Tag Archives: Old Testament

The Ultimate “Compliment” That Peter Paid To Paul

There is a wonderful little insight that comes at the end of 2 Peter, and it has to do with how we come to know that the New Testament is the Word of God. Peter is discussing the Apostle Paul’s writings, and what he says is almost funny: “There are some things in them that are hard to understand…” Hah! Those who have tried to understand Romans 11 know just what he’s talking about. Take a look at the context…

And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 2 Peter 3:15-16 (ESV)

That last phrase almost seems a “throwaway” comment, except that nothing in the Bible is throwaway. So, when Peter says, “…as they do the other Scriptures,” he is saying something momentous. The Greek word Peter uses for “Scriptures” is “graphe” and it is what Bible scholars would call a technical term. In other words, whenever you see the word “graphe” in the New Testament, it always refers to the Old Testament. Always.

And to a Jew like Peter, Scripture, or as we know it, the Old Testament…was beyond compare. You see, Simon Peter was not using the word “Scripture” in the sense that we sometimes say other faiths have their scriptures, Muslims – the Koran, and Hindus, the Bhagavad Gita, etc. No, no, no. “Graphe” was a precious word to Peter and the other Apostles. So, with that said, do you see what Peter is doing? He is equating Paul’s writings with other parts of the Bible. He is saying that Paul wrote Scripture. Peter is saying that Paul wrote the Bible. Now, in some ways that should be no surprise to a Christian, because we are used to understanding the New Testament as the Word of God, but if you have ever wondered what they thought of one another’s writings, now you know.

The Apostle Paul does the same thing, only with another portion of the New Testament.  Paul writes to Timothy…

For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” 1 Timothy 5:18 (ESV)

That first phrase about muzzling an ox is from Deuteronomy, so it’s no surprise that Paul refers to it as Scripture, but the second phrase is not found in the Old Testament, but in Luke’s Gospel (10:7).

So the New Testament writers were referring to one another’s writings as Scripture, and the early church, of course, followed course and did the same. It’s a fascinating little study, and one that gives me a measure of delight. I hope you too.

For Friday, November 20th: 1 John 1

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Posted by on November 19, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Jesus On Every Page

When you get right down to it, what is the Old Testament really all about? Is it just some musty old stories about how the earth was made and then how the Jewish people got started? Just a few poems and prophets with some miracles spread about?

Or is there something more here? Someone more here?

David Murray, Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, wrote a book detailing how he came to change his views on the most important question about the Old Testament: Is it really about Jesus? If you didn’t know, there is some debate about it, as he himself writes…

“I know of one Old Testament professor who banned the use of the New Testament in his classroom. Talk about trying to study in the dark.” – David Murray, Jesus on Every Page: 10 Simple Ways to Seek and Find Christ in the Old Testament

Yes, some people can be pretty passionate about their wrong ideas. For Murray (and for yours truly) the answer to this great question is found in what Jesus Himself said:

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life….For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. John 5:39 – 40, 46 (ESV)

Moses? Moses, the one who wrote Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy – where did he write about Jesus? And the answer is in those same five books, again and again and again. Yep that’s what Jesus was saying. And He said the same thing on the road to Emmaus…

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Luke 24:27 (ESV)

So, Sally Lloyd-Jones wrote (to children) in the first chapter of her wonderful Jesus Storybook Bible:

“Now some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. The Bible certainly does have some rules in it. They show you how life works best. But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.

“Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy. The Bible does have some heroes in it, but (as you’ll soon find out) most of the people in the Bible aren’t heroes at all. They make some big mistakes (sometimes on purpose). They get afraid and run away. At times they are downright mean.

“No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne – everything – to rescue the one he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!

“You see, the best thing about this Story is – it’s true.

“There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.”

So whether we read the Old Testament or the New, we celebrate the young Hero, or if you prefer, the brave Prince…Who came for you and me.

For Monday, October 12th: John 6

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Posted by on October 9, 2015 in Bible Interpretation


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The Old Testament Show

truman_show_ver1_xlg[1]Do you remember The Truman Show, a 1998 movie starring Jim Carrey? It was the story of Truman Burbank (Carrey), a reality T.V. star who lives his life in quiet suburbia…not knowing he is a reality T.V. star.

Truman’s entire life is filmed before thousands of hidden cameras and daily broadcast all over the world, and yet, he doesn’t suspect anything until around age 30. It’s around this time that, among other anomalies, a theatrical light falls out of the morning sky, and he begins to wonder about his wife’s constant product placement in her conversations with him.

Truman’s life serves a purpose larger than himself, in this case an entertaining study for those billions who watch him on television everyday; and I bring up this fascinating movie because of what Paul writes regarding the people of the Old Testament. In the 10th chapter of 1 Corinthians, the Apostle says:

Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.   1 Corinthians 10:11 (ESV)

The chapter is basically about the pain that idolatry brings, and Paul is anxious for the church at Corinth to learn the difficult lessons that the Israelites learned, and to learn them vicariously, that is, without actually having to experience them.

There are a couple of things that we should take away from this verse:

First, these things we read about in the Old Testament actually happened. At least that is what Paul believes, and Jesus, of course, spoke with a similar certainty about stories involving Jonah and Adam and Abraham. These were real people and the stories we read about them actually happened as recorded. This is a simple but important lesson we must always keep in mind: the Bible is true.

Second, we can learn from the lives of these people we read about…and we should learn from them. Paul said what happened to them happened as an example and for our instruction. That’s really amazing. But what is the main thing we learn? Well, Paul makes it clear – we learn about Christ. From the Gospel Transformation Study Bible:

“Throughout the text, Paul interprets the Old Testament in a way that is centered on Christ. Christ is the “Rock” that accompanied and sustained Israel in her wilderness wanderings (vv. 1–4, 9). Christ’s “table” (representing his death) fulfills the purpose of Israel’s “altar” (representing the sacrifice of animals; vv. 16–21). And Christ, “into” whom believers are baptized (Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27), is the leader of a new exodus, a greater deliverance than the exodus led by Moses (1 Cor. 10:1–2). Thus the Old Testament provides Christians not only instructive examples (vv. 6, 11) but also rich reminders that God’s Son has always been, and will always be, the only means by which sinners have access to God’s saving mercies.

 Amen. So…get the popcorn, open up Genesis, and bring on the show. I, for one, have a lot to learn.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, May 19th: 1 Corinthians 11

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Posted by on May 18, 2015 in Uncategorized


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