The Old Testament.
Many Christians are troubled by the Old Testament. In contrast to the nonviolent activist of love we find in Jesus, God as depicted in the Old Testament routinely uses or warns of violence and retribution. Some Christians–desiring to preserve a firm hold on inerrancy–use the Old Testament as a lens to read Jesus through, and they inevitably end up with a different image of Jesus than is portrayed in the Gospel narratives. Other Christians–desiring to preserve the image of Jesus portrayed in the Gospel narratives–end up jettisoning the Old Tesmant as divinely inspired–which is also a different attitude towards the OT than Jesus had. It seems like Christians are therefore left with a conundrum. When I come up against a conundrum, I take it as an indication that something in my presupposition(s) is eschew. Because of this, I’ve tried to see if there isn’t a different way of reading the Bible. I knew that Jesus Christ was the final and definitive revelation of God, and I took an agnostic stance towards the Bible from there. After quite a long intellectual journey, I’ve finally come across a way of reading the Bible that preserves inerrancy (Jesus’s view), allows Jesus to properly interpret the rest of the Bible, and allows us to use the Old Testament as a lens with which to see Jesus through.
This article in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society by Martin Pickup–New Testament Interpretation of the Old Testament: The Theological Rationale of Midrashic Exegesis–is a lengthy summary of my method of reading the Bible. Though I’ve yet to buy any full-length books on midrashic exegesis, I intend to. The whole article is well worth a read, but I’ll close this blog with the final paragraph from the article–which also summarizes my own viewpoint:
“[A]s believers in Jesus, we need to recognize that Christ provides the ﬁnal measure of God’s explicit revelation. He was, and is, the ultimate “context” in which all of the OT is to be read—a fact that most ancient Jews failed to accept (2 Cor 3:14–16). Apart from Christ, the OT is like a jig-saw puzzle that is missing its most important pieces. But when the OT is viewed midrashically, and its statements are considered in light of Jesus and his life, the riches of God’s eternal plan stand out in vivid relief.”