This is my personal view on the Old Testament. I have learned that many churches and seminaries also have adapted a similar view. However the church you go to or the tradition you belong to may not be in align with my view. My intention is not confuse you or object the view of your church tradition, but to broaden your perspective. I hope that my view can help you reading the OT and guide through you bible study. This view is mainly based on the lecture of Dr. John Goldingay, the Old Testament professor at Fuller Theological Seminary.
1. Believing Criticism
The “believing” part implies that the whole of the Bible is true, the whole of it is given us by God, and the whole of it makes demands on us. The “criticism” part implies that the church’s interpretation of scripture and the academy’s interpretation of script is fallible that we should never assume that what we have been told about the Bible by the church of by scholars is right. We are critical about what anyone says that the Bible says. Even the people in cults uses Bible to support their theology.
2. Fact and Truth
We know that the OT is wholly reliable as a guide to who God is and who we are, and how we may relate to God. We know that because Jesus gave it to us. But one of the things that many churches teach people is that the Bible must be factually true at every point if it is really the Word of God. This is a good example of a tradition of which we can be critical. It is certainly true that the Bible story needs to be basically factual. The reason for this is that the gospel is about something that actually happened. If it didn’t happen, there is no gospel. God uses fictional stories to deliver his message such as Jesus’ parables. Parables are true but they are not factual. Thus we need to ask the question whether a certain story in the Bible is more like history or more like parable. One of the good example is the story of the Jonah and a big fish. Do you think that this is a historical fact or just a parable?
Some people are struggling because they believe that the Bible has to be true and the story they read is very difficult to believe. Viewing the story in the Bible as parables is not necessarily harm the authority of the Bible. Actually it could be the other way around. Henry Ford says, in History is bunk, that Realizing that some stories in the Bible are parables rather than history helps us to take them really seriously as the word of God, because we know that God specially inspired them to portray the way God deals with us. They aren’t merely history. Some people struggles with the idea that Moses did not write the Pentateuch(모세오경) and David did not write the Psalms, and Solomon did not write Proverbs. The reason why these people struggle is that they have been given the impression that its authority depends on who wrote it and on its being history. (마치 모세가 아닌 다른 이스라엘 사람에 의해서 씌여졌다면 성경의 권위가 무너진다는 생각). If we understand where the authority of the Bible comes from we could be more relaxed from the struggle.
There are three reasons why the OT has authority.
• Jesus gave it to us
• The church gave it to us
• It speaks with authority and power
The basis of our assurance that the OT is the word of God is not that we can show it is history or that we know who wrote it but that Jesus gave it to us. We do not believe in Jesus because of the authority of scripture. We believe in the authority of scripture because we know that Jesus is the Son of God. I trust the OT because I trust Jesus, not the other way round (Dr. John Goldingay)