Part 1 Evangelicals and the Use of the Old Testament in the New -- By: Darrell L. Bock

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 142:567 (Jul 1985)
Article: Part 1 Evangelicals and the Use of the Old Testament in the New
Author: Darrell L. Bock


Part 1
Evangelicals and the Use of the Old Testament in the New

Darrell L. Bock

[Darrell L. Bock, Assistant Professor of New Testament Literature and Exegesis, Dallas Theological Seminary]

For evangelicals, whose distinctive characteristic is their commitment to a high view of Scripture, perhaps no hermeneutical area engenders more discussion than the relationship between the Testaments. Within this discussion, a particularly important issue is the use made of the Old Testament by the New Testament. For evangelicals this issue is of high importance since both Christological claims and theories of biblical inspiration are tied to the conclusions made about how the phenomena of these passages are related to one another. The hermeneutics of the New Testament’s use of the Old is a live topic for discussion within evangelicalism. In fact one could characterize the discussion as one of the major issues of debate in current evangelicalism. In short, the subject of the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament is a “hot” issue in evangelical circles, as many recent works in the area suggest.1

Despite all the discussion, no consensus has emerged. The main reason for the absence of consensus is the complex nature of the discussion both hermeneutically and historically. Major theological issues often involve multifaceted questions and this area is no exception. The goal of this article is to discuss the hermeneutical issues that are raised in the debate. The article seeks to describe four schools of approach that have emerged recently in evangelicalism, letting each view define its perspective on these complex issues. A second article will discuss four major hermeneutical issues which each school is attempting to handle in

dealing with the phenomena of certain passages. The merits and weaknesses of each hermeneutical area will be evaluated briefly. Also a framework for dealing with the Old Testament in the New will be presented that reflects consideration of these key hermeneutical issues and draws from the contributions of each of these schools. Hopefully this two-part discussion will lead to a better understanding of the debate in this complex area and will provide a basis for better dialogue.2 It is also hoped that the proposed framework in the second article can serve as a functional working model for a way to approach the subject of the Old Testament in the New.

Four Schools within Evangelicalism

The following outline of the four approaches to the use of the Old Testament in the New is an attempt to group together the various evangelical approaches...

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