Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A moment with Graeme

"All that the Old Testament teaches about the activity of God, and about the roles of the covenant functionaries (prophets, priests, and kings), can only have relevance to us because it is fulfilled in Jesus to whom we are then united by faith."

Prayer and the Knowledge of God, p 159


Blogger Tim Barker said...

Well, can't cut it any straighter than that! So Thomas, a Christocentric hermeneutic of the OT...

I agree that this is the ultimate theological significance for the current believer. How would you teach and preach it?

I guess the real question is how long would spend teaching in the original context before going to the Christocentric significance? I'm been trying to get my hands around this as a methodology. I know you've done some teaching in Genesis already. Do you feel you did justice to the original context or was it a platform for diving into the NT fulfillments?caomyl

8:33 AM  
Blogger adam said...

By original context I am think you are saying,immediate narrative with immediate characters, plot, setting etc.
When I am thinking in terms of original context I am thinking wholistically in a redemptive historical way. I mean, I think the Scripture is written in such a way as to express the redemptive plan of God through his Son. In this redemptive drama many people play a role (national Israel, prophets, priests, kings etc.)but are intentionally "scripted" by God to accomplish the progression of his-story. The unfolding drama is the establishment of the Kingdom of God through the redemption of the elect (among other cosmic as well as satanic ramifications/features)as they are then empowered by his Spirit to magnify his Son.
This is the "theodrama" of scripture and thus within this framework one can speak to the "original context".
I would not suggest that it is a type of cut through the national-historic "garbage" in order to secure the Christ-centeredness of any given OT text. I do think that if one does not consider the theodrama of scripture at every given point of Scripture HE IS NOT doing justice to the original context.

God's redemptive design needs to receive a better part of attention than the "history of Israel" does (ex. locations, Red/Reed Sea, currency, clothing etc.)

I have to run, but let me know what I have not answered or atleast addressed.

Sorry, but have to run.

5:03 PM  
Blogger James Gordon said...


I was looking on your blog and read your post, Hermeneutics of NT Authors as well as the ensuing discussion in order to get a grasp of the context out of which you speak.

If I can attempt to summarize the disagreement I would say that you are saying that when preaching out of the OT, one must exposit the original context of the OT narratives, prophecies, etc., assuming that they had a narrow, pointed meaning before the coming of Christ which is of relevance to the believer. If I am wrong about that, please correct me.

It seems to me that if I am right about what you are arguing, then you are creating a false dichotomy. You are basically arguing that the "original context" is different than the "Christocentric significance." I am not sure that is a justified bifurcation based on the NT authors' treatment of OT quotes.

You said that you "agree that this is the ultimate theological significance for the believer." If so, why then would one desire to teach on anything that is not of ultimate theological significance? In other words, where are you drawing your hermeneutical bias that says the "original context" (i.e., the socio-historical, cultural, linguistic background [I left out "literal" on purpose]) is important? It seems to me that this is an unwarranted Western imposition on the text instead of a "biblical hermeneutic" that understands the redemptive-historical plan of the establishment of the kingdom of God. Rather, when one allows Christ and the NT authors to interpret the OT, its "original" meaning becomes clear.

In other words, the law was not the true, literal reality about which the authors wrote, but instead it was only shadow of the good things to come in Christ. Will understanding some of the points of the law aid the believer in better understanding Christ? Certainly, as long as the overarching narrative in Scripture is always kept in the forefront of one's mind. In the same way, the tabernacle was a shadow of the true things to come in Christ, the true temple, and the new heavens and new earth, the ultimate fulfillment of the tabernacle.

If we believe in progressive revelation, then it would seem that whether or not the OT authors "knew" what they were writing about, we are able to see exactly what they were writing about as explained by the NT authors. Isn't allowing the NT authors to interpret the OT authors at every point required by progressive revelation?

So, as to how you would teach and preach it, I turn to Tim Keller who said that it is hard to explain, but when you hear it you know.

I have been giving this issue a lot of thought lately and am still arriving at conclusions so I welcome any correction or chastising for the sake of the kingdom. By the way, have you checked out Carson's and Beale's new commentary on this subject?

2:41 PM  
Blogger smlogan said...

who said anything about progressive revelation, guy?
chill on that, ryrie...
next thing you know, you'll be throwing the 7 dispensations around.

9:24 PM  
Blogger James Gordon said...

You know it, Logan. I am a dispensationalist through and through. I am ashamed that you know Ryrie well enough to call me out on that so quickly.

4:24 AM  
Blogger smlogan said...

elementary, my dear watson...
though something so petty doesn't require a great deal of knowledge.

1:37 AM  
Blogger Tim Barker said...


A very late response to you...I know. I am resurfacing in the blogosphere. I think you make some good points, and to be honest a challenge I don't remember anyone giving me before on the topic.

Agreed the ultimate intent should be our pursuit in preaching. I guess my concern for the original context is to support a strong foundation for christocentric hermeneutics. My fear would be all things can point to Christ and there would be no certainty (excuse my modernistic mind for a moment) in interpretation and theology.

This fear drives me to want to understand the original intention of the human OT author prior to the Christ event. Then after I have understood that meaning I can take your bread and butter of progressive revelation to inform my interpretation and application for the current church.

I really feel like going too quickly to the Christocentric reading shortchanges the current day reader from the cultural context from which the Scriptures were revealed. I like digging the foundation before building the oppulent mansion of Christ from the OT.

I'll chew some more on what you said though. I haven't thought about it like that before.

11:15 AM  

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