Bible Interpretation

New Release: the Old in the New by Michael J. Vlach

I am excited to announce the release of my new book, The Old in the New: Understanding How the New Testament Authors Quoted the Old Testament. The book is published by Kress Biblical Resources with an imprint from The Master’s Seminary. I have been working on this book since 2011. It was formed through years of teaching a Th.M. seminar at The Master’s Seminary called, “New Testament Use of the Old Testament.”

Trying to understand NT quotations of the OT is a huge topic for any one person but I have tried my best to address most NT uses of the OT in this book. This includes the “harder” cases like Matthew 2:15’s use of Hosea 11:1, and Paul’s use of “seed” in Galatians 3:16. In his endorsement of this book, Walter Kaiser states, “He [Vlach] 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.” 

I also address the various ways the NT authors quoted and used the OT. In addition, I also evaluate the seven different approaches to this topic. And I lay out the perspective that I think is accurate.

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“Reading and studying the Bible is not concerned with what we feel the text may mean”

"Neither Bible study nor the Christian life are centered on our feelings; they are centered on being mastered by the Word of God, that we may be anchored in God’s truth whether in good times or bad." - Ref21

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“57% of Protestant churchgoers say they find it challenging to make sense of the Bible when they read it on their own”

90% "agree they can usually understand how a passage of Scripture is relevant to them. Only 7% disagree. Four in 5 express confidence in their ability to help others with doubts about the truthfulness of Scripture (81%), difficulty accepting morals taught in the Bible (82%), and confusion over a Bible passage (81%)." - F&T

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Axioms for Bible Interpretation

How can Christians tell which interpretation is valid? Different people read the same text, and have different ideas about what it means. Why? Don’t we all have the same Lord, the same faith, the same baptism of the Spirit, and the same God and Father? Why don’t we agree on what the Bible teaches?

One reason is because some people are better at reading than others. In our day and age, people don’t read as often as they should. This means we don’t read all that much, which means when we do read, we can do it badly. So, when we read the Bible, it’s entirely possible we don’t read it too well.

A while back, Roy Zuck wrote a wonderful book entitled Basic Bible Interpretation: A Practical Guide to Discovering Biblical Truth. The title says it all. What makes this book so practical is that it’s written for normal people. Zuck tackled the problem of “whose view is valid” in this book. Here, I’ll briefly explain some of his axioms of Bible interpretation. No matter how smart you are, how many degrees you have (or don’t have), or how skilled you are in biblical Greek and Hebrew, these principles are foundational to understanding and interpreting the Bible. I once heard Steven Lawson proclaim that he re-reads Zuck’s book every few years; it helps him not forget so many of the basics that can be taken for granted.

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