DIGGING DEEP – 3 by Abidan Paul Shah

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Digging Deep
Digging Deep

Last Week – Earliest period of biblical interpretation – Early Jewish Interpretation (Hoi Polloi Podcast #8)

  • Pharisees (Midrash),
  • Sadducees (Literal),
  • Essenes and Qumran Community (Pesher = prophecy),
  • Diaspora (Allegory)

Now we come to the 2nd period of biblical interpretation – Jesus and the Apostles

  • How they used the OT really matters? It’s not just about how they quoted or alluded to the OT. It’s about where does Christ fit in the grand scheme of God’s revelation, the Bible. It’s the mindset of the Jesus and the NT writers.
  • It’s also about how we can now study the Bible, the OT and the NT. 

There are basically 3 schools of thoughts here:

  1. Single Meaning, Unified Referents
  • What the OT writer intends by his words is what the NT author intends.

John 13:18   “I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.’

Psalm 41:9 Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.

Passages that help – II Samuel 7:12-25; Psalm 132:12

  1. Single Meaning, Multiple Contexts and Referents
  • The words of the OT writer frequently take on new dimensions of significance and are applied to new referents and new situations as God’s purposes unfold in the larger canonical context.

Acts 4 24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: “Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? 26 The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ.’

Psalm 2 1  Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed,

  1. Fuller Meaning, Single Goal
  • NT writers often perceive new meanings in OT texts that are not necessarily closely related to the meanings intended by the original authors. This is based on the conviction that the Scriptures point to and are fulfilled in Christ.

Matt. 2:14   When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”

Hosea 11:1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.

Test Passages:

Matt. 2:16   Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: 18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more.”

Jer. 31:15   Thus says the LORD: “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.”


Romans 10 6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or, “ ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Deut. 30:11   “For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 14 But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.


The Analogy of the house with foundation and roof

Final Comments: Yes – we do see Jesus using the exegetical methods of his contemporaries to answer them (we saw this last week) but that does not mean that He endorsed their methods. If anything, we only see the pesher type method being used repeatedly. As to the apostles, there is no one system of Jewish exegesis that they adhere to. We do need to deal with the advancement in hermeneutical understanding of rabbinic exegesis (Midrash). But, we should deal as sincerely and intricately as possible with the original context first. We need to be slow in using scripture to interpret scripture (Analogy of Faith). We should keep Israel and church distinct. God has many promises and prophecies still to be fulfilled for them. Nonetheless, Christ is the only way to salvation and He is the fulfillment and the end of Scripture


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