How much should the OT influence our interpretation of the NT?
How much should the OT influence our interpretation of the NT? In “From a Scale of 1 to 10” in the most recent issue of Credo Magazine, “Make Disciples of All Nations,” four scholars answered this question. Here is what they had to say:
Craig Blomberg, Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary
6 — Because all the NT writers were likely familiar with all of the OT, the OT becomes an important subset of the more general category of historical background that should always be taken into account in interpreting texts. Sometimes there may be an explicit quotation, or an allusion, or a mere echo. Other times, the OT is simply part of the pervasive worldview of the NT writer. Thus I choose a number above the half-way mark between 1 and 10. But I don’t go very far above a 5, because the New Testament writers regularly use the OT creatively and flexibly, under the inspiration of the Spirit. The immediate context of any NT passage and its meaning interpreted on its own can always trump historical background if the evidence pushes us in that direction.
Darrell L. Bock, Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
8 — We have to pay attention to the Old Testament and the background it gives us, but we also must recall that Jesus and the apostles have the right to build on that material. I believe they do so in ways that complement what God has already committed himself to do.
Robert Plummer, Associate Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
10 — The Bible is one book with many chapters. Subsequent chapters should always be read in light of previous ones.
Andrew Hill, Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College
10 — All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching . . . (2 Tim 3:17-17). I take this reference to include the OT (if not primarily the OT at the time the letter is written). The Bible is a unified story of God’s redemptive work in history to reclaim, restore, and re-inhabit his creation. Both the first and the second Testaments are essential to understanding God’s story.
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“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) These words, spoken by Jesus after his resurrection, are famously known as The Great Commission. As disciples of Christ, it is our great joy to go and tell the nations about the good news of salvation for sinners through Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. The March issue of Credo Magazine will seek to ignite a passion for missions. And what better timing as this year marks the 200th anniversary of Adoniram and Ann Judson setting sail aboard the Caravan with to take the gospel to Burma. Contributors include: Ted Kluck, Jason Duesing, Nathan Finn, the Housley Family (missionaries in Papua New Guinea), Kenneth Stewart, Brian Vickers, David VanDrunen, Matt Williams, and many others.