Preaching Christ from the Old Testament and from Genesis 15:1–6 -- By: Thomas R. Schreiner

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 22:3 (Fall 2018)
Article: Preaching Christ from the Old Testament and from Genesis 15:1–6
Author: Thomas R. Schreiner

Preaching Christ from the Old Testament and from Genesis 15:1–6

Thomas R. Schreiner

Thomas R. Schreiner is James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Associate Dean for Scripture and Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. A widely respected New Testament scholar, Dr. Schreiner is the author of countless articles and many books, including New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ (Baker, 2008), Galatians in the Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series (Zondervan, 2010), The King and His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments (Baker, 2013), Faith Alone—The Doctrine of Justification (Zondervan, 2015); Romans, 2nd edition in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series (Baker, 2018).


The question of how we preach Christ from the Old Testament (OT) Scriptures is vital for those who proclaim the good news, and believers differ on the best approach. I am grateful for the essays of Dan Block, Elliott Johnson, and Vern Poythress who have carefully explored this matter. Dan Block and Elliott Johnson rightly and especially emphasize that interpreters must interpret OT texts in light of the OT context and historical horizon. Block warns us about the danger of superficially appealing to allegory or typology so that we end up reading Christ into the OT in ways that violate the integrity of the OT text in its historical context. Block maintains that we should preach christotelically instead of christocentrically. Johnson, with an approach that is quite similar in many respects to Block’s, helpfully reminds us the role of promise when we interpret texts in the OT. Poythress’s approach is quite different in that he stresses that OT

texts can be appropriated in a multiplicity of ways, and he, in contrast to Block, identifies his approach as christocentric. Whether we use the term christotelic or christocentric isn’t a matter of great importance since the issue is what we mean by such terms, and they are defined in various ways. In what follows I will explore the question of how we should preach Christ from the OT by interacting with the three contributions of Block, Johnson, and Poythress and also by considering how we should interpret Genesis 15:6. In the reflections that follow I will reflect on the role of the human and divine author, the matter of the storyline of scripture, typology, and how we should interpret Genesis 15:6.

Human Author and Divine Author

As I noted above, Block and Johnson remind us of the im...

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