The difference cannot be glibly dismissed. A fundamental difference exists in status, activity, and product. The New Testament writers, possessing the gift of apostleship or prophecy, experienced the Spirit’s unique ministry of inspiration, whereas readers of their writings experience the Spirit’s common ministry of illumination. The former were granted knowledge directly from God, apart from hermeneutics, the normal process of interpretation, and learning. The latter are granted knowledge through a medium—the revelation publicized by God’s spokesmen—as it is faithfully interpreted. The former produced an inerrant communication which possessed ultimate authority. The latter produce an interpretation which enjoys only a derivative inerrancy and authority. The former were to be believed because they spoke from God. The latter are to be believed only insofar as they can prove it objectively from the text.
“Are we to imitate the way in which the New Testament apostles exegeted the Old Testament?”
Issue - Reasons
But the issue is not as simple as it first seems—and for several reasons.
FIRST, EVEN THOSE WHO ANSWER THIS QUESTION IN THE AFFIRMATIVE DISAGREE OVER EXACTLY HOW THE APOSTLES INTERPRETED THE OLD TESTAMENT.
Voices - Perspectives - Point - Disagreement - Question
Many other voices expressing different perspectives could be added, but the point is clear. Such disagreement warns us against answering the question simplistically, and it emphasizes the need to carefully define our terms.
SECOND, A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF DISAGREEMENT OVER THE APOSTLES’ USE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT CAN BE TRACED TO POOR EXEGESIS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT TEXTS DONE BY TODAY’S INTERPRETERS.
New - Testament - Old - Testament - Way
But do the New Testament writers “frequently” use the Old Testament in a way that diverges from the intent of the Old Testament writers? This only appears to be the case because, in reality, it is often not the New Testament writers who are ignoring the original meaning of Old Testament texts, but contemporary readers. A general bias exists among a good number...
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