James B. Jordan is a Reformed theologian, who has some strange things to say, and some outstanding things to say. And sometimes both occur at the same time. One thing that he did say recently in a conference lecture in London was outstanding, and something which should shape our reading and interpretation of scripture. It may be strange to some, but it’s undoubtedly true.
The Bible is one book, not two.
Sure there are multiple covenants, and things progress, change, and develop throughout the book. The story of God’s people is variegated. It is not dualistic, however. The distinction between the Old Testament and New Testament is a distinction which we (i.e. publishers, and those who read their editions of the Bible) have made. Ironically it is not a biblical distinction.
In his lecture. Jordan ripped out the title pages of the Testaments. This was done for visual effect, of course. Yet, he has an important point. Paul says that “all scripture is God-breathed”, and we evangelicals say “Amen.” However, we often interpret the scriptures like there’s a division in them. We say “Oh, that’s an Old Testament category”, or “Well, I’m mainly interested in what Jesus and Paul said.” Huh? On what grounds? Certainly not on biblical grounds. Most probably on publishing grounds. The title pages are not inspired. The whole of the text of the Bible is, and it forms a unified whole.
Picture credit: some rights reserved by carl and tracy gossett