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Archive for the ‘Old Testament Studies’ Category

I came across a post by Dr. David Murray today commenting on some of the reasons why there is so little preaching from the Old Testament these days.  He gives the following 8 reasons:

1) Liberalism’s attack on the Old Testament.

2)Ignorance of the Old Testament.

3) Perceived Irrelevance of the Old Testament.

4) Dispensationalism’s unintentional relegation of the Old Testament to a secondary role in the life of the New Testament Church.

5) Bad examples of Old Testament preaching lead us to shy away from Old Testament preaching.

6) Good models of Old Testament preaching are hard to come by.

7) Laziness on the part of the preacher/teacher.  (Let’s be honest… Leviticus is hard to preach.)

8) Prevalence of Christ-less preaching from the Old Testament.

You can read the whole article here http://headhearthand.posterous.com/where-did-the-old-testament-go.

 

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Jim Hamilton has a fascinating post on the topic of the structure of the Old Testament canon over at the “Moore to the Point” blog.  He provides an excellent overview of the structure of the Hebrew Old Testament (TANAK) in contrast to the order found in our English Bibles.  It is a little technical, but fascinating.  It is worth the effort to read.  You can find it here http://www.russellmoore.com/index.php/2008/12/29/stirring-the-pot-how-should-the-books-of-the-ot-be-ordered/#comment-372 .

If this interests you, then I would suggest a series of lectures by Dr. Miles Van Pelt on Biblical Theology which you can download or stream for free from the Biblical Training website (found here http://www.biblicaltraining.org/class.php?class=BT201 .)

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Are you a preacher?  Or a Sunday School teacher?  Or a parent concerned about educating your children in the things of God?  Then let me ask you a question… when was the last time you preached or taught from the Old Testament?

As I reflected on the sermons I have preached over the past few years, I was struck by the absence of Old Testament texts.  Yes… I preached through the entire book of Nehemiah (even the lists of names.)  I preached through portions of Deuteronomy.  And I have preached a number of Psalms (including one long series through Psalm 119.)  Other than this, there is the smattering of Old Testament character studies (i.e. Hannah or Naomi on Mother’s Day, the “bad dad” Eli on Father’s Day, etc…), but, to my shame, I fear that I have certainly played “favorites” with the inspired Word of God.

And I don’t think I am alone in this. 

Why is this so???

Ralph Davis (one of my favorite Old Testament expositors… hands down) has written a very insightful article over at the Reformation 21 website on why we fail to preach from the Old Testament the way that we should.

1)      Scholarly Barrenness.

2)      Evangelical Sloppiness.

3)      Superficial Assumptions.

4)      Hermeneutical Intimidation.

5)      Spiritual Deficiency.

In regards to this last point (“Spiritual Deficiency”), Dr. Davis makes the following (convicting?) statements:

“Maybe this is why the OT is shut out of the church.  We do not have the right approach.  I am not convinced that there is a ‘problem’ with the OT.  I do not think the ‘strangeness’ or ‘distance’ or the language of the OT is much of a problem; nor is our difficulty with the OT mainly a matter of techniques.  Rather we get off track in our interpretation of the OT because our eyes are fastened on the wrong ‘object.’   I do not mean that we cannot consider methods and genre and criticism and problems, but for crying out loud there is a living God waiting to reveal himself in the OT and we so easily take our eyes off of him!  If he is my exceeding joy (Ps. 43:4) then I should delight in seeing him in the OT.  If he is the fountain of living waters (Jer. 2:13), I should be thirsting and craving for him as I read its texts… I simply wonder if a good bit of our ‘problem’ with the OT might be a heart problem.  Maybe our problem is a spiritual one–maybe we are not salivating for the triune God as we read our Bibles.  Maybe we’re focused on sermons rather than worship.  If once you have found God fascinating…that goes a long way towards curing the ‘problem’ of the OT.” 

Ouch!

The whole article is worth the time to read.  You can find it here http://www.reformation21.org/articles/why-is-the-old-testament-shut-out-of-church.php .

Now… maybe… I will have the motivation to finish working on that sermon series through II Samuel which I have been contemplating…

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