Matthew R. Perry

You’re An Expository Preacher?!? Ohh! Part V: The Unity of the Testaments

In For Preachers/Pastors, For Seminary Students, Preaching on March 7, 2007 at 8:33 am

A speaker at the Southern Seminary chapel told a story of a young preacher who first came to his church. One Sunday night, he preached on the Old Testament. After the service, a man came up to him afterwards and lit into the young preacher — almost to the point of coming to blows. The reason? We as a people of God do not need the Old Testament anymore. It is entirely irrelevant — for we are a New Testament people under a different covenant. We do not come to God by works of the law, but by grace. The Old Testament is all about law, the New Testament all about grace. Are they right?

Contrast this mindset with another who says, “Yes, we have the New Testament, but God’s Law is still His Law — so the Old Testament laws still apply to us today.” As a result, we still have people who say certain foods are clean and unclean, who say we still must worship on the Sabbath (meaning, Saturday), that tattoos are immoral and the list goes on.

It is my conviction that these two mindsets are too extreme. Yet where are we to go? What role does the Old Testament play in the New? As an expository preacher, you understand Paul’s desire and his mandate to preach “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). In fact, one must remember that Paul expounded the Gospel not from the New Testament — for it was still be compiled by the Holy Spirit. Paul preached — as did the early church — from the Old Testament.

I believe that the Bible is not made up of two stories but of one. God has progressively unfolded his redemptive plan to bring him glory and honor among the nations. Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

[34] “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
[35] “Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
[36] For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

In the next segment (whenever that will be), we will talk about how the unity of Testaments is spoken of in the Scriptures.

Preach the Word (or in the words of one of our college students, Cameron Potts, “BRING IT!”)

Previous posts from this Series:


Part I: Take the Text on Its Own Terms

II: You Deal With Topics You’d Otherwise Avoid

III: You Bypass “Felt Needs” and Address “Real Needs”

IV: You Take the Scriptures as a Whole Rather Than as Fodder for Prooftexts


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