The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross

The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross

The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross

The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross


This modern classic of biblical scholarship explains what the apostles meant when they used such words as "redeem, " "covenant, " "propitiate, " "reconcile, " and "justify." Leon Morris carefully explores these themes against the backgrounds of both Old Testament Judaism and New Testament Christianity -- a rewarding task that results in a more complete understanding of these key Christian terms. Features new cover.


When the present writer first began to read seriously on the atonement he discovered that some of the great theological words such as ‘redemption’, ‘propitiation’, and ‘justification’ are often used in a way which seems to indicate that they mean different things to different people. If we may take redemption, the subject of our opening chapter, as an example, some writers, as we there point out, practically equate it with deliverance; others see in it a reference to a substitutionary transaction; while others use it as a comprehensive term for the whole Christian salvation. For some it has a backward reference, pointing to the satisfaction for sin made on the cross, while for others it is essentially forward-looking and gives expression to the liberation from sin’s bondage which enables the believer to live the Christ-like life. There is similar uncertainty and ambiguity attaching to the use of some other terms.

Now it ought to be possible to discover what the characteristic Christian expressions mean. One line of inquiry starts from the fact that the New Testament writers were steeped in the language and ideas of the Old Testament. An examination of the relevant Old Testament passages will reveal to us one of the influences which moulded the thinking of our writers, and which must, therefore, help us as we seek to understand their language.

Again, since the New Testament was written in the ordinary speech of ordinary men (and not the classical language of the scholar or literary man), the flood of light which has been thrown on this type of speech by modern discoveries of papyri, ostraka and inscriptions must illuminate many New Testament expressions. This, then, is a further field for investigation.

A third source is ancient Jewish literature. While the Christians vigorously repudiated many Rabbinic conclusions they yet discussed many of the same problems, and made use of the same terminology. Therefore it will usually repay us to examine the way the Rabbis used any term we are investigating.

This book, then, is not a full-scale study of the atonement, but a . . .

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