Thursday, July 14, 2011

Does the Apostle Peter Misuse the Old Testament?

A writer sent along this question to the Gospel Coalition:
I’m reading through Acts this month. In Acts 1:20, Peter’s talking about Judas and quotes Psalm 69, “May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it.” But Psalm 69 doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Judas. In fact, that psalm seems somewhat anti-gospel. It’s all about David wanting God to smite his enemies, but Jesus said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they’re doing.” Did Peter have a bad hermeneutic? If someone tried to quote a psalm like this without apostolic authority, would you call them crazy?
D.A. Carson very helpfully answers the question(s) here. Whereas many Christians view the Old Testament as a set of predictions about Christ and the gospel event, Carson helpfully points to it as partly this, but more often a set of trajectories, or types, that lead us to Christ. His full explanation is well worth the read. In fact, reading essays like this one help a believer to better develop their instinct to find Christ in their own reading of the Old Testament. I believe that this evangelical Biblical Theology is the key that unlocks Scripture's own hermeneutic. Read and be blessed!

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