- Biblical Theology (Geerhardus Vos)
- Far As The Curse Is Found: The Covenant Story of Redemption (Michael Williams)
- The Mystery of Christ, His Covenant, and His Kingdom (Samuel Renihan)
- Introduction To Covenant Theology (Theocast)
Jon Moffitt: Hi, this is Jon. Today on Theocast, Justin and I are going to talk about interpreting God’s word. Do we just need Jesus and the Bible to fully understand everything that God has revealed to us? Are systems, confessions, and creeds bad? Do they influence negatively? Is it safe to say that we can actually read God’s word without having a system? We are going to explain what biblical theology is and what the history of. Christianity has believed throughout time about interpreting God’s word.
In our members’ podcast, can we talk about how all Scripture is Christian Scripture—including the Old Testament. We also share some thoughts on dispensational theology and how your system of interpreting God’s word will affect your assurance. We hope you enjoy.
We’re going to talk about a subject that is very important to the Christian life. It’s important for how the Bible will affect you and your relationship with the Lord. It is a subject that Justin and I have talked about for the last hour and a half and could talk about for another five hours. It is something we’re very passionate about. We are going to be discussing how one engages with and interprets God’s word. How do we read, understand, and apply it?
I was raised thinking that we simply need to read God’s word in context, take it at face value, and then apply it as we have read it. We didn’t allow any creed, confession, system, or other churches or denominations to tell us how to read the Bible. We believed that the Holy Spirit can come in and illuminate God’s word and He can bring the truth of God’s word to apply to my heart. I just need to make sure that I read it and that the Holy Spirit lives within me and I will have proper application.
Justin Perdue: You’ll hear people talk about reading the Bible as though we can come to Scripture without any presuppositions, as though we don’t have anything in our backpack already. It’s assumed we just come empty and ready to be filled, and that we can take God’s word on its own terms without any notions as to what any of this might mean or might not mean for us.
Also, you used the word system—this is another big thing. There are a number of slogans that are thrown around with the best of intentions. You’ll hear people say no creed but Christ, no confession but the Bible—things like that. We’re not talking about creeds and confessions so much today, but you will also hear people imply that it’s a negative thing that we would ever come to Scripture with a theological system or framework. There are a lot of people who are allergic to that kind of language. It’s assumed you need to come not only with no presuppositions, but you need to come with no system or framework of theology.
Not to bury the lead but I think what we are going to talk about today is the fact that everybody has presuppositions when we come to Scripture. Secondly, everybody has a theological system. The question is whether or not your presuppositions and your theological system are any good. That’s the real question.
Jon Moffitt: And even recognize that you have them.
Justin Perdue: Correct. Recognize you have them and then evaluate them biblically.
Here’s the thing: we are not saying that we need all kinds of stuff that we would not get from the Bible in order to understand the Bible. That’s not what we’re saying. We want to look at the Bible on its own terms in its entire context, and then allow that to help us interpret each individual passage.
This is not to be punchy, but a lot of people will tell you not to read a theological system onto the text, that there is no creeds but Christ, and all this kind of stuff, as they waive their study Bible in your face. What do you think those study notes are? You may define these terms: it’s systematic theology, it’s biblical theology—it’s a system and a framework whether you think it is or not. It is what it is.
Jon Moffitt: Almost every study Bible comes from a theological system. They’re interpreting it from a grid. Let’s put it this way: if you didn’t grow up on an island, you had zero context for church at all and you literally started with Genesis 1, you’re going to have to start creating some kind of an understanding by chapters 3-5. The Bible is a big book full of different genres.
Let’s say you do have just a bit of a theological background. You lived and grew up in the United States or the UK or somewhere where the concept of the Trinity is not foreign. Almost everyone who reads their Bibles reads it with a Trinitarian system, meaning they have a systematic theology of the Trinity. What do we mean by systematic? When you look at all of Scripture, pull out what it says about a specific topic, then formulate a conclusion about it, we systematize Scripture into a theological conclusion.
Justin Perdue: We’re teaching doctrine or truth claims.
Jon Moffitt: Right. So we would say that the Bible concludes that God is a Trinity, right? He is one in essence but three in Person. Anytime that you read Yahweh, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit, you are not reading that apart from your understanding that these aren’t three different gods, these aren’t three different beings that are completely separate, or that one was created and one is eternal. You believe that all are eternal, all are equal, all are God, and you put that upon the text.
Justin Perdue: Why do you believe that? It’s because Christians throughout history have surveyed the entire Scripture and have seen where God is Father, God is Son, and God is Holy Spirit—and He is one God. Then they attempted to articulate that as faithfully as they could according to the word of God. Now we have the doctrine of the Trinity.
Every Christian—in a Western context anyway—regardless of your theological framework, read Scripture from a Trinitarian perspective and come to the text with that presupposition.
Jon Moffitt: If you don’t, you’re not a Christian.
Justin Perdue: If you’re not Trinitarian, you are not historically orthodox.
Jon Moffitt: That’s the simplest example I can give for people. If you are historically going to hold to what Christians have held to from the beginning of time, then you have to be Trinitarian and you’re going to be reading Scripture in that way. That is where we use our systematic theology to help us interpret Scripture.
What we’re going to argue is that no one comes to the Bible and just reads it without a presupposition. We all are presupposing upon the text something about the text, and you have to determine what your presupposition is. I didn’t realize I had a presupposition when I was growing up—through high school and going through college—until I learned about presuppositionalism. Then I learned about hermeneutics and interpreting God’s word. Then I was taught a dispensational hermeneutic. I was taught to read the Bible from that perspective.
What I realized when I was being taught dispensationalism in college and then in seminary was that it wasn’t foreign to me because I’ve been taught that my entire life. I legitimately just thought I was opening God’s word and I was just reading it for what it was. But I was actually putting upon the text this presupposition that had been handed to me. Everyone has these. You just have to be able to identify which one you have.
Justin Perdue: You’ve used a couple of terms. You already defined systematic theology. Another word that you threw out there is hermeneutics, and what that means is a method of biblical interpretation or how we understand the Bible. Then you also talked about biblical theology, and what we mean by that is understanding the progressive nature of God’s unfolding revelation as it pertains to the whole story of Scripture—and that story being the redemption of His people. Inevitably, when we have this conversation about how we understand the Bible, we are talking in terms of hermeneutics or interpretation, we’re talking in terms of biblical theology and systematic theology, and all of these things matter for us as we come to the text and aim to make sense of it.
There are people who ask if they have to go to seminary in order to interpret God’s word rightly, and I would say a lot of people who went to seminary don’t interpret God’s word rightly. It’s how we got heresy. There’s nothing in Scripture that demands or commands that, and this is not what this podcast is about. This podcast is about helping us really look at the text and use it to help govern, as we concluded, Trinitarian theology from the text.
There are other overarching theologies that help us interpret all of Scripture. One of the things that is very important in hermeneutics when you’re giving the explanation of a text, you’re exposing the meaning of a text. There are words that are being thrown out there that every interpreter of God’s word, no matter what their theological system is, is going to understand. We’re going to look at the grammar of the text. What is the actual grammar telling us? If you’re a serious Bible interpreter, that’s important. The grammar and even the syntax, meaning the structure of the sentences and how things hang together.
Jon Moffitt: Right. This is important in any type of reading. If you’re going to read history, a letter, or a document, reading comprehension is important. We want to start with the basics of the grammar. Then we understand that the Bible was written in a historic document form.
Justin Perdue: It is written in a historical context in time and space, like events that are happening.
Jon Moffitt: Sure. We’re gonna look at the grammar. We’re going to look at the history.
The dispensational model and the covenantal understanding of Scripture, both would hold to a grammatical-historical understanding of Scripture. The grammar is important; it’s vital. The history is important as well.
When you’re reading something, when you’re looking at the grammar and you’re understanding it from a historic standpoint, you have to understand the context. Who wrote this? Then there’s a really important concept that I was taught in college and in seminary: the author’s intention in writing what he wrote. All of that is helping you follow the text along the way: grammar, history, and authorial intent. Those are some ground rules that anyone who is serious about Bible interpretation would hold on to. This is where things are going to start to change. This is where we would say your system is going to influence what happens next.
Justin Perdue: I will positively state some things that we at Theocast agree about that I don’t think are controversial at all. You’ve already talked about the grammatical situation, the historical situation, and how we want to take those things seriously. You’ve also mentioned authorial intent: what was the intent of the author? Those things all matter. Then there is something that we would contend that is perhaps even greater, and that is the historic Christian confession and acknowledgment that there is one Divine Author of Scripture. There is the agreement that the Holy Spirit inspired men—He did not usurp their personalities but He inhabited them and their personalities—and had them write down exactly what He wanted written down. This is a great work of God as He superintended the process of revelation.
Given that there is one Divine Author of Scripture, we are also concerned not just with the human author’s intent as much as he understood it—Moses, David, the evangelists that who wrote the gospels, the apostles who wrote New Testament, epistles, etc.—but we are also concerned with God’s intention. What did God intend to reveal through these particular passages of Scripture as his revelation continues to unfold?
Jon Moffitt: A great passage that’s used just to defend and explain what it is that you meant by the Holy Spirit is the one governing is 2 Peter 1:21: “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” God, the Author, is the One who is influencing and moving what should be said and why we can call it perfect and infallible.
Justin Perdue: 2 Peter 1 is perhaps the most clear text. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God.” We understand that God is inhabiting the personalities and even the minds of men, not overcoming them but inhabiting them, so that they write what He intends to be written down as they are carried along by His Spirit.
We would be irresponsible to not consider the Divine Author’s intent in every passage of Scripture. What is God doing from Genesis to Revelation? What is God telling us about Himself, about us, about His ways with us, and about the way of salvation and redemption? We want to interpret every passage of Scripture in light of that grand design that God has. We’ve got to start asking some questions like where would we understand those things? How would we understand the grand authorial intent of Scripture that comes from God Himself?
Jon Moffitt: To that point, we now have mentioned context and now the greater context. When we are interpreting God’s word, we always have to look at the greater context of all of Scripture. So there is grammar, history, and the immediate context. Let’s take Genesis 3:15 as an example; this will be where we end up unfolding all of Scripture for us at this moment.
In Genesis 3:15, we have Moses as the author. The grammar tells us that he is giving us a history in somewhat of a poetic form. Often, much of the Old Testament was written so that it could be sung and memorized by music. There’s a poetic nature to what he’s writing, but it’s clearly the unfolding of a history. As for the author’s intentions, this is where things can get a little muddy because we don’t look at Scripture in a greater context. This is where the evolution and creation debate come into. Somehow we are thinking that the author’s intention is to prove seven-day literal creation, and we’re not even going to get into that—that’s a whole podcast for another day. The author is Moses who is writing to the people of God, and they just became people of God in this reinstated covenant or a new covenant, which is the Mosaic covenant, and they have no idea who God is. They were completely paganized for 430 years in Egypt. What do they do the moment they get out into the wilderness? They are worshiping and building idols there. It’s this gross worship of other gods. Moses comes in and says, “You need to understand who it is that you just made this covenant with.”
The context is important to interpret Genesis 3:15 and following, or even the first three chapters of Genesis. You have to read it in the context of the Law. To understand Genesis, you have to understand Exodus. Much of Scripture is reading and then going back, then reading and then going back again, because it will help explain to you why it was written ahead of time.
Most Bibles are not structured in chronological order. They’re structured in more of a systematic understanding of different genres. When we understand Scripture, we have to understand that it wasn’t written as if a story begins in the beginning. And then it ends in Revelation. That is how those books are structured as far as it literally says in the beginning and then in Revelation it ends, but everything in between doesn’t quite fit that way.
Justin Perdue: Your example is really good. Moses wrote the first five books of Scripture. I don’t know if this registers with everybody, but he is writing at a period of history that is much later than what happened in the book of Genesis as he wrote it. Moses comes along much later. What is he doing? He is recording history and what happened; we would contend he’s recording history in a redemptive-historical way—we’ll get to that maybe more in a minute. He’s recording that history, but he’s also trying to help the people of Israel understand who they are, where they came from, and what the point of their existence is. They were in Egypt for 400 years and now they’ve been rescued from slavery. God parted the Red Sea and did all these crazy things. Now they’re wandering around in the wilderness and they’ve been given this Law—what in the world does all this mean? Moses is giving them that.
Jon Moffitt: If you want to know what the authorial intent of Moses is when he’s writing the first three chapters of Genesis, these people are polytheists, meaning that they believe in multiple gods. It is part of Egypt. It is what Israel is plugged with for hundreds of years. It’s one of the top 10 commands: you should serve one God. Moses is battling and saying, they can no longer be polytheists because there aren’t multiple gods. There is one God who created all things, including you; that’s the authorial intent. The reason I can say that with confidence is because of the greater context of the Law. Reading back from Exodus and into Genesis, I can see what Moses is doing.
This is a helpful example of saying there’s grammar, there’s history, there’s the immediate context, and then there’s a greater context which would be all of the Law. Now I would say that there’s even a greater context than that.
Justin Perdue: Let me use some slightly different terms to continue to clarify what we mean here. You were talking about the immediate context and that might be the book itself within which these words and events are contained, as well as the intent of the author of that book. There is a greater context that you described that we might even say is a particular epoch of redemptive history. Then there is an even greater context which would be God’s entire revelation and grand plan of redemption that have existed since before time began, and will be consummated in the new heavens and the new earth.
We want to understand and interpret Scripture on all of those levels and horizons: immediate context, the epoch of redemptive history that we’re in, and then the context of the entire Bible, the whole canon, and the grand story of redemption that Scripture reveals.
An observation for me is you hear some people say and argue that it is wrong to read something that occurs later and then understands something that came earlier in light of it. We just did it with Genesis and Exodus. There will be some who would press back against that idea, particularly when we come to try to understand the entire Old Testament. Then we will say one needs to understand the Old Testament in light of the New Testament. Some will press back on that idea.
Where we stand here at Theocast is that the best interpreter of the Old Testament is the Holy Spirit speaking to us in the New Testament. If we’re going to talk about the grand authorial intent of God, how would we best interpret an Old Testament passage? We would want to understand how Jesus and the apostles understood the Old Testament if we’re going to faithfully understand it ourselves. We would not just go to the Old Testament and isolate it in its immediate historical context, but we would ask how Jesus, Paul, Peter, and all of these guys, by the inspiration of the Spirit, understand Isaiah, the Psalms, the book of Moses, etc. Then we take our cue from them in how we would interpret, preach, apply, and understand it.
Jon Moffitt: I think that’s really helpful. We have thrown some big stuff out there and I think it would be helpful for us to give some explanation. When you go to the Bible, you do have to answer a particular question: what is the Bible about? Was it at random? Here’s some information about Israel, now here’s some information about the Law, now here’s some Psalms and Proverbs, and here’s some prophecy about when Jesus comes back—oh, yeah, there’s this Jesus guy so now let’s talk about Jesus in the New Testament. We chop the Bible up and there’s no fluidity to it at all. There’s no continuity—it’s all discontinuity; it can be a jumbled mess.
We would say that when you interpret Scripture, there becomes a theme. I would say that theme is introduced to you at the beginning. In Genesis 1, you understand that there is a God who is the Creator of all things and He is sovereign—meaning there is no other God than He. He is powerful and He is sovereign. It’s introduced to us in this capacity in the beginning. Then very early on in the story, we are introduced to the relationship that God develops between humanity and himself. God walks with humans and He has a relationship with them. He even puts them as responsible for His creation and gives them some regulations: don’t eat of the tree, do govern, and procreate.
Immediately, what do humans do? They’re tempted by Satan and they fall. Within three chapters, it’s this immediate introduction to God, man, and man’s relationship with God. The relationship between God and man doesn’t last very long: they are separated by sin immediately. When the separation happens, there’s a promise. This promise was always lost to me and I don’t know why it was never emphasized, but God makes a promise to Eve and He says, “Eve, through you and your seed will come whom we call the Snake Crusher.” He’s going to come and crush the head of the serpent and he will bruise his heel. You might be thinking that that’s a very weird phrase. What does that mean? It’s this metaphor that gets greater and greater explanation.
I will tell you from the story in Genesis that you do see Adam and Eve anticipating in this child being born. Adam and Eve lived in the garden, then they were cast out of the garden, and the garden was protected. Adam and Eve are anticipating this child fixing what they broke because this is what God promised.
The question that remains in everybody’s mind as you’re reading is this: who is the seed? I don’t know how you can’t interpret the Bible with that immediate context influencing you. It’s not like God changes plans and goes, “Now I’m going to do something different. I’ve decided I’m going to have a nation.” Then the whole Bible becomes about a nation that is disconnected from the previous promise made to Eve.
Justin Perdue: I would contend, in the spirit of what you just said, beginning with Genesis 3:15, we understand that the rest of Scripture from that point forward is an unfolding of that plan that God revealed there in that verse. There will come one who will crush the head of the serpent—the devil—who will conquer the great enemy of God’s people, right every wrong, and who will fix what Adam and Eve broke.
I would contend that if we’re talking about the Old Testament prior to Christ’s arrival, it is undeniable that the Old Testament is forward-looking. There is always this gaze that is fixed to a time in the future when something will happen that will absolutely, unequivocally save God’s people—and it will be accomplished and it will be done. Then that guy shows up on the scene and then all of the revelation that comes after him is explaining further what he accomplished and what that means for life in the church, which is the new people of God.
I’m not trying to be punchy or anything like that, but it burns me up when people say that what Isaiah is saying is fundamentally not about Jesus but about Israel. It’s not about Christ. Or what David is writing about is about Israel, his kingly line and not about Jesus. I want to be gracious to you and understand what you’re trying to say and assume well of what you mean. I get that there’s an original context and that there’s that epoch of redemptive history, but is it not clear that Isaiah and David and all the writers of the Old Testament are looking forward to Christ who would come? Of course we understand them in light of Jesus and how Jesus understood them. We understand them in light of how the apostles understood Jesus to fulfill everything that was written in the entire Old Testament; to not do so would be irresponsible at best and maybe insane at worst. I will try to restrain myself there.
If you talk about the creation account in Genesis, the point of that is to establish who God is, how humans were made in His image, how He owns us, how He requires things of us, and our relationship to him. I would even contend that in reading Genesis 1-3, we immediately are thinking about what God reveals in Revelation. If we’re not, we’re misguided; you see the fulfillment of that creation in the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life and everything that’s in it. You see the fulfillment in the new heavens and the new earth, the heavenly city, the Tree of Life that’s there, and how all of this stuff that was broken is restored; God is now with man, He is their God, and the Lord is with them.
Jon Moffitt: Let’s go to the words of Christ here real quick. Luke 24:44 and following: Jesus in response says, “‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are the witnesses of these things.'”
Then you have Jesus literally saying that the Law and the Prophets were written about him. John 5:46. “For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.” Let’s make some clarifications; there are some miscommunications here. We are not saying that you can find Jesus in every verse of the Old Testament. That somehow here’s a connection to every little thing that was ever written by Moses. The point of it was the greater context, the purpose of what Moses is writing, is the redemption of Israel or of God’s people in history. Jesus is pointing back to the Law, back to the Prophets, back to the Psalms saying they are speaking of him. The greater context or the overarching purpose of the Bible is to reveal to us how God is going to fulfill the promise He made to Adam and Eve—which then was further made to Abraham, his sons, Moses, David, then to Israel and the Prophets—that there is coming one who is the greater: the greater Priest, the greater Prophet, the greater King. Then when Jesus shows up on the scene, he is described as our Prophet, Priest, and King, which is the entire Old Testament system. The entire Old Testament system is a prophetic and priestly kingdom.
Justin Perdue: John 5 is incredibly important. You already referenced John 5:46, but in John 5:39, Jesus is talking to his Jewish audience and he says, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me. . .” Jesus shows up on the scene and John the Baptist pronounces him as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. We should be thinking about a whole host of things, but in particular the Passover lamb and all the lambs that were slaughtered to fulfill Israel’s obligations in the sacrificial system. This is so that they might have their uncleanness dealt with so that they could then be a part of the people again.
The book of Hebrews—if we’re going to talk about biblical theology, if we’re going to talk about how to interpret Scripture and how to understand the Old Testament, there might be no book more valuable than Hebrews. Here we understand that Jesus is greater than angels, he is greater than Aaron who was Moses’ brother and was instituted as a high priest, he is, he is greater than Moses and Moses was a prophet unlike any other.
Then we understand that Jesus is the fulfillment of everything that has come before, including the sacrificial system. We read that the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin, but the blood of Christ can. We read that he has accomplished redemption, he is seated at the right hand of God, God’s people have been perfected for all time, and that he has saved them and it’s done. All the priests who came before him died but he lives forever, he makes intercession for them, he has saved them and will see to it that they will be with him forever. We are not trying to force something down onto the Scripture that’s not there; we are just taking our cue from Christ and the apostles to interpret the entire Bible in light of God’s purpose, which is to accomplish His plan of redemption that He made before the world began. We are unashamed because God is unashamed that that plan would be accomplished through Christ and him alone. This kind of Christ-centered redemptive-historical understanding of Scripture comes out of the text and then we read the entire thing in light of it.
Lastly, I know we say this stuff all the time, but the drum needs to be beaten constantly because people always are asking, “Is it responsible to interpret the Bible this way? Is it right to preach this way? Is the point of every passage of Scripture Christ and the redemption accomplished by him ultimately?” I would stake my ministry on it that yes, that is the ultimate point of every passage of Scripture. I’m going to stop.
Jon Moffitt: No, it’s helpful. What we’re trying to argue here is that the Bible is the story of how God redeems sinners through Christ—that is the overarching story. That doesn’t mean that there are no sub-stories and subcategories that uphold that. Right. Everything in the Old Testament is underneath that. If you’re going to base your entire relationship between you and God, the Creator of the world, on the relationship and the words of Jesus—because Jesus says you cannot get to the Father unless you get through him—that’s a big statement. If we’re going to trust Jesus and believe that eternity is staked on a man named Jesus, who is saying that eternal life only happens through him and that it’s the only way, you better be sure that what he is saying is trustworthy. The Old Testament is the proof that Jesus is trustworthy, but we don’t see it that way. We see the Old Testament as there being these moral values and a whole system by Israel where Israel becomes the point of the Old Testament. Christians I meet everywhere are all talking about the last times and Israel. They read their Bibles with the newspaper in hand as if somehow that’s the point of the Bible. You’re missing the point here. The majority of Scripture is the revelation of how Jesus Christ wins, not how we should be terrified of what the world might do.
1 Corinthians 15:45. These are the types of patches that I’m talking about that we can use and help us understand. It’s this rainbow effect when we go back to Genesis and read it again. Paul talks about how there are two Adams, and this is what he says: the first Adam became a living being, the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit. He’s using this language of two Adams where we understand that where Adam failed, Christ succeeds. We’re using all of Scripture to answer this question: how is it that Christ becomes the life-giving Adam?
Then you also have Paul in Ephesians interpreting all of Scripture for you. He gives you a story that the Old Testament doesn’t hand you—you don’t get this story until you get to the New Testament. Ephesians 1:4 says, “Even as he chose us in him before the foundations of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will . . .” Paul is saying God’s plan of redemption started before Genesis 1. Later on, we have Paul interpreting not only the Bible, but all of God’s will and all of redemptive history, I would say of all of the history of the Bible, explaining that it is the unfolding of this. How do you get to the adoptions of sons? He’s telling you that started before Genesis 1 started.
Justin Perdue: A couple of thoughts before we head to the members’ area. Jesus is not only the new and better Adam, but it is quite clear that Jesus is the better Israel as well. How would we see that in Scripture? One example that I think is very clear is if you consider the beginning of Christ’s ministry. Not only is he baptized for the sake of his people—that would also point back to how the language of Scripture is that Israel is baptized in the waters of the Red Sea—but before Jesus is tempted by Satan, he is in the wilderness for 40 days. Israel was in the wilderness for 40 years. Then Jesus will quote Scripture from the book of Moses to Satan, which is from that era of redemptive history. Jesus succeeds in where Israel failed—and he obviously succeeds where Adam had failed in the garden in succumbing to the temptation of Satan.
Jesus is the greater Adam—he’s the greater Israel. Even in understanding what Christ came in to accomplish, he is accomplishing what Israel failed to do and he is the better Son of God. It’s appropriate that we would understand Israel in light of Christ and what he was coming to do.
Just one maybe punchy thing, if you’ll allow me to say it, and I’m not trying to upset anybody. Here at Theocast, we’re Reformed and we are covenantal in our understanding of Scripture. We have talked about covenant theology at various points—we’ve got a teaching series on that that we would recommend to you as well. Sometimes friends of ours will levy criticism against Reformed covenantal types. They’ll say they are re-aiming to read the Bible literally, and we are not trying to do that in the same way. I’ll say I don’t agree with them. When you say that you are reading the Bible literally, you don’t mean that when Jesus will say something like, “I am the Door of the sheep.” You don’t believe that Jesus is literally saying that he’s a door. You’ll say no, of course not, he’s using the language of metaphor there—to which we would say exactly. This is what we say about Scripture often is that not all of the revelation is the same kind. There are a lot of metaphorical, figurative languages that have a greater meaning than what is right there on the page in front of you. Sometimes they’ll read about scorpions or something in the book of Revelation and say those are Apache helicopters or something. I thought they were meaning to read the Bible literally? Which is it? It seems that they too are understanding that there are various kinds of literature in Scripture and you are more or less literal depending on what passage we’re talking about and what the text is saying. You need to understand that that’s all we’re doing: we just have a different theological system than you, so now let’s go to the text and evaluate our systems and see whose is better frankly.
Jon Moffitt: I’m going to respond to that in the members’ podcast. I do have some things to say. That’s so good.
There are four things I’m going to recommend—and these will be in the notes. For resources: one, our new series on covenant theology. The first two episodes are where we go into a deep explanation of what we’ve been trying to say here as far as a redemptive-historical understanding of Scripture from the covenant of redemption is concerned. I would also recommend a couple of books. The easiest one would probably be Sam Renihan’s book, The Mystery of Christ, His Covenant, and His Kingdom. His first three chapters are excellent for a redemptive-historical understanding of Scripture. Michael Williams’ Far as the Curse Is Found: The Covenant Story of Redemption is also a great book. I don’t agree with everything he says in there, but I think his opening few chapters are excellent. Then if you want one that’s hard to read, but it’s the foundation that a lot of guys hold to, it’s called Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments by Geerhardus Vos. You’ll find those on our website. Go to the theocast.org, find this episode, and you’ll be able to find all of that there.
In our members’ section, we are going to talk about how all of Scripture is Christian Scripture. There’s no such thing as a Bible that is just for the Old Testament people and Bible for the New Testament. A big mistake is we ignore the Old Testament often. Second, I believe your method of interpretation will influence how you see assurance and the point of assurance of the believer.
I will just say this: I think the redemptive-historic covenantal perspective of Scripture is what brings assurance to the believer. It’s the point. Other systems tend to cause you to doubt your assurance.
For those of you who don’t know what we’re talking about, we have a membership. It’s a way for everyone who would like to support Theocast can do so. We provide extra content like additional classes, some online live streaming, and other different resources. You can go to theocast.org to learn more about how to support us and be a part of our membership.
We’ll see you over there.