The Relationship Of Deuteronomy To The Covenant At Sinai -- By: Peter J. Gentry

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 18:3 (Fall 2014)
Article: The Relationship Of Deuteronomy To The Covenant At Sinai
Author: Peter J. Gentry


The Relationship Of Deuteronomy To The Covenant At Sinai1

Peter J. Gentry

Peter J. Gentry is Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Prior to this, he served on the faculty of Toronto Baptist Seminary and Bible College for fifteen years and taught at the University of Toronto, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Tyndale Theological Seminary. The author of many articles, Dr. Gentry is currently editing Ecclesiastes and Proverbs for the Göttingen Septuagint Series, is co-author of Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants (Crossway, 2012), and he provides leadership for the Hexapla Institute.

Differing interpretations of the relationship between the Old Covenant/Testament and the New Covenant/Testament are at the heart of all divisions within the Christian church, both past and present.2 Part of clarifying this relationship is determining the relationship of the book of Deuteronomy to Exodus 19-24 which is called the Book of the Covenant in Exodus 24:7. R. N. Whybray describes as common ground among the critics the view that in relation to Genesis–Numbers, the Book of Deuteronomy is “an alien block of material.”3 What are we to make of this claim?

In broad strokes there are two or three main views of the relation of the Book of Deuteronomy to the earlier material: (1) that it is a renewal and expansion of the Sinai covenant (covenant/Reformed theologians), (2) or that is a renewal and expansion of the Abrahamic covenant (dispensational theologians), or that it is a completely new covenant (some Medieval Jewish exegetes).4 The name Deuteronomy (τὸ δευτερονόµιον) comes from the Septuagint, the Greek Translation of the Old Testament made around 280 B.C. This term is derived from two words, δεύτερος meaning “second,” and νόµος meaning “custom” or “law,” i.e., a “second law.” The translators in the Third

Century B.C. used this word as a mistranslation of the “copy of the law” that the king was to write out for himself in 17:18. The important issue, however, is not explaining our tradition, but understanding what Scrip...

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