Category Archives: Biblical Theology

“The Messiah in the Old Testament” by Stephen Charnock

“The right apprehensions of the promises concerning the Messiah in the Old Testament, what He was to be, what He was to do, cannot let you be ignorant of Him in the New.”

–Stephen Charnock, “A Discourse Of Christ Our Passover,” The Works of Stephen Charnock, Volume 4 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1865/2010), 4: 535.

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“The best proof that He will never cease to love us” by Geerhardus Vos

“In the unlimitable round of His timeless existence we have never been absent from nor uncared for by Him.

The best proof that He will never cease to love us lies in that He never began.

What we are for Him and what He is for us belongs to the realm of eternal values.

Without this we are nothing, in it we have all.”

–Geerhardus Vos, “Jeremiah’s Plaint and Its Answer,” Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation: Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos (ed. Richard B. Gaffin Jr.; Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing, 2001), 298. Vos is commenting on God’s words in Jeremiah 31:3, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”

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“The kingdom of God comes in power, but the power of the gospel is Christ crucified” by Jeremy Treat

“The thief on the cross looked at the man from Nazareth being crucified next to him and said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom’ (Luke 23:42). Somehow this man conceived of the crucified Jesus as ruling over a kingdom.

While the title on Christ’s cross—’The King of the Jews’—makes explicit that there is a connection between the kingdom and the cross, perhaps the crown of thorns provides the best image for explaining how they relate. This is not, after all, the first time that thorns have shown up in the story.

Adam was to be a servant-king in the garden, but because he did not exercise dominion over the ground and the animals, the serpent ruled over him and the ground was cursed by God. Thorns first appear as a direct result and manifestation of the curse (Gen 3:17–18).

Jesus comes as the last Adam, the faithful servant-king who not only fulfills Adam’s commission of ruling over the earth but removes the curse by taking it onto Himself. As Jesus wore the crown of thorns, He bore the curse of God. He is the ‘[seed] of a woman’ who crushed Satan with a bruised heel (Gen 3:15).

He is the seed of Abraham who ‘redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us . . . so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles’ (Gal 3:13–14). The thorns, which were a sign of the curse and defeat of Adam, are paradoxically transformed into a sign of the kingship and victory of Jesus.

As Augustine said, the crown of thorns is a symbol that ‘the kingdom which was not of this world overcame that proud world, not by the ferocity of fighting, but by the humility of suffering.’

Jesus is the king who reigns by bearing the curse of the people whom He so loves. The connection between the cross and the curse, however, does reveal that the title given to Jesus during his crucifixion—’The King of the Jews’—was only partially correct.

Inasmuch as the task of the Jews was to bring God’s blessing to all the earth (Gen 12:3) and thereby reverse the curse of sin in Genesis 3–11, Jesus—the Jewish Messiah—was claiming His throne not only over Israel but over all the earth. God accomplished His mission of restoring His creation through Jesus as He was enthroned as king on the cross.

The kingdom of God comes in power, but the power of the gospel is Christ crucified.”

–Jeremy R. Treat, The Crucified King: Atonement and Kingdom in Biblical and Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014), 252-253.

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“His only purpose in speaking to Moses was so that He might call everyone to Christ” by John Calvin

“God did not speak through Moses and the Prophets for nothing.

His only purpose in speaking to Moses was so that He might call everyone to Christ.

Therefore, it is clear that those who repudiate Christ are no disciples of Moses.”

–John Calvin, Calvin: Commentaries, Ed. Joseph Haroutunian (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1958), 104. Commenting on John 5:38.

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“This is what we should seek in the whole of Scripture” by John Calvin

“This is what we should in short seek in the whole of Scripture: truly to know Jesus Christ, and the infinite riches that are comprised in Him and are offered to us by Him from God the Father.

If one were to sift thoroughly the Law and the Prophets, he would not find a single word which would not draw and bring us to Him.

And for a fact, since all the treasures of wisdom and understanding are hidden in Him, there is not the least question of having, or turning toward, another goal; not unless we would deliberately turn aside from the light of truth, to lose ourselves in the darkness of lies.

Therefore, rightly does Saint Paul say in another passage that he would know nothing except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. And such knowledge although mean and contemptible to the mind of the flesh is nevertheless sufficient to occupy us all our lives. And we shall not waste our time if we employ all our study and apply all our understanding to profit from it.

What more would we ask for, as spiritual doctrine for our souls, than to know God, to be converted to Him, and to have His glorious image imprinted in us, so that we may partake of His righteousness, to become heirs of His Kingdom and to possess it in the end in full?

But the truth is that from the beginning God has given Himself, and at present gives Himself more fully, that we may contemplate Him in the face of his Christ. It is therefore not lawful that we turn away and become diverted even in the smallest degree by this or that.

On the contrary, our minds ought to come to a halt at the point where we learn in Scripture to know Jesus Christ and Him alone, so that we may be directly led by Him to the Father who contains in Himself all perfection.”

–John Calvin, “Preface to Olivetan’s New Testament,” Calvin: Commentaries, Ed. Joseph Haroutunian (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1958), 70.

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“If we would know Christ, we must seek Him in the Scriptures” by John Calvin

“This passage teaches us that if we would know Christ, we must seek Him in the Scriptures. Anyone who imagines Christ as he will, gets nothing but a mere blur.

So, we must first hold that Christ is known rightly nowhere but in Scripture. If this be so, our chief purpose in reading the Scriptures must be to arrive at a right knowledge of Christ.

Whoever turns aside from this aim, even though he wear himself out with learning all his life, will never arrive at truth; for what wisdom can we attain apart from the wisdom of God?

Moreover, since we are commanded to seek Christ in the Scriptures, He declares that our zeal in this matter shall not be in vain; for the Father Himself testifies that in them He shall certainly reveal His Son to us.

Many are deprived of this blessing, because they neglect reading the Scriptures, or do it cursorily and superficially. But it deserves utmost attention that Christ Himself commands us to probe deeply into this hidden treasure.

It was sheer apathy that led the Jews, who had the law in their very hands, to abhor Christ. The glory of God shone brightly in Moses, but they put up a veil and darkened it.

In this place, Scripture means obviously the Old Testament. It is not true that Christ appears first in the gospel.

It is rather that after the witness of the Law and the Prophets, He appeared in the gospel for everyone to see.”

–John Calvin, Calvin: Commentaries, Ed. Joseph Haroutunian (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1958), 105. Commenting on John 5:39.

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“Understanding Romans” by John Calvin

“There are commentaries on this epistle by many ancient and many modern writers. Indeed they could not have labored at a better task; because when anyone understands this epistle, the way is open before him to an understanding of the whole of Scripture.”

–John Calvin, “Epistle To Simon Grynaeus On The Commentary On Romans,” Calvin: Commentaries, Ed. Joseph Haroutunian (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1958), 74.

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