Old Testament Expository Preaching?
Last week, I had breakfast with a couple of brothers from
12 Symptoms of the Trivialization of the Old Testament in Evangelical Preaching
- Avoidance of the Old Testament.
- Walk-through-the Bible Approaches to the OT.
- The Illustrative Use of the OT.
- The Proof-texting Use of the OT.
- The Selective Use of the OT.
- The Biographical and Psychological Use of the OT.
- The Applicational Use of the OT.
- The Spiritualized Use of the OT.
- Reading the Old Testament Through New Testament Lenses.*
- The Christologizing of the OT.*
- Nonsensical Sloganizing of the OT.
- The Magical Use of the OT.
The asterisk (*) denotes two that are considered questionable by some theologians, but I think overall Dr. Block makes some excellent points in his outline. Dr. Block continues by sharing the reasons and effects such trivialization of the OT has upon evangelical Christianity. So back to my initial question and thoughts. Why is it that so many pastors neglect the Old Testament? Is it just not relevant enough? Are there not commentaries to compile sermon material? Since we are of the new covenant, is preaching from the old covenant unnecessary?
In our conversation, I recall one of my brothers sharing with me that the reason why John Piper does not preach from the OT expositorily is because he does not know biblical Hebrew. Due to his passion not to be a second-hander in his sermon preparation, Piper works with primary sources (that being the original texts) and does extensive work such as sentence diagramming, word study, etc. I admire that in Piper, but I think he would admit that his weakest point in his pulpit ministry is the absence of expository preaching from the Old Testament.
In conclusion, I would add that having a solid biblical theology (not systematic theology) is sorely lacking among even trained theologians. We can systematically present the doctrines of the faith from theology proper to eschatology but have a hard time presenting the redemptive history from Genesis to Revelation while giving due attention to the texts of the Old Testament with just as much labor and precision as we do in the New Testament.
So what are your thoughts? Has this entered your mind? Do you know of any great expositors of the Old Testament you can point me to? Any reasons why the OT is neglected among evangelicals who so emphasize sola Scriptura and the inerrancy of Scripture?