I’ve always been intrigued by what Jesus meant in verse 52 of the 13th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel.
“…every scribe (a scribe was an expert in reading and writing) every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
There’s much difference of opinion about what Jesus is speaking about here, but at least Jesus has this in mind: Teachers who would be faithful to the meaning of Jesus Christ’s coming into the world need to bring out the teachings of the Old Testament and show how they are fulfilled in Jesus Christ and His Kingdom:
- The “suffering Servant” so vividly spoken of in the 53d chapter of Isaiah is fulfilled in Jesus as He – on the cross – suffered the punishment of sin and gave His life as a ransom for many.
- The Kingdom that would spread from sea to sea and from the Euphrates River even to the ends of the earth – as we read in the 72d Psalm – would be fulfilled by the Great Commission of the Church making disciples of all of the nations.
- The blessings God promised to Old Testament Israel – something God calls a “root” in the Bible book of Romans, chapter 11 – those blessings would be given to believing Gentiles who are, by grace through faith, “grafted in” to that root as branches.
- The Garden of Eden from which our first parents were banished because of their sin would be transformed into something far better in the eternal Garden of Eden – the New Heavens and the New Earth – to be ushered in after Jesus’ return from heaven at the last day of human history.
And there are so, so many other things of the Old Testament that have their fulfillment with the coming
of Jesus Christ into the world. Today, faithful ministers of the Word of God must be able to bring out of the treasures of their studies the things of the Old Testament and also show their hearers and readers how these things are transformed in and by Christ as explained in the New Testament. To paraphrase Matthew 13:52:
“…every minister who has been trained to open the Word of God faithfully is like the father of a house – bringing out of his treasures things old and things new.”
But I think we need to go further. In every generation of the Christian Church. we bring out of the treasures of our history things old and things new.
- We have the Psalms and Hymns of the Old and the New Testaments. And we should use those in our worship. But we can also use new hymns – new songs – that are faithful to the Bible as the complete and sufficient Word of God, but are composed in each new generation.
- We have nearly two thousand years of Christian church history (as well as the history recorded in the Bible). We should certainly learn this history and its many lessons. But there are events going on in our own day which are becoming part of that history. We should learn from today as well as yesterday.
- We have the words of the Bible and the words of hundreds of years of books that interpret and apply the Bible (some doing a much better job of that than others). While we should certainly learn from people today who interpret and apply the Bible (some doing a much better job of that than others), we should also learn from the best of books produced by godly writers in past generations. And , in any and every generation, we should especially learn from those books which have been most useful in helping people to correctly understand, to correctly believe, and to correctly obey the things given to us in the only book that is always correct – the Bible – which was inspired by God and is. without error.
Not to be too technical, but we need to resist our tendency to what has been called “chronological snobbery” – thinking that “our generation” is smarter and more “enlightened” than the generations that have preceded us.
The late English author, C. S. Lewis, put the issue this way:
“Disregard of human authority (that is, human authority in the generations that have preceded us) may …spring from the belief that human history is a simple…movement from worse to better – what is called a belief in Progress – so that any given generation is always in all respects wiser than all previous generations. To those who believe (this), our ancestors are (obsolete), and there seems nothing improbable in the claim that the whole world was wrong until the day before yesterday and now has suddenly become right. With such people, I confess I cannot argue, for I do not share their basic assumption.”
So wrote C. S. Lewis about the tendency – a very common one in the United States – to dismiss the wisdom, insights, and instruction of previous generations.
Today on A Visit to the Pastor’s Study we’re going to be right up front about bringing things old and things new out of the treasures of books about the Bible, the Christian faith, and the Christian life. And, as we do so, I want you to get excited about written things – writings both old and new – that will feed your mind and your heart and will help you grow as a healthy Christian. And, to do that in the minutes ahead, we’re going to feature what, in my opinion, is the publishing company that has done the very best job of filling a treasury with the riches of Christian literature – both old and new: The Banner of Truth Trust.
The Banner of Truth Trust began in 1955 – but I’m going to let our guest today tell you more about that. All I’ll say now is that, in preparing this program, I was reminded of so many of the books that, over the past nearly half-century, formed me as a Christian, as a Christian minister, and as a pastor. I’m excited to bring you into the world of these things old and new. Our guest today is Mr. Pat Daly, Manager of The Banner of Truth Trust, USA. And our program is called: The Banner of Truth Trust: Bringing the Past to the Present.
Pat Daly, Manager of the Banner of Truth Trust, USA – welcome to A Visit to the Pastor’s Study….
Here’s a link to the full program:
Yours in Jesus Christ – the same yesterday, today, and forever,