2017-03-12 - Exodus Study
How Should We Study the Old Testament?
The second section of this introduction deals with how one should approach the Old Testament. There are certain general principals that must be understood in the study of any Old Testament book. There is a tendency among some to see significant differences between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New. The statement is made that as peoples mature as cultures their view of God also matures. The God of the Old is a God of vengeance, of anger, of war, while the God of the New is a God of peace, love and acceptance, but as one studies all Scripture it is obvious that:
God always acts in conformity to His nature. The Old Testament reveals who God is, related to His nature. God is eternal Spirit, alive and personal. He is the first cause, while uncaused Himself. He is Holy, righteous, just, loving, merciful, etc. It is absolutely vital to remember this principle, especially when dealing with Old Testament History, which some times presents difficulties in understanding/accepting God’s actions.
All history is in God’s sovereign control. There are no accidents in history. God directs and/or permits the course of world and personal events. This should be a comfort for us as believers, for we know that no matter how difficult things get, the Lord is in control, and we can depend on Him.
Israel is God’s divinely called and favored nation. God called Abraham to be the father of the nation. Israel was not called because of her superiority, but because of God’s grace, and one of the very first things we’ll see is the birth of the nation Israel.
Redemption is the key subject of the Old Testament. This starts with the promise of a Messiah in Genesis 3, through the words of the prophet Malachi. Redemption through God’s grace and mercy is offered to all men.
Revelation is progressive. In studying Exodus, we must draw on later sections of Scripture for clarification. This means that prophecies that were given early in history are not complete and comprehensive. Prophecy given later in history gives more detail and clarity to that which has gone before. Because we have the full picture, we tend to project that understanding back on prophecies that could not have been understood with clarity by their recipients.
Conclusion: So we have addressed the questions of why and how to address the Old Testament. Next time, we will introduce the book of Exodus and look at the themes. Finally, we will go back to Genesis to set the stage for the slavery of the Hebrews in Egypt.
Study to be continued.
All verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.
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