Why is the Old Testament shut out of church?

Ralph Davis holds the distinction of writing the only Bible commentary that has doubled me over in laughter. A hilarious Old Testament Bible commentary? I know it sounds strange. Dr. Davis is unique voice, a cherished OT scholar, and a man worth listening to. His article Why is the Old Testament shut out of church? is worth a read.

In part:

“…Maybe this is why the OT is shut out of the church.  We do not have the right approach.  I am not convinced that there is a ‘problem’ with the OT.  I do not think the ‘strangeness’ or ‘distance’ or the language of the OT is much of a problem; nor is our difficulty with the OT mainly a matter of techniques.  Rather we get off track in our interpretation of the OT because our eyes are fastened on the wrong ‘object.’   I do not mean that we cannot consider methods and genre and criticism and problems, but for crying out loud there is a living God waiting to reveal himself in the OT and we so easily take our eyes off of him!  If he is my exceeding joy (Ps. 43:4) then I should delight in seeing him in the OT.  If he is the fountain of living waters (Jer. 2:13), I should be thirsting and craving for him as I read its texts…”

9 thoughts on “Why is the Old Testament shut out of church?

  1. Maybe its because I am more prone to appreciate British humor, but I guess I completely missed the humorous part of that quote. Don’t get me wrong–it was profound and convicting; but, er, I didn’t see any laughing parts. :o)

  2. Sorry, Josh, I was not saying this quote was humorous. I was simply introducing Dr. Davis … The commentary I reference was on 1 Kings. His chapter intro stories are great.

  3. Tony,

    LOL. I just assumed you and Dr. Davis must have possessed a comic genius that was beyond my grasp! I just finished reading the article you cited, and yes, it did make me laugh–so I see what you mean. :o)

  4. That was a great article. I really enjoyed his example from Leviticus. Graeme Goldsworthy does some great stuff along this line.


  5. Spurgeon said, “I confess that the words of Scripture thrill my soul as nothing else ever can; they bear me aloft or dash me down, they tear me in pieces or they build me up after an unrivalled fashion. The words of God have more power over me than ever David’s fingers had over his harp strings. Is it not so with you?”

  6. John Eldredge says “most of us live our lives like a movie we’ve arrived at twenty minutes late. The action is well under way and we haven’t a clue what’s happening. . . . We sense that something really important, perhaps even glorious, is taking place, and yet it all seems so random.”

    Trying to teach the Bible from only the NT is more like coming into a movie an hour and 45 minutes late.

    Practically nothing I say every Sunday would make sense without the foundation of God’s progressive revelation beginning at the beginning. Just one small example, when I started the series on the Gospel of John I am currently in back in March 2007, the first five messages were from Genesis chapter one, showing the similarity of both language and concept with John chapter one. If the Gospel writers were exegetes of the Hebrew Bible, we better be too if we want to proclaim the gospel.

    I am thankful for excellent teachers and mentors who have led by example in proclaiming the whole story of the Bible, not just the last couple of acts.

  7. Tony,

    Thank you again for coming to Lakeview last month. It was great to meet you. How bout those shrimp?

    I love Davis’ work as well. One of my favorite reads from last year was his The Word Became Fresh. If you haven’t read it, I’d recommend it.

    Take care bro,

  8. Matt, thanks for your comment! It was a great joy to hang out with you and the other Lakeview folks. God’s hand is busy in New Orleans and I am grateful you are serving the Savior so faithfully…I have Davis’s book on my shelf but have not read it yet. I do anticipate its a good one and I’m now convinced of it’s value. So thanks for you comment, Matt. I appreciate you taking time to stop in and thanks for the reminder of BBQ shrimp we enjoyed in LA! Mmmmmm


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