The first of three plenary addresses given by Dr. Erika Moore during the 2009 Women in the Word Workshop, October 2009. Dr. Erika Moore is a Professor of Old Testament and Academic Dean at Trinity School for Ministry. She is also one of my favorite teachers, especially when she teaches on the Old Testament.
I am grateful to link to a small portion of her work here on Wednesday in the Word. The following notes are from her handout.
Three reasons why people don’t read the prophets:
- They are weird.
- They are confusing.
- They all sound alike.
- “The prophets are weird and confusing, and they all sound alike” (Philip Yancey, The Bible Jesus Read, pg. 171)
- “The prophets have a queer way of speaking. – Martin Luther
Who where the prophets?
- Prophets were successors to Moses (Deuteronomy 18:9-22). They mediate the Lord’s will to the people and they function as his spokesmen.
- Prophets were guardians of the theocracy. They were sent by God to remind the kings of their covenant obligations (Deuteronomy 17:14-20).
- Prophets were witnesses to God’s sovereign rule over history. They give a word of warning. They say when this comes to pass, you will know that God is sovereign over history. For example, Ezekiel says “Then you will know that I am the Lord” over 65 times.
- Prophets were covenant prosecutors. They brought the covenant to bear on the people (e.g. Hosea 4:1).
- Prophets were intercessors. They pray to God for their people (e.g. Genesis 20:7; 1 Samuel 12:23).
- Prophets were “forth-tellers.” They were preachers to their contemporaries. Prophet were not primarily “fore-tellers” (predicting the future).
3 main periods of prophetic activity
- Pre-classical (early monarchy)
- Classical (8-7th Centuries BC)
- Exilic and post-exilic
Why is it important to study the prophetic books
- They are part of God’s Word.
- The prophet-hood of every believer
- They answer more questions about the second coming than Revelation.
Suggestions for reading the Prophets
- Learn about the history and culture of the period during which the prophets lived.
- Expect the prophets to use symbolic language. Flannery O’Connor: “To the hard of hearing you shout, for the almost blind you draw large and startling figures.”
- Look for recurrent themes.
- “Now and Later”: some words have multiple fulfillments.
- The NT is our only divinely inspired commentary on the the OT prophets.
- Ultimately, the prophets point us to Christ.
- Ask God to help us cultivate a prophet’s heart for the people he has placed around us.