Preaching the Old Testament

A few of us are polishing some larger articles to post in the next day or so. In the meantime here is a jolting quote from Walter Kaiser to get the conversational juices flowing:

“. . .there remains a distressing absence of the Old Testament in the church. It is possible to attend some churches for months without ever hearing a sermon from the older testament, which represents well over three-fourths of what our Lord had to say to us. This vacuum is unconscionable for those who claim that the whole Bible is the authoritative Word of God to mankind” (pg.10, Preaching and Teaching from the Old Testament).

To be exact his three fourths comment should actually be 77.2 percent which makes his case slightly stronger. Do you think we have become practical Marcionites in our implied rejection of what Kaiser called “the older testament”? Do you agree or disagree? Either way, why or why not?

4 responses to this post.

  1. This post has been removed by the author.

  2. Paul, I am currently teaching an OT overview to one of our small groups. I feel that our people need to interact with the OT as a grass-roots level. I would love to preach from the OT at some point in the near future.

    I like how Mark Dever alternates between OT and NT books. That is a good plan, and demands quite a bit of background study in order to know what books to cover, etc. He is to be commended for thinking “outside the box.”

  3. He has a good point, but if you think about what he said then it would probably be good if you could go for a couple of months and not hear the OT. What I mean is that if a pastor is exegeting his way through a NT book on Sunday morning then he will be in the NT for quite a while. This is not a bad thing as long as we spend time preaching through the OT as well. So I think that it would be good if you could come to a church and not hear an OT sermon for months, and at that same church not hear a NT sermon for months (just as long as the months do not correspond with one another).

    Currently we are working with our youth from the OT and the NT. In Sunday School we are in Ecc (we just got done with Ruth), and on Suday Nights we are going through James. I have found that my teens love the OT. If I was pressed to give an answer I would probably have to say that they interact with the OT more than the NT. They love the historical narratives of the OT. All of them loved going through Ruth, the story really captured their attention. We have not hit the Levitical law code yet so maybe that is the difference.


  4. This is why I want to get my D Min in OT Exegesis. I barely survived Hebrew Ex. at TMS – I think we were actually in the same class.

    It is an area where I feel very weak, despite studying under such a fine and gifted man as Barrick. I just needed more time…a LOT more time in Hebrew Ex. I came out feeling more apprehensive about Hebrew than I did going it. Not a reflection of BB at all, just so make semantic nuances. I just felt totally unable to land. If I remember I think W&H have something like 247 uses of the Lamed prep. How in the world can I decide which one it is? I still struggle with objective vs. subjective genitives in the NT. ;o)

    I have ventured into the Psalms a few times in my 1st year as a pastor but I have not taken a chunk of the OT yet.

    Reasons why we might not preach it?

    It’s tough to find the normative issues since most of it is narrative. Take a look at most guys on TBN – I’ll bet my library that they are in the OT when they preach. It’s easy to say just about anything you want to from the OT. – maybe part of my apprehension.

    Does the OT Law apply to us today? Many say no, so how do we preach it? BB made this point in his TMS journal article from 2000 (I think). In the end he argued that the Law does not apply to us (did not see a civil/ceremon/moral sivision) but then he encouraged us to still preach the OT. It created a disconnect for me.

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