Losing the Forest for the Trees

Some will argue that gospel-centered interpretations are nothing more than eisegesis. They say we should not put Christ into Old Testament texts when He is not there. The problem is that Jesus sure did think He was there. Jesus taught that all the Scriptures were about Himself. Why then do so many have a hard time seeing the continuity of the testaments? Probably one of the biggest reasons is that they are losing the forest for the trees.

Most would agree that faithful exegesis of a text includes paying close attention to grammar, syntax, genre, and historical background. After carefully observing all these things we try to understand the author’s original intent. Unfortunately, most exegesis is only done in the context of the larger passage or biblical book. This is like studying a tree and then a cluster of tress in a huge forest. Those observations need to be done, but they only tell you a small part of the big picture. What is so desperately needed is that we “use the tools of biblical theology” so that “we can consider the point of the text in light of where the text falls in redemptive-history.” What we should quickly begin to see once we have stepped back far enough to get the big picture of Scripture is that “every literary genre and form within Scripture is linked directly to Scripture’s basic covenantal form and function.” Failure to see the big covenantal structure of Scripture will result in a failure to see the rest of the smaller passages (the trees) in the cannon (the forest) as “expounding and applying the meaning of Christ as the fulfillment.”


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Filed under Biblical Theology, Preaching, The Gospel

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