When Christians run up against interpretive challenges in the Old Testament–like killing Canaanites to take their land or the meaning of the Adam story vis-a-vis science–a common way of handling these challenges is to make an appeal like: “Yes, but we can’t just look at these passages on their own terms. We have to keep […]
We’re in finals week here at Eastern University, so I am in testing/grading mode. So here you go (all answers must be completed in the space provided): What do all of the following words have in common? baptism centurion crucifixion demons devil exorcism Gentile messiah Pharisee rabbi Roman Sadducee Samaritan synagogue tax collector If you […]
The New Testament writers had a habit of saying things about the Old Testament that are not in the Old Testament but are in these creative, Jewish writings of the period.
What we might call a fast and loose use of the Old Testament was for Paul and his contemporaries a normal and expected approach to biblical interpretation—creatively connecting the past with the present.
Paul appeals to the Old Testament in order to support what is hardly an obvious notion to Jews at the time: that Jesus, a crucified and risen son of a working-class family, is the long-hoped for Jewish messiah and that Gentiles as Gentiles are full and equal partners along with Jews in this messianic age.
Now, I know you believe, as we all do, that the Bible, being God’s word, is perfectly consistent all the way through, meaning it doesn’t mean one thing in the Old Testament and another thing when you quote it. It goes without saying that you respect the intention of the original author more than anyone, and you’d never mistreat the Bible like that.
Matthew interprets Isaiah creatively, not in keeping with what Isaiah meant. The child’s birth is not miraculous in Isaiah, but the deliverance of Judah from a military coalition is.
Jesus isn’t true because he is miraculously predicted 700+ years before his birth. Rather, because Jesus is true, Israel’s story gets reframed around him.
“Hi everyone! The one we worship was crucified by the Romans. Come follow us.” This might not be the best way to start a religion in the ancient world.
Much is at stake theologically for Jesus not knowing everything. It means grappling with the implications of the incarnation, no matter how challenging those implications may be to our own theology.