Preaching from the OT

Preaching, in my opinion, ought to be done largely from the New Testament. Now, I know that statement will be hooted down by Old Testament buffs. But I still affirm that it’s true. And I’d advise a new pastor to heed the advice. After all, we live after the cross, we are part of a very different kingdom, and we preach from a book of fulfilled prophecies, not those that you must still puzzle about.

There is just so much a man can preach about in a lifetime—or, for that matter, in a given pastoral charge. He has to choose. Now which ought to be more important for his people to hear—preaching from Old Testament narratives, or preaching from the material that belongs to our new age? Jesus told us to teach our people to “observe,” to use His exact words, “whatsoever I have commanded you.” How will you fulfill that requirement if yours is not largely a New Testament preaching ministry?

New Testament preaching itself could not be exhausted in a lifetime of preaching. How much of it, then, will be neglected even if a preacher largely chooses to preach from New Testament passages? It seems to me, therefore, that New Testament preaching ought to be every preacher’s priority.

“Do you advocate preaching from the Old Testament at all?”

Of course. I’m speaking about what you ought to emphasize. But, when I say “of course,” I mean two things. First, you ought to preach some from┬ápivotal OT texts, but even more, perhaps, from OT texts as a backup to those NT passages that you preach. The OT exposition, in such cases, will grow out of the NT passages, often as background information that helps understand the NT text. Since many things in the NT can be explained only by reference to OT teachings, and many times when preaching from NT passages, you will find it necessary to mention OT Scripture portions, in this way you will preach from many OT portions.

Whether you agree with me or not, think about the matter, preacher. You will—you do—you must choose. What will be your choice?

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