Category Archives: Old Testament

“The neglect of Scripture by spiritual leaders is one of the greatest evils in the world” by Martin Luther

To the venerable lord, Fredrick, Abbot of Saint Giles of Nuremberg, my gracious lord and patron. Grace and peace in Christ, our Lord and Savior!

My venerable and dear lord and patron:

While I should like to show my gratitude to you for your love and favor to me, I am, by earthly standards, a beggar. Besides, even if I had much, there is nothing special I could do for you in your position.

And so I turned to my wealth, which I treasure so much, and took up my beloved Psalm, the beautiful Confitemini (i.e. Psalm 118), putting down on paper the thoughts which came to me.

I am quite idle here in the wilderness. And yet, in order to spare my head, I need to pause and rest occasionally in the hard work that I hope to complete soon, the translation of the Old Testament prophets into German.

These thoughts of mine I decided to send you as a gift. I have nothing better. Though some may consider this a lot of useless drivel, I know it contains nothing evil or unchristian.

This is my own beloved Psalm. Although the entire Psalter and all of Holy Scripture are dear to me as my only comfort and source of life, I fell in love with this psalm especially.

Therefore I call it my own. When emperors and kings, the wise and the learned, and even saints could not aid me, this Psalm proved a friend and helped me out of many great troubles.

As a result, it is dearer to me than all the wealth, honor, and power of the Pope, the Turk, and the emperor. I would be most unwilling to trade this Psalm for all of it.

But lest anyone, knowing that this Psalm belongs to the whole world, raise his eyebrow at my claim that this Psalm is mine, may he be assured that no one is being robbed. After all, Christ is mine, and yet He belongs to all believers.

I will not be jealous but will gladly share what is mine. Would to God all the world would claim this Psalm for its own, as I do! Peace and love could not compare with such a friendly quarrel.

Sad to say, there are few, even among those who should do better, who honestly say even once in their lifetime to Scripture or to one of the Psalms: ‘You are my beloved Book! You must be my very own Psalm!’

The neglect of Scripture, even by spiritual leaders, is one of the greatest evils in the world. Everything else, arts or literature, is pursued and practiced day and night, and there is no end of labor and effort.

But Holy Scripture is neglected as though there were no need of it. Those who condescend to read it want to absorb everything at once.

There has never been an art or a book on earth that everyone has so quickly mastered as the Holy Scriptures!? But its words are not, as some think, mere literature. They are words of life, intended not for speculation and fantasy but for life and action.

But why complain? No one pays any attention to our lament.

May Christ our Lord help us by His Spirit to love and honor His holy Word with all our hearts. Amen.

I commit myself to your prayer.

Out of the desert,
July 1, 1530
Martin Luther”

–Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 14: Selected Psalms III (ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann; vol. 14; Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999), 45–46. This passage is from the preface to Luther’s exposition of Psalm 118, his “beloved Psalm.”

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“Chart and compass” by Thomas Watson

“The Scripture is the chart and compass by which we sail to the new Jerusalem.”

–Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity Contained in Sermons Upon the Westminster Assembly’s Catechism (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1692/1970), 35.

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“A plotline that flows from Eden” by David Schrock

“In the end, the only typology worth preaching is that which we find in Scripture. Fortunately, we do not need to ‘go over hedge and ditch’ to ‘make a way’ to get to Christ, as the old Welsh preacher said it.

All of Scripture already is written with a plotline that flows from Eden through Israel’s hills and valleys until it terminates and overflows in the person and work of Jesus Christ. We do not need to fear typology nor create new spiritual meaning.

Rather, following the terrain of the text, we need to keep reading the Bible until we like beekeepers find the sweet scent of gospel honey in the pages of God’s Word.

If we do that, we will not (need to) add meaning to the text through some spiritual method of interpretation. Rather, we will hear what the Spirit originally intended as we pay careful attention to the contours of the biblical plotline.”

–David Schrock, “From Beelines to Plotlines: Typology That Follows the Covenantal Topography of Scripture,” The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 21.1 (2017): 48-49.

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“Biblical theology is essential ” by Graeme Goldsworthy

“The serious and informed teaching of biblical theology is essential to the life of the church, like the hub of a wheel. The hub of the church and of the life of the believer is Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord.

He is not only the hermeneutical center of the whole Bible, but, according to the biblical testimony, He gives ultimate meaning to every fact in the universe. He is thus the hermeneutical principle of all reality.”

–Graeme Goldsworthy, “Biblical Theology as the Heartbeat of Effective Ministry,” in Biblical Theology: Retrospect & Prospect, Ed. Scott Hafemann (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), 284.

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“Dear is the treasure who lies in them” by Martin Luther

“What is the New Testament but a public preaching and proclamation of Christ, set forth through the sayings of the Old Testament and fulfilled through Christ? In order that those who are not more familiar with it may have instruction and guidance for reading the Old Testament with profit, I have prepared this preface to the best of the ability God has given me.

I beg and really caution every pious Christian not to be offended by the simplicity of the language and stories encountered there, but fully realize that, however simple they may seem, these are the very words, works, judgments, and deeds of the majesty, power, and wisdom of the most high God.

For these are the Scriptures which make fools of all the wise and understanding, and are open only to the small and simple, as Christ says in Matthew 11:25.

Therefore, dismiss your own opinions and feelings, and think of the Scriptures as the loftiest and noblest of holy things, as the richest of mines which can never be sufficiently explored, in order that you may find that divine wisdom which God lays here before you in such simple guise as to quench all pride.

Here you find the swaddling cloths and the manger in which Christ lies, and to which the angel points the shepherds (Luke 2:12). Simply and lowly are these swaddling cloths, but dear is the treasure, Christ, who lies in them.”

–Martin Luther, “Preface to the Old Testament (1523/1545),” in Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings, 2nd Ed, Ed. Timothy F. Lull (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2005), 114.

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“Jesus never read the New Testament” by Christopher J.H. Wright

“In the midst of the many intrinsically fascinating reasons why Old Testament study is so rewarding, the most exciting to me is the way it never fails to add new depths to my understanding of Jesus.

I find myself aware that in reading the Hebrew scriptures I am handling something that gives me a closer common link with Jesus than any archaeological artefact could do. For these are the words He read. These were the stories He knew.

These were the songs He sang. These were the depths of wisdom and revelation and prophecy that shaped His whole view of ‘life, the universe and everything.’ This is where He found His insights into the mind of His Father God.

Above all, this is where He found the shape of His own identity and the goal of His own mission. In short, the deeper you go into understanding the Old Testament, the closer you come to the heart of Jesus. (After all, Jesus never actually read the New Testament!).”

–Christopher J.H. Wright, Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1995), ix.

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“The meaning of the Pentateuch” by John H. Sailhamer

“The big idea of the Pentateuch is the importance of living by faith.”

–John H. Sailhamer, The Meaning of the Pentateuch (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2009), 22.

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