The Christian View of the Old Testament
98 Pages
English
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The Christian View of the Old Testament

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98 Pages
English

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Published 08 December 2010
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Christian View of the Old Testament, by Frederick Carl Eiselen This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: The Christian View of the Old Testament Author: Frederick Carl Eiselen Release Date: April 3, 2010 [EBook #31876] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK CHRISTIAN VIEW--OLD TESTAMENT *** Produced by Al Haines THE CHRISTIAN VIEW OF THE OLD TESTAMENT BY FREDERICK CARL EISELEN Professor in Garrett Biblical Institute THE METHODIST BOOK CONCERN NEW YORK —— CINCINNATI —— CHICAGO Copyright, 1912 FREDERICK CARL EISELEN Printed in the United States of America First Edition Printed September, 1912 Second Printing, June, 1913 Third Printing, May, 1916 Fourth Printing, November, 1917 Fifth Printing, September, 1921 Sixth Printing, September, 1923 Seventh Printing, October, 1925 Eighth Printing, July, 1928 {5} CONTENTS CHAPTER I. II. III. IV. V. VI. PREFACE THE NEW TESTAMENT VIEW OF THE OLD TESTAMENT THE OLD TESTAMENT AND MODERN SCIENCE THE OLD TESTAMENT AND MODERN CRITICISM THE OLD TESTAMENT AND ARCHAEOLOGY THE OLD TESTAMENT AND COMPARATIVE RELIGION THE PERMANENT SIGNIFICANCE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT INDEX PAGE 7 9 38 66 110 160 227 264 OTHER WORKS BY PROFESSOR EISELEN PROPHECY AND THE PROPHETS THE MINOR PROPHETS THE WORKER AND HIS BIBLE THE BOOKS OF THE PENTATEUCH THE PSALMS AND OTHER SACRED WRITINGS THE PROPHETIC BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT (Two Volumes) {7} PREFACE During the past half century the attitude of many men toward the Bible has undergone a decided change. The old confidence seems to be gone; a feeling of uncertainty and of unrest has taken its place. This small volume is intended to set forth the Christian view of the Old Testament, and to furnish answers to some of the questions men are asking concerning the Sacred Scriptures of the Hebrews, which the early Christians included in the canon of Christian sacred writings. The old foundations are not shaken. The Old Testament has stood the tests of the past, which have been severe and often merciless; and there is to-day stronger ground than ever for believing that in its pages "men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit." FREDERICK CARL EISELEN. Evanston, Illinois. {9} CHAPTER I THE NEW TESTAMENT VIEW OF THE OLD TESTAMENT The Christian Church has always assigned to the Bible a unique place in theology and life. What is true of the Bible as a whole is equally true of that part of the Bible which is known as the Old Testament. Indeed, until the middle of the second century of the Christian era, the only Scriptures accepted as authoritative were those of the Old Testament. Even then, only gradually and under the pressure of real need, different groups of Christian writings were added and received an authority equal to that of the older Scriptures. And though in the course of the centuries there have been some who denied to the Old Testament a rightful place in Christian thought and life, the Church as a whole has always upheld the judgment of the early Christians in making the Old Testament a part of the canon of Christian sacred writings. It is worthy of note that the Old Testament played an important part in the religious life of Jesus. No one can study the records of his life without seeing that he gathered much of his spiritual nourishment from its pages. Even in the moments of severest temptation, greatest distress, and bitterest agony the words of these ancient writings were on his lips, and their consoling and inspiring messages in his heart and mind. This attitude of Jesus toward the ancient Hebrew Scriptures in itself explains the high estimate placed upon them by his followers. For, in the words of G. A. Smith, "That which was used by the Redeemer himself for the sustenance of his own soul can never pass out of the use of his redeemed. That from which he proved the divinity of his mission and the age-long preparation for his coming must always have a principal place in his Church's argument for him."[1] The attitude of Jesus is reflected in his disciples and those who have given to us the New Testament books. Nearly three hundred quotations from the Old Testament are scattered throughout the Gospels and Epistles, and in a number of passages is the value of Old Testament study specifically emphasized. Perhaps nowhere is this done more clearly than in 2 Tim. 3. 15-17, in words written primarily of the Old Testament: "The sacred writings which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: that the man of God may be {10} {11} complete, furnished completely unto every good work." Evidently the writer of these words considers the sacred writings of the Hebrews able to inspire a personal saving faith in Jesus, the Christ; to furnish a knowledge of the things of God; and to prepare for efficient service. And these are the elements which enter into the life advocated and illustrated by the Founder of Christianity. An attempt will be made in this chapter to determine the New Testament view of the Old Testament for the purpose of discovering what is the proper Christian view of that part of the Bible. For, if the teaching, spirit, and example of Jesus have a vital relation to Christian belief, and if his immediate followers have preserved an essentially accurate portrayal of him, then the modern Christian view of the Old Testament should be a reflection of the view of Jesus and of those who, as a result of their intimate fellowship with him, were in a position to give a correct interpretation of him and his teaching. We may inquire, in the first place, what is the New Testament view of the purpose of the Old Testament Scriptures? The answer to this inquiry is furnished by the passage in the Second Epistle to Timothy quoted above. Neither this nor any other passage in the whole Bible warrants the belief that the Old Testament ever was meant to teach physical science, or history, or philosophy, or psychology. Everywhere it is stated or clearly implied that the purpose of all biblical teaching is to make man morally and spiritually perfect, and to furnish him "unto every good work." Therefore we may expect that where the Old Testament writers touch upon questions of science and