Home > Biblical Theology, Hermeneutics, Preaching > Helpful Thoughts About Preaching Christ From the OT

Helpful Thoughts About Preaching Christ From the OT

Most of you have likely read this post over at TGC, but it’s still worth re-posting. Keller and Carson offer some wise counsel when it comes to preaching Christ from the Old Testament:

Tim Keller

1. Don’t “get to Christ” so soon in the sermon that you don’t unfold the meaning and application of the text to the original hearers. If you “jump to Christ” too soon that often means you inspire people but you don’t give them concrete application for how they are supposed to live.

2. Don’t “get to Christ” so late in the sermon that he seems like an add-on, a mere devotional appendix. If you wait too long to get to Christ listeners won’t see how Jesus’ work is crucial if the listeners are going to obey or heed the text.

3. Don’t get to Christ artificially. This is a big subject of course, but I believe two of the best ways are (a) by identifying in your text one of the many inner-canonical themes that all climax in Christ (Don Carson’s language), and (b) identifying in your text some “Fallen Condition Focus,” some lack in humanity that only Christ can fill (Bryan Chapell’s language).

Don Carson

1. Study constantly how the NT writers use the OT. That will give you insight into how you should move from the Old to the New.

2. Make good use of available tools, not least the Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. For even when you are preaching from the OT, the indexes in the volume will alert you to any use of your OT passage within the NT.

3. Ensure that this sort of study does not overlook or set aside complementary disciplines—e.g., understanding what genre of literature you are dealing with and how it makes its appeals, where this literature falls along the axis of redemptive history, and so forth.

HT: TGC

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