Old Testament Character Studies

I have the privilege of teaching through a study of Old Testament character to two different groups this summer.

As I prepare, it has become clear that too often we change our hermeneutical methodology when doing a character study.  So here is my short, but hopefully developing list of guidelines for studying Old Testament Characters:

  • Understand incremental revelation
    –what had God revealed about Himself when character being studied was living
  • Study the characters in context
    –as in all Bible study, context rules!  A text without a context is simply a pretext to say what we want to say, rather than what Scripture teaches.
  • Seek to understand what in the story is descriptive and what is prescriptive
    –not everything in Scripture is to be emulated.  Most often the goal is not to copy tactics.
  • Seek to understand what God affirms
  • Seek to understand what God revealed about himself
    –God didn’t dictate a systematic theology textbook, but communicated Himself through encounters with individuals. And it is in these encounters that God revealed His character.

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