“How do I get to Jesus from here” is a question that I like to ask myself as I process an Old Testament text. In my routine of study this question brings a measure of joyful anticipation to the exegetical process. When I work an Old Testament passage I do realize that the original readers of it would not have clearly discerned how it pointed to Christ. As a result, I must carefully discern the Author’s intention through a rigorous investigation of the Text’s historical, linguistic/literary, and theological aspects. This work is most critical if I am going to answer the “how do I get to Jesus from here” question in a responsible manner.
The historical aspect of the text is that documentary impulse that functions to record the facts of the matter. Some texts are more expository and informational. They are designed to tell what happened. Often historical facts are interpreted within a moral and spiritual framework. The historical details of a narrative are absolutely essential to the meaning and the message of the text. Historical details create the stage for what God is doing with His people in space and time.
The literary aspect of the text includes the rhetorical strategies and the linguistic factors that are critical to the communication process. The literary aspect appeals to the imagination in a story or poetic manner. Image, artistry, and genre dimensions are investigated in this part of the exegetical process.
The theological aspect of the text communicates the moral, theological, and ideological factors of a biblical passage. This component is strongly conceptional and includes an abstract vocabulary of terms like grace, mercy, love, and faith.
My “how to get to Jesus from here” case study will be taken from the book of Joshua. Joshua 1:1-9 provides the reader a set of generic markers that facilitate discernment of the author’s intent for this canonical book. Given the fact that Joshua could be described as a covenant military history document, Joshua 1:1-9 includes four related themes that are traceable throughout the entire book. The themes of covenant military history in Joshua 1:1-9 relate to leadership, land, the divine warrior, and faithful obedience to the Word of the Great King. Each of the themes identified in Joshua 1:1-9 are Christotelic and thus constitute the good news of the book of Joshua. In forthcoming posts, I will work with each theme to illustrate the “how to get to Jesus from here” step.