Preaching Christ from the Old Testament -- By: Sidney Greidanus

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 161:641 (Jan 2004)
Article: Preaching Christ from the Old Testament
Author: Sidney Greidanus

Preaching Christ from the Old Testamenta

Sidney Greidanus

Sidney Greidanus is Professor of Preaching, Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Early in my ministry I preached a series of sermons on the Book of Ecclesiastes. After one of these sermons a retired preacher said to me, “I appreciated your sermon, Sid, but I wonder, could a rabbi have preached your sermon in a synagogue?” The image of a rabbi preaching my sermon in a synagogue etched itself indelibly in my brain. It was a loaded question, of course, but the concern my friend expressed was valid. That concern was whether my sermon was distinctively Christian, whether I had preached Christ. I know that I had failed on that score, and frankly I did not know how to do it any better. Eventually his question set me off on a quest that resulted in my writing the book Preaching Christ from the Old Testament.1

In that book I argue for the necessity of preaching Jesus Christ in every sermon, and I offer a hermeneutical method for doing so. I am now working on a more practical book that applies this Christocentric method to the Genesis narratives, and this is the topic of these lectures. The first lecture in this series briefly explains the redemptive-historical Christocentric method of interpretation, and the others consist of expository essays that demonstrate how this method works in preaching the first three narratives of the Book of Genesis.

The Necessity Of Preaching Christ

The first reason for preaching Christ is that Jesus mandated His disciples to do so. “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19–20).2 We cannot make disciples of Jesus without telling people about Him. In fact Jesus said to teach them “to obey everything” He commanded them.

A second reason for preaching Christ is that Jesus is the way of salvation. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Faith in Jesus is the way of salvation. In fact Jesus claimed that He is the only way of salvation, the only way to having eternal life. He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (

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