In What Did Old Testament Saints Believe?

daniel-mccullough-539577-unsplash.jpgIn discussions about salvation and interpretation of the Old Testament, two related questions are often asked.

  1. How were the Old Testament saints saved? Or, in whom or what did they believe?
  2. How much did the Old Testament know about the coming Christ?


Recently, in reading through The Marrow of Modern Divinity by Edward Fisher, I came across a succinct, if slightly archaic, answer to these questions. In conversation form, Fisher explains how the Old Testament saints beheld Christ through the types and shadows of the Law. In short, he answers that the salvation we possess is of a piece with those under the old covenant. There are not two ways of salvation, but one, as Hebrews 11 suggests.

The difference between Israel and the church (which is today composed of Jews and Gentiles) is less about how they are saved, but how they came to know the one savior, Jesus Christ the Son of God. The former saw Christ through a veil of old covenant shadows and types; the latter have seen him in the substance of his person and work, now proclaimed through the witnesses of his apostles.

As always, such questions require elongated consideration about the whole Bible. But for short answers, what follows helpfully explains how the Old Testament saints beheld Christ. Continue reading

Eyes To See Him

Starting this week, a bunch of friends from Southern Seminary started a new Twitter account, and I hope it will be one worth ‘following.’

EyesToSeeHim is a Twitter venture designed to help others read the Bible better.  In particular, it is designed to help see the glory of Christ in every page of the Bible, 140 characters at a time.

Each of the guys who contribute to this “hermeneutical ministry” have a commitment to reading the Bible with Christ in view–some call this “Christocentric,” others call it “Christotelic.”  Either way, the aim is read Scripture with ‘Eyes To See Him.’

We read the Bible this way because this is how Jesus taught us to read the Scriptures (John 5:39; Luke 24:27).  It is the way that the Apostles read the Bible (Acts 28:23; Col 2:17).  And it is the way that most of us were assisted to the read the Bible while we studied at Southern Seminary.  I think it is fair to say that each of us did not arrive at this method of interpretation on our own–we were  helped immensely by our professors and teachers who themselves were taught.

In truth, none of us read the Bible well by ourselves.  The Spirit leads us into all truth (1 John 2:27), but he does so through the means of gifted teachers (Eph 4:11-16).  Left to our own devices we will put ourselves into the story of the Bible in the wrong places, and will be tempted to “moralize” the Scripture instead of believing the gospel message of the Bible and then responding with obedient faith.  Too many pulpits and Christian bookstores fail to put Christ in his proper place, as the telos of the Bible, and thus my hope is that we might help others read the Bible better, so that the gospel of Jesus Christ might grip the hearts of more and more Christians.  This is not an esoteric reading of the Bible, but one that reads each page in light of the full revelation of Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:1-3).

I hope you will benefit from this Twitter ministry and that it will help you read the Bible better.  Here are some of the contributors. I love these guys and am thankful for their ministry of the word. I would encourage you to keep up with them at their respective Twitter accounts, blogs, and/or ministries as they model Christ-centered ministry that renounces moralism and exalts the Messiah.

Phillip Bethancourt is a doctoral student at Southern Seminary working on the theme of warrior in Scripture.  He also works at the seminary and preaches regularly.

Jedidiah Coppenger is doctoral student at Southeastern Seminary who is working on a dissertation in area of gender studies and the church.  He also works for LifeWay and helps lead Baptist21.

Chip Dean is the hyper-active young pastor at Capshaw Baptist Church (near Huntsville, AL).  His youth ministry is a model for anyone wanting to bring biblical and systematic theology to local church ministry at the student level.

Sam Emadi is a Masters student at Southern Seminary and the youth pastor at Calvary Baptist Church (Seymour, IN).

Grant Gaines is a doctoral student at Southern Seminary who is researching local church ecclesiology.  He pastors Brushey Fork Baptist Church (Canaan, IN).

Trent Hunter is a graduate of Southern Seminary (M. Div.) who now works as a pastoral assistant to Ryan Kelly at the Desert Springs Church (Albuquerque, NM).

Robbie Sagers is a doctoral student at Southern Seminary researching the area of the Church and the Kingdom of Christ.  He is special assistant to Russell Moore at SBTS.

Justin Sampler is a graduate of Southern Seminary and a gifted preacher.  If you know of a good church in need of a good pastor, Justin is your guy.

Luke Stamps is a doctoral student at Southern Seminary researching the person of Christ.

The most important thing about each of these guys is their love for Christ, His Word, and their families–their wives and children, as well as, the family of God gathered in their local churches.   I have benefitted immensely from their insights into the Scriptures and their friendships and I hope others will too.

Soli Deo Gloria, dss

The Hourglass of Biblical History

In his discussion of biblical history and the relationship between Old Testament Israel and the New Testament Church, John Bright correctly observes:

Through the Old Testament the reader senses that the focus has been continually narrowed.  It begins with the broad canvas of creation and tells of the dealings of God with the whole race of mankind (Gen. 1-11); then it narrows to the people Israel whom God had called to be the special servants of his purpose; then still further to the search for a pure Remnant within Israel fit to be vessels of the divine intention.  At the center of the Bible’s drama the focus has narrowed to one man: the Messiah, Christ. [Consider Matthew 1:1-17].  But from Christ the focus again turns outward–first to the new Israel which is his Church and then through that Church, into the entire world.  The Church is called to take up–[i.e. continue and/or fulfill, more than replace]— the destiny of the true Israel, Servant Israel, and become the missionary people of the Kingdom of God (John Bright, The Kingdom of God [Nashville: Abingdon, 1953], 232-33).

Bright’s description shapes biblical history into an hourglass with Jesus Christ at the center.  Jesus’ central place in the biblical storyline makes him the narrow and necessary passage through which all the promises of the Old Testament must come to the post-Pentecost people of God.  Well said JB.

Sola Deo Gloria, dss