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Christians Reading the Old Testament

Various Brethren Press PDF

Beg+Chapter 1:Layout 15/21/101:06 PMPage 15Christians Reading the Old TestamentRobert C. BowmanThe ProblemChristians who consider themselves New Testament people often have great difficulties with the Old Testament. What is one to do with that book—or, rather, with that part of the Book?Many elements combine to make the Old Testament difficult.In the first place, parts of it are simply boring. Richard Friedman, author of Who Wrote the Bible? once said that if he ever got to the point where he could read the detailed instructions for building the tabernacle in Exodus without being incredibly bored, he would know that he had finally become a biblical scholar (176).If not boring, at least great chunks of the Old Testament seem irrelevant to Christians. It seems to belong to a world that makes no sense to us. Deuteronomy 22:10 warns, “You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together.” Frankly, most of us cannot remember ever being tempted to disobey this commandment.It does, perhaps, give one a sense of relief to know that there are at least some of God’s commandments that we have not broken.

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Is There Peace in the Old Testament?

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Chapter 6:Layout 15/21/101:15 PMPage 125Is There Peace in the Old Testament?David A. LeiterDuring the last decade or so, I have engaged numerous people in conversation regarding the topic of peace in the Old Testament.Although many people of faith acknowledge the connection between peace and the Bible, there is a strong tendency by such persons to see this connection as one that relates primarily to the NewTestament, thus leaving the Old Testament out of the discussion.In personal conversations and in teaching and seminar events,I have received three common responses when talking about peace and the Old Testament. The first response is simply a blank stare.Some people cannot see even the slightest connection between peace and the Old Testament. Using the two in the same sentence does not register to them. Either they have not read the Old Testament carefully or they have been taught and indoctrinated to believe that peace in the Old Testament does not exist. As a result, there is an inability to have even a surface conversation about the notion of peace in the Old Testament.

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Prefiguring Fulfillment Brethern Approaches to the Old Testament

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Chapter 12:Layout 15/21/101:31 PMPage 263Prefiguring FulfillmentBrethren Approaches to the Old TestamentJeffrey A. BachThe Schwarzenau Brethren, who began with the baptism of eight adults in late summer 1708, treasured the Scriptures from their origins. The Old Testament was vitally important to the Brethren, although Brethren have typically read the Old Testament as pointing toward and being fulfilled by the New Testament. This in no way meant that Brethren, who often call themselves a “New Testament church,” commit the Marcionite heresy of discarding theOld Testament.1The following essay explores how Brethren have made important use of the Old Testament through their history up to the early twentieth century. This examination of a sample of Brethren writers will show that Brethren generally valued the Old Testament as inspired Scripture and tended to interpret it typologically, absorbing influences from interpretive trends around them (such as dispensationalism in the nineteenth century). Typological interpretation of the Bible goes back to ancient times and sees commandments and teachings and events in the Old Testament as

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Will We Listen? Attending to the Shema in Christian Educations

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Chapter 4:Layout 15/21/101:11 PMPage 79Will We Listen?Attending to the Shema in Christian EducationJohn David BowmanPerhaps I was an atypical seven-year-old, but I have a vague recollection of a conversation with one of my parents. The haunting words of “Johnny, will you listen to me?” reverberate deep within, triggering a sense that the question was not really a question but rather a statement of exasperation tinged with demand. I seem to recall the sentence was followed by another, “Johnny, didn’t you hear me?” I’m quite confident my parent was not concerned with the function of my auditory nerves. It was a direct reference to something I did not do. I can’t recall the provoking issues aside from my assumption that I was reluctant to provide a parent’s wish fulfillment. I also suspect it was a repeated offense.“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”1 These are the opening words of an ancient recitation found in the Hebrew Scriptures. You’ll probably recall much of this familiar recitation taken from Deuteronomy 6. Within Judaism, the recitation repeated thrice daily is known as the Shema. The full Shema is comprised of three scriptures (Hertz 769). It is so named because the Hebrew word shema‘, meaning “hear” or “hearken,” begins the first of its three parts.

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Jonah the Christian

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Chapter 8:Layout 15/21/101:19 PMPage 173Jonah the ChristianG r a y d o n F. S n y d e rIf you attend a worship service at any Christian church anywhere in the world, there’s a good chance you’ll see a cross displayed somewhere in a prominent place. Many probably assume the same was true for the first Christians. They might be surprised to discover, however, that the cross does not appear in Christian artwork for around four hundred years. And, they might be surprised to find out that the Jonah story appears far more frequently in earlyChristian art than the cross.So, why was the story of Jonah so important? In early Christian catacomb art no other picture appears as often as that of Jonah.Since no writing reflects what early Christians believed, we accept the art as an indication of what the average believer saw in the story of Jonah. We speak of this as the understanding of local people. For the most part it showed the Christian Jonah absorbed by a pagan society, but then regurgitated into a redeemed Christian existence.

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