The Uniqueness of the Old Testament -- By: Merrill F. Unger

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 107:427 (Jul 1950)
Article: The Uniqueness of the Old Testament
Author: Merrill F. Unger


The Uniqueness of the Old Testament

Merrill F. Unger

From whatever angle it is considered, the Bible, of which the Old Testament is a vital and inseparable part, is a unique book. In describing it it is difficult not to deal in superlatives. Incontestably it is the Book of books, the incomparably excellent and inestimably valuable book. With ample reason it has been called “the best gift God has given to man.”1

Despite the fact that it is the greatest book ever written and the world’s best seller, the Bible is easily the most abused piece of literature in existence. Again and again it has faced hatred, persecution, fire and sword, always triumphing. Out of each furnace experience it has emerged more resplendent than before. Although its most effective foes are neglect and indifference, the Bible has undoubtedly endured greatest abuse and misunderstanding from rationalistic higher criticism and skepticism. No small part of the mischief has arisen from the field of Biblical Introduction.

The tendency has been to narrow the science of Introduction to a consideration of purely critical questions. Too frequently the internal evidence of order, symmetry, purpose and meaning of the books individually and in their collective relationship has been completely set aside by radical hypotheses based on unwarranted assumptions. The result is that many Biblical Introductions are almost totally negative and destructive and, in consequence, unconsciously miss or deliberately ignore the genius and spirit of the Scriptural narratives. This is particularly true of Old Testament Introductions.

It need scarcely be said that critical questions and radical arguments ought to be fairly faced and adequately answered, at least insofar as the present status of knowledge allows. But it is nevertheless a serious mistake, highly inimical to sound progress in Biblical studies, to confine Biblical Introduction to criticism alone. For, after all, the task of disposing of destructive theories and refuting radical arguments directed against the integrity and authenticity of the Scriptural Records, while quite indispensable in an age of rationalistic skepticism, merely clears the way for a positive and constructive treatment of the Sacred Record, and is not an end in itself.

Biblical Introduction which fails to recognize the uniqueness of the Sacred Record, attested by both internal and external evidence, cannot avoid the just censure of being called unscientific, nor escape the danger of doing the Ancient Writings gross injustice and wrong. In what, then, does the uniqueness of the Old Testament consist?

The Old Te...

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