John Goldingay and the New Testament

Posted: November 3, 2015 in General

profile-goldingayToday [on 3rd November 2015, Tuesday, 8.00 AM] I had a face-to-face interaction with renowned Old Testament scholar Prof. John Goldingay at Fuller Seminary’s refectory over breakfast. My interest was on his new title Do we need the New Testament? Letting the Old Testament Speak for Itself (Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, 2015). He begins this important work in a rhetorical way of expressing his views: “Yes, of course, we do need the New Testament, but why? Why is the Old Testament not enough? By asking that question, I am reversing the one Christians ask under their breath, the question whether we need the Old Testament, or whether the New Testament isn’t enough” (p. 7). In another place he says: “Yes, of course, we need the New Testament Scriptures, but they don’t supersede the earlier Scriptures. We need the First Testament for an understanding of the story of God’s working out his purpose, for its theology, for its spirituality, for its hope, for its understanding of mission, for its understanding of salvation and for its ethics” (p. 32). In the concluding remarks he further states that:

In the course of telling his story and working out its implications, the New Testament does make some affirmations that supplement what people could know from the First Testament. One is the fact that Sheol is not the end for humanity. At the end, all humanity is going to be raised from death in order to enjoy resurrection life or to go to hell. Thus people in the First Testament “did not receive what was promised. God had planned something better for us, so that they would not be brought to completion without us” (Heb 11:39-40). Paul pushes the argument further in connection with affirming that all God’s people will be raised or will meet the Lord together (1 Thess 4:13-18). We do not go to heaven when we die; the entire people of God will reach completion together. Alongside this truth is the way the New Testament assumes the existence of Satan. While the First Testament presupposes the existence of an embodiment of resistance to God, the New Testament puts more emphasis on this motif (p. 178).

The book has nine major sections excluding the introduction and conclusion. They are as follows: [1] Do We Need the New Testament? [2] Why Is Jesus Important? [3] Was the Holy Spirit Present in First Testament Times? [4] The Grand Narrative and the Middle Narratives in the First Testament and the New Testament; [5] Hoe People Have Mis(?)read Hebrews; [6] The Costly Loss of First Testament Spirituality; [7] Memory and Israel’s Faith, Hope and Life; [8] Moses (and Jesus and Paul) for Your Hardness of Hearts; and [9] Theological Interpretation: Don’t Be Christ-Centered, Don’t Be Trinitarian, Don’t Be Constrained by the Rule of Faith. This new title is a good initiative to see the relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament in a new way. While, on the one hand, it affirms the special identity and theology of the OT, on the other hand, it emphasizes the further supplementation of the Old Testament aspects in the New Testament. A good way to look forward.

Thanks to Prof. John Goldingay for his precious time as well as his new book as a free gift to me. Read more about John Goldingay below:

untitled[[John Goldingay (BA [University of Oxford], PhD [University of Nottingham], DD [Archbishop of Canterbury at Lamberth]) is the David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament in the School of Theology and has been at Fuller since 1997. Before coming to Fuller, Goldingay was principal and a professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at St John’s Theological College in Nottingham, England. He studied theology at Oxford and was ordained and worked in a church in London. Goldingay’s most recent publications include the 17-volume Old Testament For Everyone series (Westminster John Knox/SPCK (2010–15), which provides clear, concise comment on all the Old Testament Scriptures, and The Theology of the Book of Isaiah (InterVarsity Press, 2014). His book Do We Need the New Testament? Letting the Old Testament Speak for Itself comes out in 2015 (InterVarsity Press). He is the author of a three-volume Old Testament Theology (InterVarsity Press, 2003–2009). His other recent books include Key Questions about Christian Faith: Old Testament Answers (Baker, 2010) and Key Questions about Biblical Interpretation: Old Testament Answers (Baker, 2011). He has also written commentaries on Daniel, Isaiah, and Psalms. He holds membership in the Society of Biblical Literature and the Society for Old Testament Study, and serves on the Task Force on Biblical Interpretation in the Anglican Communion and the editorial board for the Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies.]]

For more details about Prof. John Goldingay, go here:

Order his book here:

Johnson Thomaskutty, Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India

[GRI Writing Scholar, Fuller, California]


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