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Use of the Old Testament in the New

Rick Mansfield points to a quiz on Zondervan’s Koinonia blog intended as a promotion for an upcoming book on how the New Testament authors handled Old Testament texts. Turns out I mostly agree with Peter Enns on the issue. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
NT Use of the OT — Test Your View!
Fuller Meaning, Single Goal view

You seem to be most closely aligned with the Fuller Meaning, Single Goal view, a view defended by Peter Enns in the book “Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament” (edited by Kenneth Berding and Jonathan Lunde, Nov. 2008). Since the NT writers held a single-minded conviction that the Scriptures point to and are fulfilled in Christ, this view suggests that the NT writers perceive this meaning in OT texts, even when their OT authors did not have that meaning in mind when they wrote. It should be noted, however, that advocates of this view are careful not to deny the importance of the grammatical-historical study of the OT text so as to understand the OT authors on their own terms. For more info, see the book, or attend a special session devoted to the topic at the ETS Annual Meeting in Providence, RI (Nov. 2008); Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Darrell L. Bock, and Peter Enns will all present their views.

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  1. Anne says:

    What I find interesting is that it was an accepted view among the sages of the Talmud that all Scripture had a secondary meaning for Messianic times. The charges that the NT authors were randomly imposing Messianic interpretations on Scriptures which had no Messianic meaning are off-base.

    Take care & God bless


  2. Anne,

    Even if you believe (as I believe I do) that there was only one intended meaning for O.T. Prophecy, that does not necessarily lead to a view of “randomly imposing Messianic interpretations on Scriptures which had no Messianic meaning.” After all we believe that the NT authors were inspired by God, and as such their texts that they chose were inspired by God as well. This was no random event.

    So even if I believe that Psalm 2 was not originally intended as a Messianic Psalm, the fact that Peter and John interpreted it as such in Acts 4, makes it a Messianic Psalm by the fact that we believe that their writing was inspired.

    Mike Bell


  3. Anne says:

    Hi Mike

    I’m glad you don’t fall into the group that accuses the NT authors of randomly imposing Messianic interpretations (etc.). I am curious, do you reject the ancient Jewish view that all prophecies had a secondary meaning with regards to the Messiah and the Messianic Age?

    I think the NIV has 2 Peter 1:20 right with Peter rejecting the “one intended meaning” (i.e. the prophet’s intentions) “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

    Which is to say, the prophet never did have any claim to “his interpretation” of “his prophecy”, since the prophecy was never really his to start with … 😉

    Take care & God bless
    Anne / WF


  4. […] is shown in the box below. You can click in the box to take the quiz yourself. (Thanks to Darrell Pursiful for pointing this […]


  5. Hi Anne,

    Do “all prophecies” have a secondary meaning? No, I don’t believe that.
    Do “some” prophecies have secondary meanings? I think that that is undeniable. I have spent many hours defending the deity of Christ, and one of the places that I always started with were the OT prophecies. Even if the Messianic meaning was a secondary meaning.

    I think we would both agree, that the prophecies are God’s, and to try to put God in a box and say that his prophecies can only have one intended meaning is dangerous ground. If the New Testament confirms the Messianic understanding of a prophecy then I can go along with it as a valid secondary meaning. If not, then maybe we are reading something into the text that wasn’t meant to be there.

    For example. I don’t buy the idea that the 70th week of Daniel has some sort of relation to a future second coming of Christ. Many, many people have read that into the text, but I don’t believe it was Daniel’s understanding of the prophecy, nor that of the New Testament authors.



  6. Anne says:

    Hi Mike

    I’m not arguing here whether it’s a fact that all prophecies have a secondary meaning. But I am mentioning: it is a fact that it was an accepted/respected ancient Jewish view that all prophecies had a meaning with reference to the Messiah. So that when people start saying that the NT authors abused the OT Scriptures, I think they’re wrong on that count.

    I’m Amillenial, so I won’t get started on Daniel’s 70th week. 🙂

    Take care & God bless
    Anne / WF


  7. Sounds like we are on the same page, Anne.


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