Puzzling Apostolic Hermeneutics of the Old Testament as Theological Hermeneutics

In: Horizons in Biblical Theology
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  • 1 Bishop Tucker School of Divinity and Theology, Uganda Christian University, Mukono, Uganda

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In this article, I argue that puzzling apostolic interpretations of some Old Testament messages as fulfilled in specific New Testament contexts, to which the Old Testa-ment messages do not apparently refer, are actually applications of the Old Testament messages to apostolic times. These applications are informed by a view of God, distinctively manifest in prophecy, which understands him to speak in ways commensurate with his foreknowledge and purposes, with the result that what he has said has multiple references beyond the single initial one. This view of God is presupposed by the apostles’ use of the verb πληρωθῇ through its close association with prophecy, hence their use of the verb for “applies to”.

  • 2

    See for example R. T. McLay, “Biblical Texts and the Scriptures for the New Testament Church,” in Hearing the Old Testament in the New Testament (edited by S. E. Porter; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006), 38-58; S. E. Porter, “Further Comments on the Use of the OT in the New,” in The Intertextuality of the Epistles: Explorations of Theory and Practice (edited by T. L. Brodie, D. R. MacDonald, and S. E. Porter; Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2006), 98-110; J. J. O’Rourke, “Possible Uses of the OT in the Gospels,” in The Gospels and the Scriptures of Israel (jsntss 104; edited by C. A. Evans and W. R. Stegner, Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1994), 15-25; C. D. Stanley, Paul and the Language of Scripture: Citation Technique in the Pauline Epistles and Contemporary Literature (sntsms 74; Cambridge: cup, 1992); G. C. Archer and G. C. Chirichigno, OT Quotations in the NT: A Complete Survey (Chicago: Moody Press, 1983); and K. J. Thomas, “The Old Testament Citations in Hebrews,” nts 1 (1964): 303-325.

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  • 3

    See, for example, D. L. Stamps, “The Use of the OT in the New Testament as a Rhetorical Device: A Methodological Proposal,” in Hearing the OT in the New Testament (edited by S. Porter, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006), 9-37, and C. D. Stanley, Arguing with Scripture: The Rhetoric of Quotations in the Letters of Paul (London: T&T Clark, 2004); M. Silva, “Abraham, Faith, and Works: Paul’s Use of Scripture in Galatians 3.6-14,” wtj 63 (2001): 251-267; I. Paul, “The Use of the OT in Revelation,” in The OT in the NT: Essays in Honour of J. L North (jsntss; edited by S. Moyise, Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2006), 256-276; C. R. Bruno, “The Deliverer from Zion: The Source(s) and the Function of Paul’s Citation in Romans 11.26-27,” TynBul 59.1 (2008): 117-134; L. Perkins, “The Markan Narratives’ Use of the OT Greek Text of Jeremiah to Explain Israel’s Obduracy,” TynBul 60.2 (2009): 217-238; T. L. Brodie, “The Triple Intertextuality of the Epistles: An Introduction,” in The Intertextuality of the Epistles: Explorations of Theory and Practice (nt Monograph 16; edited by D. R and S. E. Porter, Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2004), 71-78; and J. B. Green, “The Problem of Beginning: Israel’s Scriptures in Luke 1-2,” bbr 4 (1994): 61-86.

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  • 13

    See, for example, D. C. Allison, The New Moses: A Matthean Typology (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993), and S. L. Johnson, The OT in the New: An Argument for Biblical Inspiration (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980).

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  • 15

    W. Eichrodt, “Is Typological Exegesis an Appropriate Method?,” in Essays in OT Interpretation (edited by C. Westermann and translated by J. M, Mays; London: scm Press, 1960), 229.

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  • 18

    H-G. Gadamar, Truth and Method (New York: Crossroad Publishing Co., 1975), 273.

  • 19

    R. Bultmann, Kerygma and Myth (edited and translated by H. W. Bartsch; New York: Harper and Row, 1961).

  • 28

    For more on this see, M. P. Miller, “Targum, Midrash and the Use of the Old Testament in the New Testament,” 80-81.

  • 29

    C. F. D. Moule, The Origin of Christology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977) 127-134. See also C. F. D. Moule, “Fulfilment-Words in the nt: Use and Abuse,” nts 14.3 (1968): 293-320.

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  • 30

    J. R. D. Kirk, “Conceptualising Fulfilment in Matthew,” TynBul 59.1 (2008): 77-98.

  • 31

    Ibid., 85-86.

  • 32

    Ibid., 86.

  • 33

    Ibid., 87-88.

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