Evangelical scholarship has had over fifty years of extensive (and at times, heated) discussion over the usage of the Old Testament in New Testament. However, now with the appearance of professor Vlach’s book The Old in the New: Understanding How the New Testament Authors Quoted the Old Testament, perhaps we have now come to a grand summary of that extensive dialogue.
“This belief that the OT authors understood what they wrote applies to meaning, but it does not mean the authors always grasped all the implications, applications, and significances of their texts. While meaning is singular—implications, applications, and significances can be multiple.” (Page 7)
“There are approximately 350 quotations of the OT in the NT” (Page v)
“Also, affirming that the OT authors understood what they wrote does not mean the OT authors always knew the specific referents of their prophecies or the timing of fulfillment.” (Page 8)
“the OT authors consciously understood what they wrote” (Page 7)
“The Latin phrase sensus plenior means ‘fuller meaning’ or ‘fuller sense” (Page 17)
Michael Vlach ably defends the view that New Testament writers read the Old Testament contextually. He surveys and critiques various views and then illustrates his own understanding by considering many biblical texts. My conclusions would differ from Vlach in some respects, but he helpfully charts the landscape of views and charitably sets forth his own.
—Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Associate Dean, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky
Vlach has carefully summarized seven key positions held by various evangelicals (including my own view) on the NT use of the OT and has given a legitimate critique of each view. But more than that, he has also taken up a wide sample of most, if not all, of the passages usually raised on this subject and has given a reasonable solution in Scripture text after Scripture text—in a succinct, but credible manner. I cannot endorse Vlach’s work too highly, for I found that he had hit the nail on the head in case after case. In years to come, theological students and pastors will turn to this excellent treatment of this subject and they will find it is exactly what they had been looking for.
—Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., President Emeritus, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Hamilton, Massachusetts
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