KF: How important is the Old Testament to Paul’s discourse as he writes this letter? Would you briefly touch on some of the more prevalent OT motifs that Paul incorporates, and how they enrich our understanding of the redemptive work God has done for us in Christ?
JVF: Paul’s Bible was his Old Testament. If you were to ask him to quote the Bible, he would have undoubtedly quoted the Old Testament. If you pricked his finger, he bled Old Testament Scripture, themes, and its narratives. At a number of points Paul cites a series of Old Testament texts in his discussion of justification by faith alone, such as Deuteronomy 27:26, Psalm 143:1, Habakkuk 2:4, Leviticus 18:5, Deuteronomy 21:23, Genesis 12, 15, 17, 22, Joel 2:28, and Isaiah 32:15 (Gal. 3:10-14). He cites at least seven different Old Testament texts, if not more, in the span of five verses. Paul also refers to the Genesis narrative with his appeal to Hagar and Sarah as types that represent Mt. Sinai and Zion (the Jerusalem above) (Gal. 4:21-31). And at key points Paul employs language that is evocative of Israel’s Old Testament exodus and wilderness wanderings when he characterizes the law as something that held Israel in captivity and bondage (e.g., Gal. 4:8ff), but through Christ they have been set free to “walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16ff). In a word, the reader of Galatians really has to know his Old Testament to appreciate fully Paul’s epistle.
If I am not careful, they can mask my ignorance of Scripture and give me a false sense that I know my way around its pages. I do not labor for understanding because the moment I hit a hard passage, I immediately resolve my discomfort of feeling “lost” by glancing down at the notes. And hearing their authoritative tone, I can grow forgetful that they are, in fact, only man’s words—commentary, an educated opinion, profitable but not infallible.
This week’s selections includes Dr. Sproul’s Knowing Christ: The I AM Sayings of Jesus, and Think Like a Christian teaching series (download), and A Holy Ambition: To Preach Where Christ Has Not Been Named (paperback), among many other items. Sale ends at midnight (Eastern Time).
Over the past year I have prayed long and hard about going back to school to pursue my Master’s of Divinity. I’ve sought the counsel of perhaps a dozen pastors and Christian leaders. I’ve researched schools, financial options, and everything related to seminary. I have come away feeling moved of God to pursue a Master’s of Divinity degree. The school that I ended up choosing, based on a variety of factors, is Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL. Choosing the school was the hard part, with several other schools very closely “in the running” if you will. I’m excited and a bit nervous. I haven’t been in school for about ten years. There is a significant financial obligation. And, I’m a busy man already with my role as senior pastor at Gages Lake Bible Church, and author, and a husband of one and a father of four.
So why attend seminary? Well, in true blog fashion, here are five reasons.
God loves music. He created it. The problem is that sometimes us Christians act like we hate the art of song. That must be the case, for how else could we justify the mass production of what attempts to pass for “Christian” radio these days?