(I Can’t Get No) O.T. Preaching

Surveys estimate that around 8-percent of contemporary Christian sermons derive their origin from texts in the Old Testament. A good thought from the late OT scholar Gleason Archer:

“How can Christian pastors hope to feed their flock on a well-balanced spiritual diet if they completely neglect the 39 books of Holy Scripture on which Christ and all the New Testament authors received their own spiritual nourishment?”

– G. L. Archer, “A New Look at the Old Testament,” Decision, August 1972, page 5.

Things that make you go hmm.

Full disclosure: I receive a nice diet of O.T. preaching. The Rolling Stones title was too good to pass up.

5 thoughts on “(I Can’t Get No) O.T. Preaching

  1. “Surveys estimate that around 8-percent of contemporary Christian sermons derive their origin from texts in the Old Testament.”

    I am in a state of shock at that figure.

  2. As I understand progressive revelation, the NT builds off the foundation of the OT. A thorough knowledge of the OT is assumed by the NT authors. This is why Archer’s quote has such punch behind it.

  3. It’s interesting that nearly always, I see the prosperity
    preachers using the old testament. Just a thought.

  4. Sure you can abuse the OT. In the past 10 years I have sat under only two series preached from the OT one on Job and one on Daniel. My guess is that if you subtract the Psalms from the 8% it would drop drastically.

    Of course the OT can be abused and the relationship can be complex, especially when certain theological traditions have rendered it obsolete or inapplicable to the Church. This problem is only exasperated by the OT departments at many seminaries. The professors are often in fact Ancient Near Eastern historians, who have a shallow grasp on non-historical critical Biblical Theology and an even shallower grasp of Systematic Theology. Thus when men are trained in their OT classes they are given a lot of interesting data, which they do not see as applicable. They thus come through their OT sequence befuddled, and seek refuge in the NT, and only mine the OT for the random story.

    I think that one way to begin to correct this would be for pastors to study Herman Witsius’s Economy of the Covenants and Geerhardus Vos’ works.

    Another problem is the lack of good OT commentaries that deal with the text and theology of the OT. Of the 25 Leviticus commentaries on my shelves, only a handful are useful in sermon preparation. Most are preoccupied with either authorship issues or other bugaboos and do not give adequate attention to the theology of Leviticus. This is only representative of how commentaries and tools work. So often pastors if they have commentaries are not well served, so again they retreat to the New Testament.

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