The Book Of Malachi In Biblical-Theological Context -- By: Anthony R. Petterson

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 20:3 (Fall 2016)
Article: The Book Of Malachi In Biblical-Theological Context
Author: Anthony R. Petterson

The Book Of Malachi In Biblical-Theological Context

Anthony R. Petterson

Anthony R. Petterson teaches Old Testament and Hebrew at Morling College, Sydney (affiliated with the Australian College of Theology). He was pastor of Hornsby Heights Baptist Church, Sydney, and associate pastor of Grosvenor Road Baptist Church, Dublin, Ireland. He did his PhD studies on the book of Zechariah, published as Behold Your King: The Hope for the House of David in the Book of Zechariah (T&T Clark, 2009). He has recently published the Apollos OT Commentary on Haggai, Zechariah & Malachi (IVP, 2015), and contributed study notes on Haggai and Zechariah for the NIV Study Bible (Zondervan, 2015).

The Importance Of Biblical Theology

Are Christians required to tithe? Should the ministers of churches be called “priests”? Are Christians permitted to divorce? These are some of the issues that arise in Malachi on which Christians disagree, sometimes passionately. In addition to disagreements among Christians, some outside the faith think Christians are selective in their use of the Bible. They ask, why do Christians obey some commands of the Bible and not others? To them Christians seem to have double standards. Is this criticism valid? We all know that if you quote parts of the Bible out of context, it is possible to make the Bible say almost anything. Are we guilty of proof-texting to make the Bible say just what we want to hear? To make it fit our own agendas?

These questions all underline the crucial importance of biblical theology (BT) in reading and applying the Bible. BT seeks to understand verses and passages of the Bible in the wider context of the Bible as a whole, so that

their meaning is correctly understood, applied and lived.1 It understands the Bible not as a hodgepodge of disconnected parts, but as a unified whole, telling a story that begins with creation and ends with a new creation, with the kingdom of God that has come in Jesus Christ at the heart of the story. When the parts of the story are read in light of the whole, it explains why the application of some of the commands and instructions of God have changed through time. It explains why some of the religious and cultural practices of the Jewish people are no longer practiced by Christians today. It is not a matter of Christians arbitrarily deciding which bits of the Bible they think are relevant; rather, it is seeing how the unfolding story of the Bible itself, which climaxes in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, determines Christian belief and practice.

Coming at the end of the Prophets, the book of Malachi provides an...

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