Must We Begin with the NT to Understand the OT?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by TCGreek, Oct 8, 2007.

  1. TCGreek

    TCGreek
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    1. Time and time again, I've heard that to Really understand the OT, we must begin with the NT. What in the OT gives us that impression, or What in the NT gives us that impression?

    2. If it is true that the only way to understand the OT, we must Rely on the NT, How then did the readers of the OT understand it? Wasn't the OT, without the NT, written to be understood by its readers? Wasn't the OT written in language that they could have understood and appreciated?
     
  2. swaimj

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    Since the NT is the fulfillment of the OT, I think that the OT points forward to the truth(s) of the NT. When I read the OT, I try to consider it in its own proper context and in its own terms. However, I have the NT so that I can understand the fulfillment of what the OT is saying in a way that the original reader of the OT (and even the original writer) could not. On this subject, I Peter 1:10-12 comes to mind:
     
  3. TCGreek

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    Did the people under the OT understand what was written to them before the NT revelation?
     
  4. PastorSBC1303

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    I would say this is exactly backwards.

    To really understand the NT, we must begin with the OT.
     
  5. Pastor Larry

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    This is the key issue. Did the OT have meaning that was intelligible to the original reader? Of course it did.

    The argument you are asking about it typically put forth by those who desire to avoid the meaning of the OT (kingdom on earth) and therefore use the NT to change the OT meaning, or to spiritualize it.

    Swaimj quotes 1 Peter 1:10-12. This is a great passage. From it, we understand that the prophets and readers of the OT understood exactly what they were talking about. What they did not understand was "who" and "when." But they knew of the Messiah, and his coming, his suffering, and his glory to follow.
     
  6. swaimj

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    TC,
    Certainly people in the OT understood much of the OT. However, parts of the OT were unclear to them and God intentionally hid the understanding of it from them. The I Peter verses I cited seem clear that the OT writers (and I presume their readers as well) did not understand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that were to follow.
     
  7. Steven2006

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    I think from the OT looking forward that most didn't understand that the first and second comings of Christ were separate events. It is only looking through the eyes of the NT that we can much easier see both a suffering and dying Messiah and a glorious regaining Messiah. I think that is probably what people mean.
     
  8. TaterTot

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    I think that definitely, we must read the New testament thru the lens of the Old. For example, the concept of a kinsman- redeemer in Ruth/Boaz story. Follow the story to see that one kinsman redeemer produces another. Then thru that, we see the ultimate Kinsman redeemer.

    There are so many OT prophecies we see fulfilled in the new. Goodness, even in the Psalms, there are exact quotations of JEsus on the cross. How can we not see the New Testament thru the lens of the Old?
     
  9. TCGreek

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    1. I thought so.

    2. Then we must assume false hope.

    3. This is clear from a simple reading of the text.
     
  10. Amy.G

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    Seems like some had the proper understanding of the OT scriptures.


    Mar 10:48 Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"


    This man knew who Jesus was. And he was blind! (at least in the physical sense)
     
  11. TCGreek

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    Good point, Amy.
     
  12. David Lamb

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    No I don't agree with what you have heard. People such as Simeon and Anna did not have the New Testament, yet they knew that it pointed to Christ.

    There is a saying here: "The New is in the Old concealed; the Old is in the New revealed," but it seems that Simeon et al were given sufficient understand of the Old to see at least something of what was "concealed" in it.

    Nevertheless, I praise God that we do have the complete bible.
     
  13. blackbird

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    I go along with SBC here and may add a little

    The Old sheds light on the New

    The New sheds light on the Old
     
  14. christianyouth

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    I'll add my little piece : One of the problems in many American pulpits is elevating the NT over the OT. In fact, certain people have a hard time understanding the God of the OT. they can't accept this whole wrath part. You know, the OT God who ordered the slaughtering of the Canaanites, who flooded the Earth, etc.

    I would recommend many Christians to start laboring over the God of the OT, because never is God's holiness and righteoussness more revealed. Upon understanding the just demands of God's law and His hatred for sin, we will appreciate the propitiation of Christ.
     
  15. mcdirector

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    I always thought they went hand in hand to understand the whole, but I'm no theologian.
     
  16. swaimj

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    christianyouth, three points I would make:

    One, God's righteousness IS more clearly revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ than it was in the law. That is why we preach the gospel of Jesus Christ today and we do not preach the law.

    Two, Paul clearly states that he is a minister of the New Covenant (testament) not the Old because the Old is a ministry of death, while the New is a ministry of life. Paul also says that the Old Covenant (Testament) is passing away. The New Covenant most certainly is not.

    Three. A variety of baptists theologians through the centuries have agreed that the New Testament is the unique guide for faith and practice for the church.
     
  17. TCGreek

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    That is true, but did those before the NT period and even the circulation of those NT books, understand their OT Bible, if you will?
     
  18. mcdirector

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    I imagine those that wanted to know the word as it was at the time did ;)

    I'm glad we live now and have both.
     
  19. TCGreek

    TCGreek
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    Yes, they did understand what was originally addressed to them. Yes, this side of the Cross we're more blessed, for I believe this is at the heart of the book of Hebrews--everything is now BETTER. :thumbs:
     
  20. mcdirector

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    You know TC, your question did make me think that there had to be those in the OT and pre NT or as the NT was being canonized, that really were happy knowing little or just enough.

    Just as today we have those who are happy with knowing just enough. I find that fascinating - to not have a consuming passion to know the word, to not have a Bible open in several rooms, to not know Oswald Chambers' words better than those of some relative. ;)

    But part of the reason we are here is because of that thirst.
     

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