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All Scripture is Pure Christ – a review

The Lord be with you

In the January/April 2017 issue of Concordia Theological Quarterly (volume 81, Number 1-2) appears the article “All Scripture is Pure Christ” by Charles A. Gieschen. In it, Gieschen explores Martin Luther’s way of looking at Scripture through the lens of Jesus. He quotes Luther as writing:

Thus all of Scripture, as already said, is pure Christ, God’s and Mary’s Son. Everything is focused on this Son, so that we might know Him distinctively and in that way see the Father and the Holy Spirit eternally as one God. To him, who has the Son, Scripture is an open book; and the stronger his faith in Christ becomes, the more brightly will the light of Scripture shine for him.

Gieschen does a great job exploring Luther’s view, setting it with in the Reformation context and also giving us guiding principles to apply this kind of reading of the Old Testament in our modern day.

Of course, as a Lutheran, I am swayed by Luther’s position that all of Scripture is pure Christ, but not everyone is. In fact, I would guess that the majority of Old Testament commentaries available today do not hold to this view. Depending on whom you are reading, it may be claimed that nothing in the Old Testament is about Jesus up to the view that there are specific passages about Jesus, but the rest of the Old Testament is a combination of various items like morality tales, historical information, religious regulations, rites for various ceremonies, and so on. One thing these various forms have in common, according to such commentaries, is that they most assuredly are not about Jesus.

While such commentaries assure us that finding Jesus in Old Testament stories is “anachronistic,” it is the way Jesus and the New Testament writers looked at the Old Testament. I, for one, feel Jesus is the better authority.

For anyone who is interested in understanding the Old Testament from a Christocentric perspective, I can strongly recommend this article, especially the conclusion where Gieschen gives principles we can use as we read the Old Testament. The link below will take you to the article on-line.

All Scripture is Pure Christ

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