Yesterday we saw three big mistakes that are common in explaining OT material in the NT (click here to go there). Here are some more to ponder:
4. Obliviousness to New Covenant allusions. This is a huge problem in Christian preaching today. Too many people read the New Testament and seem to miss the multiple New Covenant allusions that permeate practically every section of the New Testament. The work of the Spirit, intimacy with God, transformed hearts, life, and so on . . . there is so much more to the New Covenant than simply the forgiveness of sins. Sadly, too many in our churches seem to think that Christianity is an offer of forgiveness combined with a repackaging of Old Covenant guidelines for living. I suspect Paul would get sharp with some contemporary preaching!
5. Obliviousness to Old Testament portrayal of God. Too easily we make a similar mistake with the Old Testament. We can easily view it as largely a presentation of life under the rule of an angry and distant God. When we read the New Testament as the arrival of gentle Jesus to rescue us from a hard-to-please God, then naturally we will fail to grasp the richness of the Old Testament background to the New. It was not Law back then, but grace and truth now only. John 1:14-18 is speaking of the LORD who pitches His tent near the people and whose glory can be beheld, whose character is abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (grace and truth). The Jesus of the New Testament is not absent from the Old Testament – it was about Him, and He was there. They did not simply trust in a good promise, but they also encountered the Promiser Himself . . . and now we can meet Him fully! There are discontinuities between the Old and New Testament, but the character of God the Father revealed in God the Son is not one of them.
How else have you heard OT quotes and allusions mishandled in preaching the NT?
One thought on “Mishandling Old Testament Quotes in Preaching”
Funny, I was quickly skimming the titles of some email and I read misread this one as, “Manhandling Old Testament Quotations.” Maybe that’s the truth, too.