The Theology of the Old Testament

The Theology of the Old Testament

The Theology of the Old Testament

The Theology of the Old Testament

Excerpt

This book is written for those whose acquaintance with the modern method of Bible study has not produced the expected religious results. They have some knowledge of the sources, dates, authorship, and content; but it is largely fragmentary knowledge, disconnected and detached from the faith men live by. Nearly twenty years of teaching, both in college and in theological seminary, have made clear that an emphasis which is placed exclusively upon a critical analysis of the biblical text and literary materials tends to produce both confusion and indifference. What is needed is the presentation of the material contained in the Bible in the form of living truths to which its writers were so passionately dedicated. This can be done only by a complete allegiance to the ideals of scholarly research and a frank acknowledgment of a religious motivation. Both are essential to an adequate understanding of the Bible.

It is fruitless for teachers of the Old Testament to exhort their ministerial students to do more effective biblical preaching while continuing to stress only questions of origin, unity, secondary sources, period of composition, and textual glosses or interpolations. The Protestant ministry will react to this type of teaching either by a superficial treatment of biblical texts or by a complete rejection of the critical method in favor of rank literalism. When laymen in the realms of science, business, and military leadership are declaring with deep earnestness that the world profoundly needs a faith rooted in the Christian religion, it is time to rethink the content and goals of biblical teaching in the light of its creation of such a faith. This book is the result of sober and protracted reflection upon this problem.

Preachers and writers upon religious subjects are particularly prone to reveal the limitations of their biblical knowledge with respect to the Old Testament. Having never surveyed the magnificent panorama of Israel's religion with quickened imagination, they have seized upon particular passages to support a vague feeling that the Old Testament is inferior in ethical and religious quality to the New Testament. An outstanding preacher recently in a sermon addressed to a sophisticated . . .

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