The NT and OT

I have read some great material today on Scripture’s inerrancy and the interpretations of the Old and New Testament writers. Here are some key quotes:

“The writers of the Bible did know what they were doing when they wrote. I do not believe that they always knew all that they were doing. I believe that there are mysterious words of prophecy in the Prophets and the Psalms, for example, which had a far richer and more glorious fulfillment than the inspired writers knew when they wrote. Yet even in the case of those mysterious words I do not think that the sacred writers were mere automata. They did not know the full meaning of what they wrote, but they did know part of the meaning, and the full meaning was in no contradiction with the partial meaning but was its glorious unfolding.” -J. Gresham Machen, 1936

The following two quotes are from Dan McCartney:

“Certainly grammatical-historical exegesis is the most basic part of the foundation for understanding any biblical text. However, the conviction that the grammatical-historical meaning is the entire and exclusive meaning of the text seems to stem more from post-Enlightenment rationalistic presuppositions than from an analysis of the Bible’s understanding and interpretation of itself. Since such analysis leads to “problems,” I suggest that the problems are not really generated by the NT’s use of the Old, but rather by our expectations as to what the NT’s use of the Old ought to be. These precommitments not only yield difficulties but also have led to what in this writer’s view is an impoverishment of hermeneutics” (103).

McCartney’s 4 theses for striving for a hermeneutic that is genuinely harmonious with the Bible: “First, hermeneutical method is a product of world view. Even for Christians, this world view is influenced not by Scripture alone but inescapably by cultural, intellectual, linguistic (pace Barr), spiritual, and even physical environment. Second, hermeneutical method is subservient to hermeneutical goal. That is, the method is simply the tool used to reach a goal which is at least vaguely known beforehand. Third, our world view must be compatible with the biblical writers’ world view. An interpreter must recognize the function of world view, not only in the biblical writers but also in one’s own interpretations, and must seek consciously to bring his or her world view into harmony with that of the bible. Finally, our hermeneutical goal must maintain identity with the goal of the New Testament writers, namely, the focus on Jesus Christ and his redemptive program” (103).

To read more in depth discussion about his theses, check out Dan G. McCartney’s Article “The New Testament’s Use of the Old Testament” pgs. 101-16 in Inerrancy and Hermeneutics, edited by Harvie M. Conn.



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