Allan Moseley and Old Testament

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Allan Moseley is a professor of Hebrew and Old Testament studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. As a pastor and professor, Moseley’s intention in writing this work is to provide preachers and teachers of the Bible a practical method or approach to biblical exposition and teaching the Old Testament.  The work is divided into eight chapters discussing the topics of text, genre interpretation, context, study of words, the big theme or idea, connecting the text to Jesus, and applying the message of the text to our lives.

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Although the purpose of From the Study to the Pulpit is to teach how to do exposition of the Old Testament well, Moseley reminds the reader that biblical exposition can only come through God’s help. It is only through God that we are able to understand all that He has intended to reveal to mankind, and it is necessary to approach exposition with prayer so one may faithfully and effectively teach the contents of God’s Word.

The first two steps for biblical exposition are translation and textual criticism. Chapter one begins with the case for learning and using Hebrew in Old Testament exposition. It is often the case in regards to language that something is often lost in translation and history has shown that language often changes and differs depending on time and place. Moseley states that “faithful exegesis is hardly ever convenient”, but by taking the time to accurately translate a text from its original language, a teacher is not only able analyze the text at a deeper level, but also protect the message of the text from “doctrinal aberration”, and offer advice to others about various bible translations.

He also offers insight on the importance of Bible translations, stating that it is more than just a person preference, but rather a matter of it also being a biblical and an ethical issue. Chapter one closes with recommendations about textual criticism and analysis, language translation, ancient text sources, and critical commentaries to help a teacher of the Bible accurately preach passages of the Old Testament

The third step in the process of biblical exposition, discussed in chapters two and three, is interpreting the genre of the text. Moseley argues that in order to determine what God is saying in a biblical text, it is necessary to interpret the genre of the passage properly. He also points out that since genre affects our interpretation of a text, it will also affect the way we teach the text to others.

Chapter two focuses primarily on preaching and teaching the narrative books of the Old Testament and the book of Proverbs. In the section discussing narrative stories, Moseley leads the reader through six practical steps to teach and preach these texts, often referring to the idea that good exposition of these texts are necessary because God has allowed for us to know him through stories in Scripture. In Chapter two, Moseley also provides a practical approach to teaching the book of Proverbs, helping the reader identify the genres, implications, types, and theme.

Chapter three continues the discussion of the interpretation of the genre, but focuses primarily on how to handle texts relating to the Old Testament law, prophesy, and poetry in the book of Psalms. Again, in each section, Moseley offers practical ways to approach, interpret, and teach the text to others. In the ways one interacts with the text in Scripture, it is important to always come back to the point that in order to be a good expositor, we must be able to connect the Old Testament texts back to God.

The fourth step in bible exposition is exploring the context. Chapter four discusses four different contexts to consider as one is reading through a book or passage of scripture to teach from. These contexts are the literary context, historical and cultural context, the geographical context, and how the text situates itself within redemptive history. Within this chapter, Moseley suggests various methods to study the text to discover the context, but also states that the ultimate goal isn’t to create the foundations on which we understand the Bible, but rather to “look beyond immediate contextual issues and lead people to Christ.”

Chapter five draws attention to the usage of words. Since words hold meaning and we use them to communicate messages to others, it is important that we appropriately understand and use them in the manner in which they were intended, especially with words that may relate to theology. The purpose of this chapter is to “identify words in the text that require further study and make sure we understand them. ”In doing so, this chapter encourages the teacher to study the word in its original context and history, the culture in which it is used in, both in the past and present, and its influence as it is used. Moseley also helps the teacher select words to study that may be beneficial and meaningful to understand a passage of Scripture and provides a process in which to engage these selected words in preparation for teaching.

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