The title may seem somewhat deceptive given that modern scholarship often dates the final form of what we call the Fifth Book of Moses, or Deuteronomy, to the late 9th century before the advent of Christ. In fact, the vast majority of modern evangelicalism often distances itself from what is roughly two-thirds of our Bibles, downplaying its authority and applicability, when the authors of the Christian scriptures use it as the proof-text for justifying their arguments. The contents of Deuteronomy, either through direct quotation or allusion, is one of the most cited books next to the Psalms and the Prophets. Deuteronomy, at least in its Greek translation found in the Septuagint, gives us much of our vocabulary for Christendom. It therefore seems that Christians should see Deuteronomy as a gateway to the Gospel.
Such a view runs counter to the view of an unbelieving culture that sees and describes its contents as “barbaric”. They, of course, have no grounds for complaint given their rejection of the God who has made himself known and has made his will known in his law. It is essentially the difference between merely reading and truly understanding.
It could easily be said that the Bible is a cultural time capsule and that Deuteronomy is one of the mementos of that culture. Those living in a modern context, which is itself a relative term, ignorant of the past and everything that has come before, often make their judgments, often with a cursory and biased reading, without thinking them through. Any assumptions made, apart from a meaningful historical consideration, are therefore false.
The reasoning behind such an argument comes from this fact: the books that comprise the Bible, by and large, form the only ancient texts that the vast majority of people come into contact with. Combined with secular and humanistic assumptions, all of which are presuppositionally absurd, as well as lack of historical depth result in false conclusions.
We also find such in those groups that identify themselves as “progressive” or “liberal”. Such often concoct an a-historical and philosophically bankrupt view of Scripture, acting as if the New Testament somehow abrogates the Old, rather than serving as a witness to its fulfillment and satisfaction made present in Christ. For in the Scriptures themselves, we find this testimony,
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4, ESV)
The Scriptures, that are elsewhere called, “God breathed” that were being referred to was not what we call the New Testament, but that which we call “Old”. Therefore what the apostles understood to be authoritative and applicable we should do likewise.
All that being said, I am going to begin a series, kind of a ten-thousand-foot view of the book of Deuteronomy. Hopefully, this series of posts will become a video series that I will post on my YouTube channel, meaning that these will become an outline for that study. So, stay tuned.
Posts in this series:
The Study Itself:
9. A Covenant of Worship. 10.