The Old Testament Problem Part 1 -- By: A. Noordtzij

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 097:388 (Oct 1940)
Article: The Old Testament Problem Part 1
Author: A. Noordtzij


The Old Testament Problem
Part 1

Dr. A. Noordtzij

(Translated from the Dutch especially for Bibliotheca Sacra by Dean Miner B. Stearm)

[Translator’s Note: The author delivered the following address in honor of the 291st anniversary of the State University of Utrecht, March 26, 1927. Formerly Rector Magnificus of the University, Dr. Noordtzij has now retired to Switzerland, where his time is devoted to writing. One of the most important of his numerous works is a volume of Biblical Archaeology entitled Gods Woord en der Eeuwen Getuigenis (God’s Word and the Testimony of the Ages), now in a third edition. Our author’s latest work is a commentary on Chronicles. Since Dr. Noordtzij is a staunch defender of the conservative position, this particular address deserves a wide circulation in the English tongue as a noteworthy contribution to apologetic literature. It has already enjoyed a wide sale in the German language. The so-called higher criticism receives a devastating and crushing blow from Dr. Noordtzij’s analysis of its content. In the next installment of this article will be presented the weaknesses of the Wellhausen system and the untenableness of its presuppositions. Bibliotheca Sacra alluded to the present apologetic earlier. See the October, 1935, number, pp. 460-461.]

I. The Threefold Aspect of the Problem

From the moment that the Old Testament Scriptures presented themselves with increasing force to the church, which gradually grew out of the living Christ, as the record of God’s revelations, the problem of the Old Testament has given her no rest. While she much preferred to enjoy the spiritual treasures found therein, than to investigate these riches and set them clearly before her own consciousness in their nature and substance, nevertheless the divinely implanted impulse to seek the truth urged men on to an ever renewed examination of the problem which came to the church in the Old Testament Scriptures.

It became increasingly clear that this problem has a triple aspect. On the one hand, it is cultural-historical by nature,

in so far as God’s acts of revelation are not separated from, but intimately woven together with, Israel’s manner of life and thought, which in turn partake of the character of the culture of the ancient Eastern world, of which Israel was a part. From another angle, the problem has a religious-historical character, in so far as the Old Testament gives a picture of the manner in which, and the means through which, God caused His life to penetrate into Israel, and under the impulse of His Spirit developed a corresponding manner of life in the midst of His covenant people. And finally,...

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