mgpcpastor's blog

How To Preach Christ From The Old Testament (via Gary Millar)

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Get a taste of how those fortunate students at the (Presbyterian) Queensland Theological College can expect to be equipped by the teaching of their incoming principal, Gary Millar.

Preaching Christ from the Old Testament is hard. It’s hard because the Old Testament text itself can be hard to deal with—it’s long, complicated, and culturally distant. It’s hard because even when we get to grips with the text, it isn’t always easy to see how it relates to Jesus and/or how we can encourage people with the gospel, rather than simply making them feel guilty and weighed down with impossible requirements.
It’s hard because, even when we have a robust biblical theology, it isn’t always easy to see how individual parts of the text fit into the flow of our biblical theology. If we’re not careful, our Old Testament preaching can be reduced to a weekly trawl from Genesis 3 to Revelation (which, I have to say, gets terribly predictable and boring after the first two weeks!) So what can we do?
I think we need to begin with two key principles:

  • The text already preaches the gospel, so let the text launch you towards Jesus!
  • The trajectory to Jesus and the new covenant should be suggested by the text!

There is, of course, a variety of opinion as to what exactly Jesus meant when he said in Luke 24 that all the Scriptures point to him. But whether we follow the ‘stronger’ interpretation (‘one can legitimately preach Christ from every part of the Bible’) or the ‘weaker’ one (‘the heart of the message of the Old Testament is the coming of Christ, but there is lots of other material which is theocentric rather than christocentric’), few would dispute that the Old Testament preaches the gospel. That is, the Old Testament makes clear that we are desperately sinful people whose only hope is God himself providing a rescuer to deal with sin and death. If that’s the case, then it is reasonable to assume that the text itself will sooner or later launch us towards Jesus.

Read the rest of Millar’s post where he expands on these nine ‘pathways’ to finding Christ in Old Testament texts at the Briefing.
1. Follow the plan
2. Trace the fulfilment
3. Expose the problem
4. Highlight the (divine) attribute
5. Focus on the action
6. Explain the category
7. Point out the consequences
8. Describe the ideal human character
9. Satisfy the longing

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