The Doctrine of Grace in the Interpretation of Prophecy -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 140:558 (Apr 1983)
Article: The Doctrine of Grace in the Interpretation of Prophecy
Author: John F. Walvoord

The Doctrine of Grace in the Interpretation of Prophecy

John F. Walvoord

[John F. Walvoord, President and Professor of Systematic Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary]

Practically all conservative interpreters of Scripture have recognized the importance of Abraham. This is transparent on the basis of the emphasis given to Abraham and his family in the Book of Genesis. With only two chapters devoted to the account of creation (Gen 1–2), one chapter to the tremendous significance of the fail of man into sin (Gen 3), and the next eight chapters covering thousands of years of human history from Adam to Abraham (Gen 4–11), it soon becomes obvious that the Book of Genesis is primarily dedicated to the story of Abraham and his family. The large section from Genesis 11:29 to 25:8 is devoted entirely to the story of Abraham himself, and the remaining 25 chapters of Genesis trace the subsequent history of Isaac, Jacob, and the people of Israel in Egypt. From the divine viewpoint the life and experiences of Abraham must have been of tremendous importancce to God, who intended through the patriarch to communicate basic theological truths to man.

Abraham, the Man of Faith

As many interpreters have noted, Abraham is preeminently presented in Scripture as a man of faith. After receiving instruction from God, he departed from Ur of the Chaldeans (Gen 11:31) and began the long journey to the land of Canaan. Halfway there, he settled down in Haran until his father Terah died. Reasons for the sojourn in Haran are not given in Scripture, but

perhaps Abraham still needed to grow in faith before he would be implicitly obedient to God. His arrival in the Promised Land was the occasion for the important Abrahamic Covenant (Gen 12:2–3; 15:9–21).

In this covenant God promised Abraham he would be a great man. From him God would produce a great nation. God’s blessing would rest on Abraham, and through him blessing would come to all families of the earth. Because of his distinctive place in the purpose of God, the promise was given, “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen 12:3).

The tremendous sweep of these promises of God to Abraham h...

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