And the main point of the Old Testament is . . .

Pete Enns is perhaps my favorite writer and blogger, and I am happy to share this article with you today. Pete says…

I was taught in seminary and graduate school, as were many others of my generation and several before that, that the Old Testament is too diverse for it to have a “central point.”  As soon as you think you’ve found a central theme, it either doesn’t work (e.g., covenant or holiness) or it’s too broad to be of much use (e.g., God).

Some themes, however, are right there in your face, and one of them is getting higher and higher on my list: LAND–namely the promised land of Canaan.

That may bore you. That may not sound terribly spiritual. Too bad. Land is a major idea the Bible keeps on the front burner. Actually, I may even be understating things a bit.

The promise to receive land, getting it, how to hold on to it, losing it and getting it back, and how not to lose it again. That describes the main storyline of the OT.

Land is already central in God’s promise to Abraham…

For the rest of this article just click on the link below:

https://peteenns.com/main-point-old-testament/?fbclid=IwAR0zuD3BaMA-8Tk27FlcC1yqg2Ef_0mZ68X4GP5h6H26fPnzJH2D_igFzzo

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17 Responses to And the main point of the Old Testament is . . .

  1. Esther Goetz says:

    He’s one of my favorites! He has really helped me to have “Jesus without baggage.” Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ken Hogan says:

    Interesting that even today, land is still the at the center point of turmoil in the Middle East.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. michaeleeast says:

    Tim, I read Peter’s piece and he may be right. But I suspect that God never promised Israel to the Jews – it has been disputed ever since. It is disputed today. Divine Right has never been a sustainable argument. The only resolution is peaceful coexistence. I pray for that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Michael, I think you are probably right but they certainly THOUGHT he did. And as you say, it still causes problems today–Palestinian oppression.

      Like

  4. Ross says:

    Sorry to maybe seem blunt, but I thought that was obvious. Having read the OT a few times and having been to enough talks on “God’s People in God’s Place at God’s time” is not hard to realise that the OT is fixated on the geographical centrality of certain places to the “People of God”.

    Where I would be very careful is putting any “theological” overlay on the current discourse on anything re the State of Israel. Israel was set up, dreamed of and founded as a secular entity and still is. There are also many people of religious faith who live there and input greatly into the socio-political life of the country but they are still a minority. We may look at the situation and overlay our own “religious” thoughts on the matter but we really need to be aware we’re doing this.

    For me the Bible needs to be read for its metaphor, not just the surface text. The attachment to land and place speaks to me of a physical permanency and security, “belonging” somewhere and being held there in security. As a physical being (and no doubt on some Freudian Level!) I can relate to that as being held and hugged closely. In a wider context places me being held by God.

    The NT talks to me of the future, when we will physically be with God in a place where he has prepared a room for each of us (imagine that, him choosing the curtains and everything!). So the OT gives us a look back at the roots of this thing, a yearning for security, the NT shows us the future when this security will be made sure. All we need to do in the meantime is try and slap as much of what we hope the future brings onto what the present gives us, I.e. attempt to heal the World and ourselves in the continuous need for healing.

    Reading any of the Bible for apocalyptic ways of how our current World situation sets us in time with some premillennialist vision of great upheaval is really not helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Ross, I really like you final two points: “All we need to do in the meantime is try and slap as much of what we hope the future brings onto what the present gives us, I.e. attempt to heal the World and ourselves in the continuous need for healing.” I very much agree!

      “Reading any of the Bible for apocalyptic ways of how our current World situation sets us in time with some premillennialist vision of great upheaval is really not helpful.” Again, I agree–not helpful at all. But I would go even further to say that it is extremely harmful in many ways.

      Like

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