The Scientific Approach to the Old Testament Part 4 -- By: Allan A. MacRae

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 110:440 (Oct 1953)
Article: The Scientific Approach to the Old Testament Part 4
Author: Allan A. MacRae

The Scientific Approach to the Old Testament
Part 4

Allan A. MacRae

(Concluded from the July-Septeinber Number, 1953)

Many people seem quite satisfied to put the Bible up on a shelf and say, “I believe it all.” But this is not enough. The Bible is not simply a book of mystic words, nor is it merely a flag to salute. It is our source of knowledge of eternal things. It is God’s book of information about the facts which we cannot reach for ourselves. It is a collection of data which we must study and interpret carefully if we are to know the facts in this most important of all realms of knowledge.

Our approach to the Bible must be exactly the same as our approach to any field of science. We must gather the data, study them, compare them, and seek to determine what they mean; we must form conclusions on the basis of the data and we must then check these conclusions by examination of more data. This is the procedure in science and it is also the procedure in the study of spiritual matters.

The data of the Bible, like the data of science, require interpretation and study.

An important field of Bible study is that which relates to God’s plan for the future. In this realm, as in all others, it is easy to jump to conclusions. We must examine the passages carefully and see exactly what they mean. We dare not be satisfied with superficial interpretations.

In the sphere of prophecy, a moot point is the question of the millennium. According to premillennialists, the Bible teaches that when Jesus returns to this earth He will set up a kingdom of righteousness and peace in which He will reign in great glory for one thousand years before the great and terrible judgment of the wicked dead. Amillennialists and postmillennialists deny that such a kingdom is to be set up after the return of Christ. They insist that many of the

prophecies which premillennialists assign to this period should be interpreted as applying to the present age.

I shall never forget the shock that I received once, when I was a seminary student, from the words of one of my fellow students who had come from a premillennial college and had entered seminary as a strong premillenarian. He was now in his senior year, within a month of graduation, and eschatology was being discussed in the theology class. One day he said to me: “Acts 15:13–18 is the most important passage for premillennialism in the New Testament. The Scofield Bible says, ‘Dispensationally, this is the most important passage in the New Testament.’“ The student added: “Just plain exegesis proves that this...

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