Daniel Block, a respected evangelical Old Testament scholar whose new commentary on Deuteronomy will be a valuable addition to any believer’s shelf, wonders if some evangelicals today have fumbled the ball when it comes to handling the Old Testament. He certainly raises an important question. How should followers of the risen Christ read the Old Testament Scriptures in a properly anticipatory (cf. Luke 24:27, 44) yet hermeneutically responsible manner?

I corresponded with Block, professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College outside Chicago, about why he thinks Deuteronomy may be more like John than Romans, whether Jesus is a new Moses, whether TGC’s Preaching Christ in the Old Testament section is beneficial, and more.

What do you perceive to be the most significant misunderstanding about Deuteronomy in evangelical circles today?

People too often believe Moses’ role in the book is primarily one of a lawgiver, and so the book is classified generically as “law” rather than pastoral preaching. The translators of the Septuagint set the history of interpretation on a wrong course when they named the book deuteron-nomos, meaning “second law,” and consistently translated the word torah in the book as “law.” This word means “teaching, instruction.” As used in the book, it has exactly the same semantic range as Greek’s didaskalia or didachē. I wonder what our disposition toward the book would be had the translators called it by one of these names or simply translated the Hebrew title, ­’ēlleh hadděbārîm (“These Are the Words”).

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