With Christ On The Road To Emmaus -- By: Russell L. Meek
JBTM 14:1 (Spring 2017) p. 3
With Christ On The Road To Emmaus
Russell L. Meek is assistant professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Louisiana College in Pineville, Louisiana.
The idea that we should preach Christ from the Old Testament,1 once a given in church history, has recently experienced a rebirth after its near death at the hands of modern critical biblical studies.2 This return to the Emmaus road is most welcome, especially for
JBTM 14:1 (Spring 2017) p. 4
those of us whose career is to teach the Old Testament.3 The current essay will attempt to answer a few questions about preaching Christ from the Old Testament, such as why it should be done and what some of its inherent dangers are, and provide a methodology for doing so. The methodological reflections are by no means novel or unique but are rather developed from principles taught in hermeneutics and homiletics classes and books around the world. Nevertheless, I hope that, in formulating them here as they apply specifically to preaching Christ from the Old Testament, readers will be encouraged to turn again to the front of the book and take a long walk with Christ on the road to Emmaus.
For many people the answer to this question is self-evident. After all, things did not go so well for Marcion, notwithstanding the continued publication of New Testament-only Bibles (sometimes with Psalms and Proverbs!).4 However, despite agreeing with the notion that the Old Testament should be preached, anecdotal evidence from members of evangelical churches suggests that the New Testament is preached much more often than the Old. Thus, we begin here by offering reasons why we should still endeavor to preach from the Bible Jesus read.
A proper understanding of the Old Testament is essential for a proper understanding of the New Testament because the latter is in conversation with the former.5 For example, Jesus’s interactions with the Pharisees concerning the Sabbath, sacrifices, and proper devotion to God make little sense outside of the context of their understanding of the Old Testament. How could we understand the Sermon on the Mount outside of the Old Testament, for Jesus was explaining the true intent of the Old Testament law. And how could we fully comprehend the books of Romans and Galatians, not to mention Revelation, without reference to the Old Testament? If we rely only on the New Testament for instruction and reproof, then we severely limit our ability ...
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