Paul is the Key

When something gets off kilter, and we react to it, we generally fix it wrong. Previous reaction fixes are probably the reason things are off kilter now, and a new reaction fix is just rearranging the problem furniture — and not fixing the problem furniture.

I have been preaching in Romans for over a year, and in the circles I travel in, this is something you have to explain, or defend yourself with a joke about it. The previous orthodoxy in Reformed homiletics defended preaching throught the letters of Paul at great length, wringing each one out like it was a washcloth. This was frequently done with the aid of a systematics grid, and so Paul was arranged in quite an orderly fashion.

The reaction to this was “why not preach through Leviticus?” “Why not preach through 2 Chronicles?” This is a reasonable question — all Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for everything that a sermon is supposed to do. But we have to beware of a trap. We — two thousand years after the advent of Christ — need help with Leviticus. We need help with Genesis, with Psalms, with Deuteronomy. Moreover, we need apostolic help, and by far the largest repository of apostolic help for understanding the Old Testament is found in the letters of Paul.

The previous error thought to preach Paul without preaching the Old Testament, which represents a glaring misunderstanding of Paul. It did not chase his footnotes rightly. The reaction to this wants to preach the Old Testament without having mastered Paul first, which is sure to lead to misunderstandings of the Old Testament.


In short — and I speak reverently — Christ is the door to all of life, which means that He is the door to the Old Testament. And those who don’t want to enter by that door are thieves and robbers. But take it a step further. If Christ is the door to the Old Testament, Paul is the key.

Leave a Reply

Notify of