc., carried much meaningful freight to the listeners. The exegete must intellectually transport himself back to the local time and place using the training and tools available. Hence, determining the objective meaning can be elusive and the root of the disagreements within the church militant.

    Ask yourself if your conclusions about the passage align with the author’s statements made elsewhere and in the broader context of Scripture. This is important to do, given that later chapters may amplify or clarify the ultimate meaning, not to mention any temporary, accommodating aspects of earlier injunctions and events (for example, see Matthew 19:8).

    Whatever else you do, "check in" with those that have come before you. We interpret Holy Writ in community...of saints. There is no shame in standing on the shoulders of others who were endued with the same Holy Spirit that we are today. If you find yourself standing outside the camp, as it were, redouble your efforts and beware the appeal of being in the minority. It tickles our itching ears and should not be undertaken without a great deal of trepidation.

    For what it is worth, here is a rough outline of my personal methodology:
    First principles:
    1. The analogy of faith is the rule that Scripture is to interpret Scripture.
    2. The NT is the final interpreter of what is said in the OT. After all, nearly 75% of the NT is allusion to, quotation from, the OT.
    3. Context is crucial.
    4. I believe what is clearly stated in Scripture even when it seems impossible to my mind, unless other textual clues indicate it is not to be taken in a literal fashion. In other words, I take the text at face value and interpret it in its normal or literal sense.
    5. Scripture has been given to the church. There is no prerogative given to a priestly class of a few to interpret Scripture.
    6. My reason discerns but my reason does not decide the truth. My reason is not my Lord, but a servant of the Lord.
    7. The Scriptures must be read literally and interpreted according to the kind of literary form it is (e.g., simile, metaphor, metonomy, synecdoche, personification, athropomorphism, apostrophe, irony, hyperbole, euphemism, litotes, pleonasm, repetition, climax, ellipsis, zeugma, aposiopesis, parable, allegory, dark sayings, riddles, fables, symbols, types, narrative, epic, law, tragedy, poetry, parallelism, lyric, pastoral, praise, wisdom, prophetic, oratory, and apocalyptic.).
    8. I trust my first impressions and am not so easily persuaded to change my mind, unless strong reasons are in evidence before me. This comes from many years of effort, failure, experience, however.
    9. The writer’s intent has to be discovered from what he has written.
    10. The final interpreter of Scripture is Scripture itself.

    Principles applied after praying for wisdom and illumination:
    1. Translation of the biblical language of the text, accompanied by my notes about special features in the biblical language.
    2. Assess the grammar identifying special grammatical features from standard Hebrew/Greek grammars
    3. Determine the context: review canonics, narrower context of the passage, broader context elsewhere in Scripture, historical context, geographical context, cultural context, theological context, etc.
    4. Word and phrase studies of selected words or phrases that appear significant theologically.
    6. Conduct exegesis: my explanation of what I think the text means, including Christology, redemptive history, application.
    7. Review commentaries or other trusted sources related to the passage before me.
  26. Haeralis

    Haeralis Puritan Board Freshman

    The last time that I saw a pastor friend of mine at a local Reformed Episcopal church, he gave me a booklet that he thought I might like. It was this exact one, Is Jesus in the Old Testament? I am looking forward to reading it and I am glad to see the author here at the PB!
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