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Modern Reformation: Thinking Theologically

Learning to Read Scripture Like the Church Fathers

Published Monday, May 2, 2022 By Craig Carter

On a recent trip to London, I visited the churches where John Newton, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and Charles Spurgeon once preached, which prompted me to reflect on the state of preaching today. It seems to me that preaching in evangelical churches is in decline across the English-speaking world. Although there are bright spots here and there, the general trend is downward. In this article, I attempt to diagnose the illness and propose a remedy. I am not interested here in methods of sermon preparation or delivery, but rather on the substance of the sermon. Specifically, I am interested in how we interpret the Bible and how our hermeneutics affects the meaning we draw from it. In my view, it is hermeneutics and not homiletics at the heart of the problem. What I suggest is that modern hermeneutics—both liberal and conservative—is hindering good preaching because it prevents us from seeing and conveying the full meaning of Scripture.

The solution is a return to premodern methods of interpretation, which are vividly displayed in the writings of the church fathers. They read the Bible in a way that enabled them to make plain its true, theological meaning, which is deeper and richer than most of us know. This teaching is the origin of the foundational doctrines of the Trinity and the incarnation as taught in the great ecumenical creeds. If the fathers of the first few centuries had not interpreted the Bible as they did, what we know today as trinitarian and christological orthodoxy would not exist. So, it is problematic that only modern hermeneutics is taught in most seminaries and that future pastors can be trained without reading widely in the writings of the fathers. We can learn how to preach the Bible with power and relevance from the successors to the apostles, but only if we are open to learning from the past. Hopefully, this article will encourage more of us to delve into the writings of the church fathers and discover for ourselves how patristic hermeneutics can help us preach the Bible with relevance and power.


The Problem with Contemporary Hermeneutics

One reason why topical preaching is so widespread today is that preachers lack confidence in their ability to hold the attention of the congregation by simply expounding the Bible. It is not just congregations but preachers themselves who see the Bible as not relevant enough, and this is because pastors are trained in methods of hermeneutics that prevent the divine author’s voice from being heard clearly in the text. The human elements in the text are stressed so much that God’s voice is pushed into the background, and it is easy to forget that he speaks to us through his word. Human words are never as interesting as the living voice of God.

The writings of the church fathers are characterized by a deep sense of mystery and awe when standing before the Scriptures. To cite just one example, Boniface Ramsey notes that Ephrem the Syrian, writing in the fourth century, compares the Scriptures to “a spring that a thirsty person can drink from without ever either exhausting the spring or quenching his thirst.”[1] I find that laypeople have much the same reaction when the Bible is expounded in such a way that we hear the voice of God speaking through the text. Whenever our methods of interpretation obscure the voice of God by reducing the text to merely human words about God, much of our preaching (especially on the Old Testament) becomes moralistic rather than truly evangelical. How can we preach the gospel from the whole Bible? How can we preach Christ from the whole Bible?

Missing from most contemporary evangelical and confessional pulpit ministries is a focus on how the two testaments combine to make one unified book. Jesus Christ is the center of Scripture, and the divine plan of redemption constitutes a continuous theme running throughout the Bible. We need more preaching on New Testament texts that exposes the Old Testament foundations of their message, and more preaching on the Old Testament that shows how its teaching is developed in the New Testament. This lack, I suggest, is due to the overreliance of most pastors on modern commentaries, which are inadequate precisely because of their reliance on modern hermeneutical theory.

Modern historical critical study of the Bible tends to atomize the Bible into smaller units of meaning, relocating them in a hypothetical reconstruction of the events, personalities, and issues behind the text. This is true not only in liberal higher criticism but also in what is known as the grammatical-historical method, which is promoted by evangelicals who disavow the extreme anti-supernaturalist bias of the historical critics. The problem is that the denial of miracles is not the only effect of philosophical naturalism on hermeneutics. The exclusive focus on the human author’s intent as the key to the meaning of the text—together with the accompanying exclusion of the divine author’s intent—is another result of a naturalist metaphysics applied to interpretation. And even if one tries to soften the blow by insisting that it is just “methodological naturalism” being employed, the hermeneutical damage is still done. This is so because the exclusion of divine authorial intent from the exegetical process forces us to interpret the text in such a way as to obscure or elide altogether the full meaning of the text. It is no wonder that the concept of sensus plenior is placed under such severe suspicion in modern biblical interpretation. And it is no wonder that the christological meaning of the Old Testament is so fiercely debated.

Perhaps the biggest problem with contemporary hermeneutics is its obsession with the single-meaning theory. Both liberal and conservative hermeneutics typically urge us to see a single meaning in each text and to identify that meaning with authorial intent. This does not sound alarming at first precisely because it is so ambiguous. If we were being advised to see the text as the word of God and authorial intention as the intention of the divine author who breathes out the text, then who could object to that? But when we read in a hermeneutics book that we must seek to identify the authorial intent, nine times out of ten what is meant by “authorial intent” is “human authorial intent.” Ironically, this is true even when we have no idea who the human author was or even what century he lived in—as is the case, for example, with many of the psalms. This is even the case when a text by an earlier human author has been edited or revised by a later human author, which makes the whole idea of human authorial intent confusing indeed. Which human author’s intent is authoritative? The canonical text may well be the latest edition in a textual process that was influenced by several different human authors/editors/communities over centuries. But no matter, modern hermeneutics insists that the fundamental meaning of the text is what the human author(s) or authors/editors meant. Sometimes this ends up meaning what a generic human (that is, not an omniscient one) could have meant. This clearly excludes divine authorial intent, even if that is not the motivation.

Why is modern biblical interpretation so determined to avoid appealing to the intention of the divine author as seen in the canonical context of the text? It seems that modern biblical interpreters, shaped as graduate students by the modern university, feel a greater responsibility to the metaphysical convictions of the late modern secularizing culture than they do to the church’s doctrine of inspiration. This tension is expressed in the fact that a typical biblical scholar has one foot in the modern university, which is under the sway of philosophical naturalism, and the other foot in the church, which holds to the dogmas of the inspiration of Scripture and the two-testament canon. Ever since the so-called Enlightenment, the academy has been trying to wrest the interpretation of Scripture away from the church and claim that only the “dogmatically neutral” scholar can interpret it objectively and scientifically. But to be “dogmatically neutral” really means being a revisionist who denies the metaphysics derived from the central Christian dogmas of creation, Trinity, and Christology and embraces the neo-pagan metaphysics of modernity. Modern metaphysical naturalism and traditional scholastic realism cannot be reconciled or harmonized. They represent two distinct and opposing visions of reality, and one or the other must shape our hermeneutics. One reason why reading premodern commentators is so helpful is because they do not share the metaphysical assumptions of late Western modernity.

Some Inadequate Solutions

Since the heyday of historical criticism in the late nineteenth century, evangelicals have attempted to find better ways to read the Bible. Obviously, the denial of miracles, the atomization of the text, the loss of a coherent biblical message, and the weakening of biblical authority constituted practical problems for preachers. The gulf between the academy and the pulpit has steadily widened in the past two hundred years. This quest for a better way to read Scripture helps explain why dispensationalism spread so rapidly in the early twentieth century. It offered a flawed but comprehensive interpretation of the Bible as a unified whole, and thus allowed preachers to treat the Bible as if all the various parts added up to one coherent, unified set of theological teachings. Dispensationalism filled the void once occupied by church dogma, what Athanasius would call the “scope” (skopos) of the Bible,[2] or what Irenaeus would have called the “rule of faith.”[3] It was only natural for preachers convinced of biblical inspiration but deprived of the historic rule of faith as the hermeneutical key to interpretation to find this new approach to interpreting Scripture attractive. There was much wrong with dispensationalism, but what it got right was its conviction that the Bible, interpreted rightly, is supposed to make sense as a whole.

Within the Reformed world, there was a concerted attempt in the early twentieth century led by Geerhardus Vos to reform biblical theology as an alternative both to premodern exegesis and dispensationalism. Appointed to Princeton’s first chair in biblical theology in 1894, Vos attempted to reform the discipline of biblical theology that emerged out of the Enlightenment.[4] To understand his effort, we need to go back to 1787 when J. P. Gabler introduced the term “biblical theology” as an alternative to “dogmatic theology,” which he considered to be vitiated by blind adherence to church dogma.[5] Biblical theology, as conceived by Gabler, would use historical-critical methodology to read the Bible in its “historical” context, which for Enlightenment scholars like Gabler meant its “naturalistic, non-supernatural” context. Philosophical naturalism thus replaced the church dogma of the ecumenical creeds and Reformation era confessions as the framework in which the Bible was interpreted. This approach led to a cascade of problems. Predictive prophecy is impossible in naturalistic terms, and so many biblical books must be forgeries written after the fact. Any consistency of teaching by so many different authors in such disparate historical situations is seen as artificially imposed. The predictions of exile in Deuteronomy must have been written after the prophets, the idea that Jesus is the Christ must have been read into the Hebrew Bible by New Testament authors, and God’s metaphysical attributes derive from Greek philosophy and are read into the Bible. In short, the acids of historical criticism dissolved Christian orthodoxy.

In response, Vos proposed the redemptive-historical approach to biblical interpretation as an alternative to the kind of biblical theology driven by historical criticism. Vos and the movement that flowed from him were open to the possibility of miracles and so could do far more justice to the doctrine of biblical inspiration than historical criticism could ever do. The redemptive-historical approach to hermeneutics offered an even more unified understanding of Scripture than dispensationalism and was in accord with the Reformed confessions. Covenant theology drew on post-Reformation orthodoxy to develop an account of the unity of the Bible that highlighted consistency between the testaments, using the covenant of grace as the central unifying doctrine. For many today, this approach is totally adequate. Yet, despite its many indubitable strengths, tensions continue to lurk just under the surface. Notwithstanding the refusal of philosophical naturalism on the issue of miracles, Vos’s version of biblical theology still tends to reduce the meaning of texts to the single meaning of the human author’s intention.

In Europe, the neo-orthodox movement stemming from Karl Barth produced another version of biblical theology in which tensions were even more evident. Barth’s theological exegesis was light years ahead of the historical-critical exegesis of late nineteenth-century liberal Protestantism—precisely because it took the theology of the biblical text seriously. But, like Barth himself, European biblical theologians such as Oscar Cullmann, Gerhard von Rad, and Walther Eichrodt did not challenge head-on the philosophical naturalism of the historical critics. Instead, they attempted to treat the biblical text theologically while accepting the “assured results of higher criticism” on issues such as dating, authorship, and the unity of biblical books. In his Biblical Theology in Crisis, Brevard S. Childs chronicled the internal tensions of the biblical theology movement.[6] In an impressive series of publications during the second half of the twentieth century, Childs attempted to square the circle by bringing theological exegesis into his methodology without denying or revising historical criticism. Although judgments as to how successfully he held the two together vary, in Interpreting Scripture with the Great Tradition,[7] I argue that he did not. His intentions were noble, but the same irreconcilable tensions that characterized the European biblical theology movement continued to haunt his project. His emphasis on the importance of the canon for exegesis was in tension with his acceptance of higher criticism, in which the concept of canon was reduced to mere human tradition. How can a mere human tradition be the foundation of the meaning of Scripture? Childs gives us no adequate answer to this question.


What Can the Fathers Offer?

Near the end of his life, however, Childs pointed us to a potential solution to the problem he never solved. In a book on the history of the interpretation of Isaiah, Childs surveyed figures from Justin Martyr to the present, although over half of the book focuses on the patristic period.[8] He clearly shows how patristic interpretation of Isaiah grew out of the New Testament interpretation of Isaiah, which is significant because it establishes continuity between the apostles and their immediate successors, the church fathers. He shows how key texts such as Isaiah 7:14 and chapters 9, 11, and 53 were interpreted messianically by the fathers as they followed apostolic exegesis. If we can agree that the apostles not only provide an inspired and authoritative instance of how to interpret the Hebrew Scriptures, but also an inspired and authoritative example of how to do so, then the fathers become a crucial case study for how we can and should follow the example of the apostles in reading Scripture.

As Childs discusses Irenaeus, Origen, Jerome, John Chrysostom, and Cyril of Alexandria, among others, patterns emerge that show how the fathers read Scripture and the ways in which their approach differed from modern hermeneutics. Tempting as it is to discuss all the illuminating moves they made in their interpretation of Isaiah, I must restrain myself in the interests of space and urge you to read this crucial book for yourself. As I read it, I became convinced that Childs has shown us the path ahead by pointing us to the recovery of premodern exegesis as exemplified in the church fathers. They were not only ready to challenge pagan materialism; they also were open to the divine author’s voice in the text.

We cannot hope to overcome the deleterious effects of philosophical naturalism on hermeneutics unless we first recover the genius of premodern exegesis by studying how the fathers read Scripture in imitation of the apostles, and then imitate the apostolic-patristic method as we do our own exegesis. I will outline three key concepts that characterize premodern exegesis and briefly discuss them in how we interpret Isaiah 53. This should provide some idea of what it means to read Scripture like the church fathers.

1. A Participatory Metaphysics

The difference between premodern and modern exegesis is that the premoderns had a radically different metaphysical conception of the relationship between God, nature, and human beings. Premodern metaphysics was participatory, meaning that the world was understood to participate in the being of God—not in a panentheistic sense of a continuity of being between God and the world, but in the sense that creation is upheld in existence at every moment by the power of God and that in Christ all things hold together (Col. 1:15–17). Nature is not autonomous but radically dependent on God for its existence and its meaning.

In the Platonic tradition (understood broadly as the mainstream of Western philosophy that includes Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, all the church fathers, and Thomas Aquinas), any individually existing thing is what it is by virtue of its participation in a universal. A human being is human by virtue of participating in the idea of human nature. For Plato, universals (the forms) exist in a nonmaterial realm that is intelligible to the human intellect. But for Augustinians such as Thomas Aquinas, universals (such as human nature) exist as ideas in the mind of God and are the pattern by which the Logos fashioned the world out of nothing (that is, out of no preexisting material). Since creation was made from nothing by the transcendent Creator, its shape, meaning, and persistence in existence over time (its history) all depend on the power of God. Universals give us a way to express this truth philosophically.

In a participatory metaphysics, history cannot be reduced to a merely linear phenomenon, as modernity tries to do. Matthew Levering explains that historical events and persons always participate in the vertical relationship by which the finite being participates in the divine being, as well as moving along the timeline and participating in horizontal relationships.[9] If we deny the existence of the vertical dimension of reality (as modern naturalism does), then we must seek all our explanations for why things are what they are and why they do what they do within the horizontal dimension. This reductionist metaphysics is the source of the naturalism that characterizes modernity, and it shapes the modern historical approach to interpreting Scripture.

For the church fathers, the words of Scripture participate in the mind of God, who breathed them out, and their meaning is therefore his meaning. This has many implications for hermeneutics. For one, it means that when Hebrews 4:12 says that the word of God is “living and active” and that it discerns “the thought and intents of the heart,” it is not kidding. The Word of God is the Second Person of the Trinity, the eternal Son by whom the world was created (John 1:1–3), and the Word is the One who speaks and is spoken of in the written Scriptures: “All Scripture is breathed out by God” (2 Tim. 3:16). This double meaning of “Word” means that the living, personal God is active in the words of Scripture. Those words participate in the horizontal dimension of reality as human words written by human authors. But they also participate in the vertical dimension of reality as divine words though which God communicates. It is not a matter of biblical texts being one or the other or partly one and partly the other. All biblical words are both human and divine simultaneously, and this is possible because of participatory metaphysics.

2. Levels of Meaning

Since Scripture is made up of words that are both human and divine, it is only reasonable to speak of both human and divine authorial intent. The human writers had propositions in mind when they freely wrote what they wrote. Because of the classical theistic account of divine providence, we can distinguish between primary and secondary causality. So, the human writer, freely expressing his own thoughts, is also (providentially) writing exactly what God, the divine author, intends. God inspires the text through a combination of providence and miracle, with the result that divine intentions are faithfully expressed in the human writer’s words. Sometimes this happens because God has chosen a particular human being and given him particular characteristics, family background, temperament, intellect, and so on, enabling the writer to express exactly what God wants written. Sometimes, however, God gives the human author information to which he would never have had access except that God gives it through a dream, vision, or other supernatural means. When biblical writers overhear conversations in heaven (for example, as in Isa. 6 or Rev. 4), they are able to write what no human being would ever know apart from supernatural revelation. But the point is that within the context of premodern, classical metaphysics, it does not really matter whether the writer gets the words from what we might think of as a “natural” source (like interviewing an eyewitness) or from a “supernatural” source (like a heavenly vision). In both cases, God is the ultimate source of those words.

This means that when we read Scripture, we need to contemplate the human and the divine author’s intent. Throughout church history, premodern interpreters saw levels of meaning in the text. Patristic and medieval interpreters spoke of two basic senses: the literal and the spiritual. Many also broke the spiritual sense down into the allegorical (faith; what we can believe), the moral (love; what we should do), and the anagogical (hope; what the future holds).[10] The basic idea is that Scripture has a depth of meaning that makes it unique because it is uniquely inspired. A text may contain exactly what Isaiah or Paul intended it to contain, yet it may also contain meaning that goes beyond what he consciously intended. That meaning is there because of inspiration.

This is one reason why the Bible remains relevant and speaks freshly to every generation, not just to the original readers. To assume, as historical criticism does, that the original audience understood it better than we do centuries later contradicts what the Bible itself teaches. For example, Paul insists that the narratives in the Pentateuch were written for his generation: “Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did” (1 Cor. 10:6). He also says that these books “were written down for our instruction” (1 Cor. 10:10). It is fascinating to observe the rock-solid conviction of the apostles that the Hebrew Scriptures, written centuries before, were all about the events that happened in their generation. Centuries-old messianic promises were being fulfilled and new depths of meaning in the Scriptures were opening before their eyes. The divine author never stops speaking through the text, and some of the text’s meaning becomes clear only after a long time has passed.

3. Christ in All of Scripture

A participatory metaphysics and the presence of levels of meaning in the text make possible what is perhaps the most outstanding characteristic of the biblical interpretation of the church fathers, which is their conviction that Christ is properly found in all of Scripture. It should not be surprising that Christ is the central theme of the Bible, since Christ is, after all, the God who inspired the Scripture. Likewise, it should not be surprising that creation directs our praise to God, since it is God’s creation.

Christ is the speaker of Scripture, the subject matter of Scripture, and the interpreter of Scripture, as we can see when we contemplate Luke 24:27: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Christ interprets the Scriptures for the disciples not just in his resurrection appearances but also continuously through his Spirit (John 16:13). He tells us that “all” the Scriptures (what we call the Old Testament) speak of him.[11] It is amazing how much debate has occurred in modernity about the christological content of the Old Testament, as if there could be any doubt that Christ is there, waiting to be discerned by faith as the believing reader is guided by the Spirit. Yet how often do we hear scholars speak disparagingly of “finding Christ under every rock” in the Old Testament! Modernity trains us to reduce the meaning of the text to the human author’s intention, and then it insists that we reduce the potential human author’s intention to what can be explained by the horizontal level of events and people in the past that contributed to the human author’s frame of reference. But when we consider the participation of the text in the being of God, who is its ultimate author, we can see that God’s intention constitutes a deeper level of meaning that is there even if it was misunderstood until the events occurred, making us wonder how it was overlooked by so many for so long.


Premodern Versus Modern Exegesis of Isaiah 53

In this final section, we will consider how the issues discussed so far affect the interpretation of Isaiah 53. Due to limited space, I will make only a few comments on how the church fathers approached exegesis, which enables us to see Christ in the Old Testament in a way that modern historical approaches cannot match.

According to Brevard Childs, this text is the “most contested chapter”[12] in the Old Testament. Yet the entire Christian tradition—beginning with the writers of the New Testament and continuing in every century of church history—saw it as a prophecy of the crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  John R. W. Stott points out that the major writers of the New Testament—Paul, John, Peter, Luke, and Matthew—allude to eight of the twelve verses of Isaiah 53. He surmises that it was from this chapter that Jesus learned that the Messiah’s vocation was to die for human sin and then be glorified.[13] One widely used introduction to the Old Testament claims that there are thirty-eight references to Isaiah 53 in the New Testament.[14]

Yet modern historical-critical approaches to the exegesis of Isaiah 53 regularly find no explicit reference to Christ here. Christopher R. North catalogs fifteen different proposals for the identity of the suffering servant from Jewish, early Christian, and modern interpreters, including Moses, Hezekiah, and Deutero-Isaiah, and collectives such as ideal Israel, the righteous remnant of Israel, and the prophets.[15] The consensus of historical-critical treatments of Isaiah 53 is that it cannot possibly be about Jesus Christ because that would require a person from the eighth (or sixth) century before Christ to know about someone centuries later who would do something radically new and barely intelligible in terms of the thought world of the writer. An exclusive focus on human authorial intent, naturalistically conceived, makes the New Testament interpretation of Isaiah 53 virtually impossible.

We can see that the christological meaning of the text depends on there being a deeper layer of meaning within the text put there by the divine author, whose knowledge is not limited like a mere mortal operating within the constraints of history. Yet, if we understand the text to have human authorial intent (the literal sense) plus divine authorial intent (the spiritual or expanded literal sense), then we can see the meaning of the New Testament writers as having been extracted from the text rather than read into it. Surely, this distinction is critical. Whether this is eisegesis or exegesis makes all the difference in the world to the credibility of the New Testament. The question at stake in the debates between Paul and the Jews in the synagogues of the various cities he visited (Acts 17:2) was whether Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah prophesied in the Scriptures. Was he really prophesied by Isaiah 53, or is Paul just reading Christ into it? No question could be more fundamental to the faith of the church.



The key to good preaching is good hermeneutics, which requires a participatory metaphysics where created reality is radically dependent on God for its existence and meaning. Interpreting the Bible within the context of both the vertical dimension of creaturely participation in God’s being and the horizontal dimension of creation’s movement through time toward its destiny in Christ allows us to see levels of meaning in the text. Although its literal sense is basic to its meaning, this does not limit it to the natural, horizontal dimension of reality, because God is its primary author. The Bible is inspired and providentially shaped into a two-testament canon, unified in that the old predicts Christ and the new proclaims Christ. When we interpret Scripture in this context, rather than a hypothetically reconstructed historical context, two things happen. First, our preaching is authoritative because it is rooted in God, not in human scholarship or the latest “assured results” of historical criticism. Second, our preaching is powerful because we preach the Bible itself—not in the narrow sense of basing every statement on a direct quotation from it, but in the more profound sense of expressing the unified message of the prophets and apostles as it relates to its center: namely, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Craig A. Carter is research professor at Tyndale University in Toronto and theologian in residence at Westney Heights Baptist Church in Ajax, Ontario.

  • Craig Carter

1. Ephrem as quoted by Boniface Ramsey in Beginning to Read the Church Fathers (New York: Paulist Press, 1985), 25.
2. For a discussion of what Athanasius means by the skopos of Scripture and partitive exegesis, see John Behr, Formation of Christian Theology Vol. 2; The Nicene Faith Part 1 (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Press, 2004), 208–15.
3. See Duane Litfin’s discussion of the rule of faith in Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2007), 90–91.
4. See his inaugural address “The Idea of Biblical Theology as a Science and as a Theological Discipline,” in Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation: The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos, ed. Richard B. Gaffin (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 1980), 3–24.
5. For an English translation of this address, see John Sandys-Wunsch and Laurence Eldredge, “J. P. Gabler and the Distinction between Biblical and Dogmatic Theology: Translation, Commentary and Discussion of His Originality,” Scottish Journal of Theology 33 (1980): 135–58.
6. Brevard S. Childs, Biblical Theology in Crisis (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1970).
7. Craig A. Carter, Interpreting Scripture with the Great Tradition: Recovering the Genius of Premodern Exegesis (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2018), 19n36, 97–110.
8. Brevard S. Childs, The Struggle to Understand Isaiah as Christian Scripture (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004).
9. Matthew Levering, Participatory Biblical Exegesis: A Theology of Biblical Interpretation (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press), 1–3.
10. For a basic introduction to the fourfold sense of Scripture, see Ramsey, Beginning to Read the Church Fathers, ch. 2.
11. In the next pericope, the Psalms are mentioned along with the Law of Moses and the Prophets (Luke 24:44). To speak of the Psalms was a common way of referring to the third part of the Hebrew canon. To speak of the Law and the Prophets is a shorthand way of speaking of the canon that does not exclude the Writings.
12. Brevard S. Childs, Isaiah: A Commentary. Old Testament Library (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 2001), 410.
13. John R. W. Stott, The Cross of Christ (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2986), 31.
14. Andrew E. Hill and John H. Walton, A Survey of the Old Testament, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009), 745.
15. Christopher R. North, The Suffering Servant in Deutero-Isaiah: An Historical and Critical Study, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1956), 6–116.
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