quotes – reading the OT

“The … church is in danger of having a cut-flower faith. Its message of Jesus is largely severed from its roots in the Old Testament Scriptures. This is … the result of neglect … I am part of a … tradition that began in the nineteenth century with the dream of restoring the church of the New Testament. The leaders of this tradition placed a great emphasis on the New Testament but neglected the Old. They failed to perceive that the Old Testament was the Bible of the church of the New Testament. … The Old Testament provided the glasses through which the early Christians looked at Jesus of Nazareth. … There would have been no Christianity without the Old Testament. … This book examines how the church fathers, the leaders and teachers of the church in the first four centuries, used the Old Testament as Christian Scripture.” [pp.11-12]

“… the church fathers never questioned that the Old Testament held a central position in the life of the church. They did not all agree on how it should be read in order to speak to the church, but … they never thought it should be dismissed as uncanonical or treated as second-class literature in comparison with the New Testament.” [p.29]

“The Old Testament had a tremendous influence on the making of the early Christian mind; it was Scripture for the earliest Christians even before the Gospels were considered Scripture. According to the accounts given in the New Testament, the Old Testament was the earliest means for telling the story of Jesus. When we Christians think of returning to the sources of our faith, this earliest Christian Bible must head the list of these sources or we will misunderstand and misrepresent our origins.” [p.46]

“We who are heirs of the Reformation cling tenaciously to the slogan ‘sola scriptura,’ and rightly so, for it is Scripture that provides the foundational stories and teachings of Christian faith. We often act, however, as if nothing significant or positive happened between the age of the apostles and the century in which the leaders of our own particular traditions arose. Had it not been for the efforts of the fathers of the late second and early third centuries … what we know as Christian Scripture today, if indeed such a concept would even exist, would have a vastly different appearance.” [p.74]

“The preacher … must not only understand the biblical text and be faithful to it but also re-imagine it in the contemporary world.” [p.94]

“It might be said the prophetic texts of the Old Testament served as the mortar for the church’s understanding of Christ. Mortar is not the primary material in the edifice. Bricks are the primary material. The primary material in the church’s understanding of Christ is the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Mortar, however, is essential to the edifice, enabling it to take form and hold together.” [p.141]

“The psalms can become our instruction book in prayer, teaching us how to lay our souls bare before God in God’s own words. They can also give a whole new agenda to our prayer life. When we begin to use the psalms as our own prayers we will find our prayers listed out of the narrow personal ruts they  tend to run in and expanded to the farthest horizons of God’s concerns.” [p.174]

“The true human being is the person who lives in the world as the image of God. This person is the final product of the divine sculptor’s work. … The true human being … is the person who has inhabited Christ to the point that his life is a Christ-shaped life.” [p.190]

Reading the Old Testament with the Ancient Church by Ronald Heine BakerAcademic, 2007)


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