Vol.XVI No.IX Pg.7
November 1979

?You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Is it wrong to use the Old Testament for sermon texts? We are not under the Old Covenant, but does this mean O.T. principles are invalid? HK


God gave the Scriptures making up the thirty-nine books we call the Old Testament, and this revelation of His will is part of the total scheme of redemption. We err if we use Old or New Testament out of context, making applications unwarranted by the total picture; but both Old and New Testaments tell us of God's dealings with man, and both are necessary.

This is not to say redemption in Christ is dependent upon Judaism. On the contrary, "they without us should not be made perfect" (Heb. 11:40). We are not questioning the completeness of the "law of liberty" when we say that all inspired Scriptures are profitable ...that we may be complete ... to every good work (2 Tim. 3:16). That passage refers to Old as well as to New Testament Scriptures. We are just saying what the Apostles and evangelists of the N.T. said by their use of the O.T., viz., it was something more than prophecies of Christ.

"I would not that ye should be ignorant..." and "these things were our examples" (1 Cor. 10:) suggest an application of principles established of old: the need for faithfulness and punishment of the wicked. The Hebrew writer teaches the benefit of chastening by reference to an O.T. text (Heb. 12:5-6). By the same method Peter emphasizes the Holiness of God (1 Pet. 1:16), and Paul. argues that they who preach the gospel should live of the gospel (1 Cor. 9:6-14). When Daniel showed Nebuchadnezzar that "the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men" he showed us the same principle, whether or not the manifestation is the same. With a little time and a cross-reference Bible this list of examples can be greatly extended.

Jesus shows (Matt. 5:) that there is much more in the Old Law than the legalistic Jew had imagined. Even in Moses' time, "thou shalt not kill" was intended to forbid vindictive anger, and "thou shalt not commit adultery" forbade lust. Some things were "suffered" which "were not so" (Matt. 19:8) from the very beginning. It is not true that the Old Law dealt only with externals. The laws of that moonlight age had in them the seed of the ideals to be more fully revealed in the sun light of the New. They were basically sound, being founded upon divine authority. (Study Hosea 6:6; Amos 5:21-24; Micah 6:8.)

The Hebrew writer says the law had a "shadow" of good things to come and not the "image." Lightfoot comments, "The skia is a dark outline, faint and indistinct like an artist's first sketch of a picture; the eikon is the image itself, an exact representation

" But the outline must accurately fit into the finished picture, and what God revealed of Himself of old is enhanced, made plainer, in the New Testament. It is not contradicted. We should learn to use the divine revelations of the Old Testament as the skeleton upon which the flesh of the New fits perfectly, and which gives added insight to marvelous truth