The Messenger of Good News

As you I and begin a new year and leave behind the many activities related to the holidays, it becomes necessary to look ahead and make some plans for the year ahead. This new year will be very busy for me, since I will be teaching during the winter, spring, and summer quarters. At the same time, I will be doing research for a new book and preparing for a sabbatical that will take place in 2015.

One thing that has been on my mind is what I will blog in 2014. I have many ideas for future posts. My purpose is to bring the teachings of the Old Testament to as many people as possible.

Among Christians today, there is an almost universal feeling that the study of the Old Testament is either unnecessary, since Christ has fulfilled the laws of the Old Testament, or that it provides little benefit to New Testament Christians.

Those Christians who reject the Old Testament fail to recognize one important aspect of the biblical history, that most of the teachings of the New Testament are based on what the Old Testament teaches.

Another factor that shows an intimate connection between the Old Testament and the New Testament is that many of the ethical teachings of the New Testament have their origins in the Old Testament. But above all, no one can understand the God of the New Testament without the Old Testament because the God who reveals himself in the pages of the New Testament is the same God who revealed himself to Abraham, Moses, and the prophets.

It is this misunderstanding about the Old Testament that motivates me to use my blog as an extension of my teaching. Many of the posts that appear on my blog are issues that I discuss in class with my students or are based on questions raised by them in class discussion.

In 2014 I want to continue teaching the Old Testament to people who subscribe to my blog and to those who come through Facebook, Twitter, or other social media in search of answers to difficult Old Testament questions. What they find in my blog are posts which are thoroughly biblical and posts which are designed to clarify the Old Testament and teach what the authors of the biblical texts intended to communicate to their audience and to us.

This year I am planning to write several posts on David. I will deal with David and Abigail, David and Tamar, David and Absalom, and all the events related to Absalom’s revolt against David.

I am also planning to write on the cannibal mothers of the Old Testament, on Jeroboam’s wife, on Jezebel, on Athaliah, and a few other notable women of the Old Testament.

Another area I am planning to focus on in 2014 is on the God of the Old Testament. It is my desire to introduce the nature and character of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to as many people as possible.

In the seventeenth century, Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician and a Christian philosopher, said that the God of the philosophers is not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Many people today believe in the God of the philosophers and not the God of revelation.

During the year I am also planning to review several books, including Ralph Hawkins’ How Israel Became a People, Scot McKnight’s Sermon on the Mount, Phillip Camp’s Finding Your Way: A Guide to Seminary Life and Beyond, and several others.

My posts this year will deal with archaeology, theology, ethics, and biblical exegesis. In short, my goal is to teach as much of the Old Testament to as many people as possible. In addition, I will bring an Old Testament perspective to current events as they interact and relate to the Old Testament.

The prophet Nahum said: “Look! A messenger is coming over the mountains with good news” (Nahum 1:15). I want to be that messenger, one who brings the good news of what God is doing in the world.

You also can be that messenger. I know that you may not enjoy every post I write. However, when you read a post that you think is a good post, I encourage you that share that post with others by providing a link on your Facebook page, on your Twitter account, or mentioning that post in your own blog.

The Old Testament deserves to be read and studied by all Christians. As Paul wrote: “The Old Testament is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

I know that Paul said “All Scriptures.” However, since there was no New Testament when Paul wrote these words, I am sure he had in mind the Scriptures of the Jewish people, the Hebrew Bible or, as we Christians call it today, the Old Testament.

Become a messenger of good news. Spread this good news to everyone, everywhere.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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