Writing of the Old Testament

The ice storm that hit Ohio on February 1, 2011 resulted in precarious road conditions and power losses.  As a result, my travel schedule for that day was wiped clean and I found myself with a rare opportunity to read a book that was  not related to work or grad school for more than a half hour.  I chose to pick up On the Old Testament by Mark Driscoll from his series of short books, “A Book You’ll Actually Read”.

In addition to giving a short overview of each book, emphasizing that the point of the Old Testament is Jesus, and giving some helpful resources on studying the Old Testament, Driscoll spends a large percentage of writing on how the Old Testament was written and its being God’s Word.  It is this portion of the book that received the most highlights from my pen.  Here are some of the notable quotables:

The belief that God wrote Scripture in concert with human authors whom he inspired to perfectly record his words is called verbal plenary inspiration. Very simply, this means that God the Holy Spirit inspired not just the thoughts of Scripture, but also the very details and exact words that were perfectly recorded for us as Scripture.  Jesus himself echoed this truth when he said that because God gave us Scripture, it could not be broken (Matt. 5:18; Luke 16:17; John 10:35; c.f. Ex. 19:6; Deut. 32:46-47; Prov. 30:5-6). (p. 20)

Therefore, the answer to the question, who wrote the Old Testament? is that God wrote the Old Testament through human authors whom God the Holy Spirit inspired to perfectly pen his truth.  Subsequently, Christians believe that Scripture is our highest authority, or metaphorical Supreme Court, by which all lesser authorities are tested.  Practically, this means that lesser courts of reason, tradition, and culture are under the highest court of truth, which is divinely inspired Scripture…Scripture itself tells us that God reveals truth to us in such things as creation and our conscience, but that the beliefs we may subscribe to from such forms of lesser revelation are to be tested by Scripture.  The Old Testament models this for us when it does occasionally quote other books such as the book of Jashar (Josh. 10:13; 2 Sam. 1:18) and the Book of the Wars of the Lord (Num. 21:14). In quoting them, the Bible is not saying that they should be included as sacred Scripture, but rather that they do contain some helpful truth. Practically speaking, this means that a mechanic, doctor, or computer programmer may not consult Leviticus to turn a brake drum, perform open heart surgery, or make an addition to a Linux program, but these experts do possess some helpful truths that, if not forbidden or contradicted by Scripture, are to be gladly received for our benefit (pp 21-22).

The Old Testament also provides richly revealing poetic images that further illuminate its characteristics. God invites our creative imaginations to not merely believe that Scripture is true, but to also meditate on the images through which the Holy Spirit will reveal to us a deeper appreciation for his Word. God does so because his is not only Creator, but creative, and he created us to appreciate such things as poetry, symbolism, and analogy (p 23).

 

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