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My Vote: Read the Lines

Posted by Matt Postiff February 15, 2011 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Interpretation 

An interesting conversation on seeing Christ in the OT started with Mark Snoeberger's post, with a response at the paleoevangelical blog, and some more by Snoeberger in the comments of the post here.

In light of this conversation, we are faced with at least three choices, the main ones being: reading the lines, reading between the lines, or a combination of both. I am voting for "reading the lines."

It is not at all necessary to read between the lines to find most of what Ben and Chris and the other commentators see in the OT about the Messiah. Furthermore, it is hermeneutically dangerous to read between the lines. Why? First, the meaning of the text of the Bible is in the text, not the whitespace. Second, the text, not the whitespace, is inspired. Third, between the lines gives away too much of the idea of progressive revelation.

Perhaps I am taking "between the lines" a bit too literally (!), but it seems that the propositions communicated in the OT are clear enough without having to hunt behind or under the Scriptural text.

Now, the above is not a full endorsement of what Mark has written, particularly the idea in his original post that Christ is not a theme in the OT. I would beg to differ...ideas such as God raising up an ideal prophet/priest/king (Deuteronomy 18:15 / 1 Samuel 2:35, Psalm 110:4 / 2 Samuel 7, Psalm 2:7, Amos 9:11) and the servant motif (Isaiah 53) are very important forward-looking ideas in the OT that are clearly Messianic. But, that said, I think Brother Snoeberger has made a helpful, if slightly overstated, point.

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