Understanding the Old Testament - Lesson 4

Covenantal Structure

By engaging with this lesson, you gain insights into the structure and thematic coherence of the Old Testament. You'll understand the threefold division of the Hebrew Bible into the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings, which are not merely chronological or genre-based but are covenantal categories. This understanding helps you grasp the underlying theological and thematic connections within the biblical texts. You'll appreciate how the Old Testament's covenantal structure mirrors and complements the arrangement of the New Testament, highlighting Christ as the central figure who fulfills the covenant and serves as the interpretive key to Scripture. 

Miles Van Pelt
Understanding the Old Testament
Lesson 4
Watching Now
Covenantal Structure

I. Introduction to Covenantal Structure

A. Thematic Framework and Covenantal Structure

B. Biblical Basis for Covenantal Structure

II. Threefold Division of Jesus' Bible

A. Reference to Jesus' Bible in Luke 24:44

B. Recognition of Three Divisions

C. Understanding the Hebrew Bible Order

III. Overview of Hebrew Bible Structure

A. Law, Prophets, and Writings

B. Explanation of Each Section

1. Covenant Books: Genesis to Deuteronomy

2. Former Prophets: Joshua to Kings

3. Latter Prophets: Isaiah to the Twelve

4. Writings: Psalms to Chronicles

IV. New Testament Reflection of Old Testament Structure

A. Covenant Books: Matthew to John

B. Acts: History and Interpretation

C. Epistles: Practical Application

V. Implications of Canonical Design

A. Understanding Unity and Message of the Bible

B. Practical Application in Teaching and Preaching

C. Christological Significance of Structure

  • Engage with the Old Testament to grasp its Gospel-centered nature. From Genesis to Ecclesiastes and Psalms, discover foundational truths, wisdom, and insights on suffering. Strengthen your faith and find enduring hope in God's Word.
  • Gain insight into the Old Testament's theological core, centering on Jesus Christ. Explore its diverse genres, languages, and authors, unified by Jesus as its focal point. Understand how biblical evidence supports Jesus as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, shaping interpretation.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Miles Van Pelt provides the thematic framework for the Old Testament. The Old Testament's thematic core is the Kingdom of God. Through this lesson, you'll understand its covenantal nature, from pre-temporal arrangements to various administrations like redemption, works, and grace, unveiling God's salvation plan in Christ.
  • Discover the intricate covenantal structure of the Bible, revealing its theological depth and unity, from the division of the Hebrew Bible to its mirroring in the New Testament, all centered around Jesus Christ.
  • Gain insight into the Pentateuch's covenantal structure, Moses' authorship debate, and evidence supporting it. Understand its significance as the foundation of Israel's relationship with God and its relevance for biblical theology.
  • Through this lesson, you will understand the theological, structural, and thematic intricacies of the book of Genesis. You'll grasp its role as a foundational text in both the Old and New Testaments, exploring themes of covenant, creation, fall, redemption, and the fulfillment of promises. You'll gain insights into the genealogical structure of Genesis, its portrayal of key biblical figures like Adam, Noah, and Abraham, and its connection to the overarching narrative of the gospel.
  • Exodus reveals Yahweh's promise—"I will be with you"—unfolding divine presence and covenant. It anticipates Jesus as fulfillment—a better Moses and Tabernacle—ushering in God's eternal presence among humanity.
  • Studying Leviticus unveils the intricate system of laws and rituals at Mount Sinai. It explains sacrificial atonement, priestly consecration, purity laws, and the theme of holiness, prefiguring Jesus as the ultimate priest, sacrifice, and source of holiness.
  • Discover the Book of Numbers' insights on Israel's journey, God's faithfulness, consequences of disobedience, and parallels to Christ, cautioning against questioning God's holiness and emphasizing His desire to dwell among His people through the Holy Spirit.
  • Gain insight into Deuteronomy's covenant renewal for Israel entering Canaan, emphasizing obedience, typology, and its relevance for Christian living.
  • Gain deep insight into the former prophets, exploring themes of Yahweh's faithfulness, Israel's unfaithfulness, and the typological significance of the Mosaic covenant. Understand its relation to the Abrahamic covenant and its fulfillment in the New Covenant under Jesus, revealing God's plan for restoration.
  • Joshua unveils Joshua's leadership, divine promise fulfillment in Canaan, obedience's significance, and Jesus as the ultimate fulfiller of God's promises.
  • Discover the Book of Judges, detailing Israel's history and faith journey. Learn about judges as deliverers from oppression and idolatry, portraying parallels with Christ's ministry. Uncover a pattern of uncreation due to idolatry, emphasizing the need for an eternal judge—Jesus Christ—to save from corruption.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Miles Van Pelt provides insights into the book of Samuel, exploring its characters, themes, and the transition from judgeship to kingship in Israel. Learn of the significance of the Davidic covenant, culminating in Jesus as the ultimate King of Kings.
  • Gain insights into the Book of Kings, revealing its historical and theological significance. Discover the fulfillment of Davidic covenant, reasons for Israel's exile, and anticipation of the new covenant. Recognize Jesus as the ultimate fulfillment of its promises.
  • This lesson reviews latter prophets' insights into Israel's exile for breaking the Mosaic Covenant, the prophetic office's nature, diverse prophecy genres, and the execution of covenant lawsuits, all pointing to God's judgment and hope for restoration.
  • Explore Isaiah's profound prophetic themes, from redemption to impending judgment. Unravel his life and ministry's context, review the debate around authorship, and learn essential tools for study.
  • Enjoy this lesson on Jeremiah, a second Moses figure, and his prophetic message of repentance, redemption, and a new covenant. Explore the book's chiastic structure, historical context, and theological significance, offering hope amidst Judah's fall.
  • Studying Ezekiel reveals its focus on the glory of the Lord and the temple. You learn of Ezekiel's exile, his visions, and themes like covenant theology, creation, and apocalyptic elements, offering profound insights into hope amidst crisis.
  • Discover insights into the minor prophets' diverse genres and themes, from covenant infidelity to divine restoration. Witness Jonah's repentance narrative and prophetic visions culminating in Christ's fulfillment. Embrace Yahweh's justice and compassion, urging Israel's return, leading to Jesus as the ultimate authority.
  • Understand the structure and themes of the Hebrew Bible's writings section. Explore diverse literary forms, intentional divisions mirroring prophets, and the overarching theme of exile and return, illuminating Israel's covenant journey.
  • Discover the depth of the Book of Psalms: 150 songs divided into 5 books, expressing diverse emotions and worship forms. Explore themes, structure, and practical applications for personal devotion and prayer.
  • Gain insights into human suffering and theodicy through Job's trials. Explore themes of faith, resilience, and God's sovereignty amidst adversity. Discover hope in God's incomprehensible sovereignty amid life's trials.
  • Proverbs is a book of timeless wisdom from Solomon, who was gifted by God. By studying this book, you can learn to navigate life with righteousness and discernment, rooted in the fear of the Lord.
  • Journey through Ruth, where redemption, loyalty, and divine providence intertwine. Ruth, a symbol of strength, aligns with Boaz, embodying ancient customs. Their union shapes history, reflecting the enduring legacy of faith amidst life's complexities.
  • Explore the Song of Songs for insights into marriage and intimacy. It navigates the tension between true love and temptation, advocating for unwavering commitment and passionate intimacy, reflecting God's desired relationship. Discover timeless wisdom for modern-day love and marriage.
  • Ecclesiastes reveals life's futility without God, emphasizing the necessity of fearing Him. Through Solomon's wisdom, it prompts reflection on divine purpose amid existential questions.
  • In Lamentations, mourn the fall of Jerusalem and exile, finding hope in God's sovereignty.
  • The book of Esthers contains themes of providence, hiddenness of God, and faithfulness in exile. You will uncover the intricacies of Esther and Mordecai's roles in the deliverance of the Jewish people, as well as the establishment of the festival of Purim. This study will equip you with insights into how God's providence operates amidst human events, even when His presence may seem concealed, and how faithfulness in exile can lead to unexpected outcomes of deliverance and restoration.
  • Through this lesson on the book of Daniel, you'll gain insights into its structure, themes of faithfulness in exile, comparisons with Joseph, and its significance for understanding apocalyptic literature, providing a comprehensive understanding of God's sovereignty and care for His people.
  • Explore Ezra and Nehemiah for insights into post-exilic restoration, intertwining faith, governance, and cultural renewal. These books point towards a deeper longing for true and lasting restoration and echo themes found in apocalyptic literature such as the book of Revelation.
  • The Book of Chronicles traces Israel's history, emphasizing kingship, priesthood, and divine selection. It anticipates restoration, pointing to Jesus as the ultimate priest-king who fulfills God's promises.

Understanding the Old Testament 
Dr. Miles Van Pelt
Covenantal Structure
Lesson Transcript

In our introductory lecture, we argued that the Bible has a theological center, a thematic framework, and a covenantal structure. In this lecture, we're going to be talking about the covenantal structure of the Christian Bible, especially as it relates to the interpretation of the Old Testament. Now remember, we got this particular scheme, this threefold scheme, from Acts 28:23, when Paul is talking about the kingdom of God and Jesus from the law of Moses and the prophets.

The kingdom of God is a thematic framework, Jesus is a theological center, and this reference to the law of Moses and the prophets is the covenantal structure. And it's a shorthand form for what we see in Luke 24:44 when Jesus refers to his Bible. He says on the road to Emmaus, these are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.

Here we have a reference to the threefold division of the Hebrew Bible that is now known to us as the law, the prophets, and writings. In the New Testament, it's labeled as the Psalms because that's the first book in the writings. And so just like with the Pentateuch, where the first word in the book is the name of the book, the first word, the first book in the section is the name of the section. Secondly, we know that not only did Jesus' Bible have three divisions, not four like our English Bible, but that the Hebrew Bible ran from Genesis to Chronicles, not Genesis to Malachi. 

So a threefold division runs from Genesis to Chronicles. How do we know Jesus' Bible went from Genesis to Chronicles and not Genesis to Malachi? Well, in Luke 11:49 to 51, we have this statement by Jesus, "The wisdom of God said, I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute, so that the blood of the prophets shed from the foundation of the world may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the sanctuary."

Now this reference to Abel and Zechariah is not a reference to A through Z, like you're thinking it perhaps may be, because Abel in Hebrew starts with Hey, and that's the fifth word in the Hebrew Bible, and Zion for Zechariah is Z, the seventh letter of the Hebrew alphabet. And so that's not working in Hebrew, and what it is in Hebrew is Abel is the first martyr recorded in Genesis 4, and then Zechariah is the last martyr recorded in 2 Chronicles 24. So from A to Z, or let's say from the beginning to the end of the Hebrew Bible.

And so canon scholars have recognized that Jesus' Bible had three divisions, and it ran from the first book Genesis to the last book Chronicles. If you look at your screens with me, I have provided for you two columns. The first column is the English Bible order that you're familiar with, and the second column is the Hebrew Bible order that Jesus would have been familiar with.

Now, I'm not going to have time to defend and explain perhaps the better arrangement of the Hebrew Bible, but there are two places you can go if you would like more information. First, I have done a survey of the Old Testament for biblical training in the Institute that provides a fuller treatment of what I'm about to give here. Secondly, I edited a book called A Biblical Theological Introduction to the Old Testament, The Gospel Promised, published by Crossway.

The introduction to that book is this lecture and more. And so if you'd like to read that particular introduction, we'll make it available to the site at Biblical Training. Let's take a minute and just briefly look at what's going on in the English Bible order and the Hebrew Bible order.

In the English Bible order, we have an arrangement in four sections, the Pentateuch, the Historical Books, Poetry, and Prophets. That is one of Genre, the type of literature, Chronology, how it is written historically, and Authorship, who wrote it. Genre, Chronology, and Authorship.

In the Hebrew Bible, we have only three divisions, the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings, or Psalms, as Jesus talked about it. These sections are not controlled by Genre, Chronology, and Authorship, but by covenantal categories. Remember, the Bible is a covenantal book, and the more you understand its covenantal nature, the more you understand how it works and its message.

And we're going to talk about that. And so we're going to see the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. And I'll describe some of that here on the board in a minute.

If you'd like to know, this Hebrew Bible order is very ancient. In 132 BC, a man was translating his grandfather's work into Greek, and in his introduction to that translation, he made reference to the Old Testament three times as the Law, the Prophets, and the other books, or something like that, and called it an ancient tradition. So by 132 BC, this threefold division was an ancient division.

So before Jesus' time, at the time of Jesus, and shortly after in something called the Babylonian Talmud, or kind of Jewish interpretation of the Bible, from the third to the sixth centuries BC, they refer to this threefold division, and in fact, articulate pretty close to this exact arrangement that you see the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings in each of their divisions. Now let's take a look at this covenantal structure. What I'm going to do is I'm going to try to graphically represent to you the structure of the canon, both Old and New Testaments, in a way that makes sense of the whole Christian Bible, but specifically as it relates to this course in the Old Testament.

And you can see we're going to make eight boxes. Now, you don't have to draw these at all, just follow along. The material is going to appear in another slide, fully written out for you. And you'll have that as a reference.

But I want you to follow along step by step to see how the Bible develops. Eight boxes, here we go. We’ve got our eight boxes down, and now we need to begin to label these boxes or fill them in.

Now, what do we have here? We have three divisions in the Hebrew Bible, the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. And they run from Genesis to Chronicles. So up here, we're going to label these Law, Prophets, and Writings. But what do those sections mean? How are they articulated? What's their significance? And we're going to put it this way, the first section, Law, those are the books of the covenant.

The second section is Prophets. That's the history of the covenant. And the third section is going to be covenant life or life in the covenant. So let me write that down.

We've got covenant, covenant history, and covenant life. So the Law is the book of the covenant. You've got the Prophets that record covenant history, and you've got the Writings that record covenant life.

Now, the Bible is a very special book, and as a special book, it needs a grand introduction, and it has that. And the fancy word for this grand introduction is prologue. And conversely, the conclusion is going to be called epilogue. The introduction to the entire Bible or the prologue to the covenant books is the book of Genesis. Conversely, the conclusion, or the epilogue, is going to be the book of Revelation, which makes sense.

It's the first and the last book in the Christian Bible, so it's fitting that they should be the introduction and the conclusion. A few things about how Genesis and Revelation relate to each other. First, you're going to find out or discover that the book of Genesis functions as both the prologue for the Old Testament and the New Testament. These are the upper register here is going to be the Old Testament, the lower register, the New Testament, and they're going to relate to one another. Here, Genesis begins with, and I'll write it this way, creation in Genesis chapter 1. It moves on to the topic of marriage in Genesis chapter 2. That is, the covenant of marriage is the climax of day 6 in Genesis chapter 2. And then we have C, we have the introduction of Satan or that serpent in Genesis chapter 3 who corrupts the creation and the marriage covenant. Now, think about how that works out in the Book of Revelation.

In Revelation 21 and 22, we have new creation. In Revelation 20, we have the marriage of the bride and the groom, that is, the lamb and his church. And then in chapter 19, we have the destruction of Satan.

You'll notice here that there's a pattern at work, A, B, C, C, B, A. That is, the Bible begins and ends with the same three topics but in reverse order. This is called a chiasm. A chiasm does two things for us here.

Number one, it tells us that the Bible has come to an end. When a chiasm reaches the original A at the end, you know that you're done. The canon is closed.

Two, it also tells you that there is a divine design at work across the whole canon. The Old Testament and the New Testament are not just kind of a ramshackle collection of books. There is unity and integrity. There is divine intentionality.

And the more we see this, the more we can appreciate the message of the book. Let's begin to fill in some of these sections here. The book of the covenant. Here we have what's left over.

We have Exodus through Deuteronomy. Exodus through Deuteronomy. And here we have the life and teachings of the covenant mediator Moses. These books begin with the birth of Moses in Exodus, and they end with the death of Moses in Deuteronomy, and they contain his life and teachings.

That's the first section. Now, before I go on quickly, let me justify separating Genesis from Exodus through Deuteronomy. And we'll talk a little bit about this in our lectures for Genesis and Deuteronomy, but it's important to mention here.

This is not a theological game. That is, there is literary justification for this arrangement that we see here. And it's this.

At the very end of Genesis, there is this lengthy poetic intrusion, if you will, into the narrative. And it's Jacob's blessing of the 12 tribes in Genesis chapter 49, followed by his death. The Deuteronomy 33, there is also the blessing of the 12 tribes, followed by the death of the blesser, Moses.

These literary intrusions that are identical, followed by the type scenes of the death of the blesser, function literarily to divide these sections in half. Again, more of that can be discovered in the lectures and the readings that are posted here. But for now, this will be good to know that we're not just doing this because it's convenient. We're doing it because the text demands it of us. Next, we're going to come over here.

We're going to talk about the former and the latter prophets. And if you look at your screens, you can see that the law has two parts, Genesis and then Exodus and Deuteronomy, as we've described it. And now you can see the prophets, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the 12.

Two groups of four in the Hebrew Bible. The first group is called the former prophets, life in the land. The second group is called the latter prophets, life in exile.

So let's just put the designations here, former prophets and latter prophets, F.P. and L.P., F.P. and L.P. And these record, here we go, first, the history of Israel. And then the prophets provide the interpretation of that history. The former prophets play out the covenant of Deuteronomy. It records the life of God's people in covenant from their entering into the promised land to their exiting of it.

The latter prophets interpret that history as a history of Yahweh's faithfulness and of Israel's infidelity to the covenant and therefore the coming of the exile. The former prophets are framed by a particular statement that is programmatic to the entire history there of Israel's time in the land. Joshua 21:45 states, not one of all faithfulness of Yahweh.

In 1 Kings 8:56, at the dedication of the temple, Solomon says, praise be to the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel just as he's promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses. So those two verses that frame the former prophets provide the history of Israel with a particular interpretation.

Interestingly, the refrain that describes the history of Israel from Israel's perspective is, "and they did evil in the eyes of the Lord and worshiped the idols." You see that in Judges over and over again. We see it in the book of Kings at the divided kingdom and stuff like that over and over again.

So that's the nature of the history. So we've got former and latter prophets that cover the history and the interpretation of that history. Look at your screens again and you'll see the writings, the third section, and again we have two groups and those two groups are life in the land with books like Psalm, Job, Proverbs, Ruth, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes, and then life in exile with Lamentations, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles.

Two groups and notice the split in the two groups matches the split in the prophets. Life in the land versus life in exile. And I'll just say here Psalms through Ecclesiastes and then Lamentations through Chronicles.

And these sections do this. How do you think and live in light of the covenant life? These are the practical books of the Old Testament. Look at your screen and you'll see Psalms, the book of worship.

Job, the book of suffering. Proverbs, Ruth, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes, the books of wise living. Lamentations, life in exile.

Esther and Daniel, are examples of life in exile. And Ezra through Chronicles, the life of exile. That's what's moving on there.

And the hope of a return from exile. And some of this first category, there are some of the more popular life in the land writings books. There are some of the more popular books of the writings like Psalms and Proverbs and Ruth and Ecclesiastes because they speak to the everyday realities of life.

It's interesting to understand and note that the arrangement here in the Hebrew Bible in terms of where books go is more theological than it is one of genre, chronology, or authorship as we have in the English Bible. I'll give you one example that will help you understand the significance of a book's placement in the Old Testament in this Hebrew Bible order. We'll talk about the book of Ruth.

The book of Ruth has three different positions in the history of the canon where it goes. The first one is the one well known to you after the book of Judges because at the beginning of the book of Ruth, it says, these things happened in the days of the judges. And the English Bible order loves chronology and so there it sticks it.

In one tradition, the book of Ruth is the first book of the writings. So the third section goes right before the Psalms. And the reason they say they put it there is because Ruth ends with a 10-member genealogy and it ends with David there.

And David is the author of at least 73 of the Psalms. And so he's the primary author. So they wanted you to know here's his business card, his resume, what sets him apart to write these Psalms, something like that.

But the book of Ruth in the Hebrew Bible follows the book of Proverbs. Now why would it do that? For this reason, Proverbs 31 ends with that acrostic poem concerning who can find the wife of strength or the wife of noble character. Ruth is the only woman in the Bible to receive that designation in Ruth 3.11. She is the living example of that proverb, meaning one of the controlling features of the arrangement of the books in the writings is that of exposition, what is true, and illustration.

How does that look? Look at your screen again. In the book of Psalms, the number one type of Psalm in the book of Psalms is lament. And so it's no accident that Job follows as the primary example of someone who lamented because of suffering in his life.

Next, you have Proverbs, how to live wisely in God's kingdom. And the height of Hebrew wisdom is a good and excellent wife. And Ruth follows as the example of that excellent wife.

And the Song of Songs provides the correlate to Proverbs 31. It's written for women, on how to find an excellent husband. And it ends with Ecclesiastes saying, if you don't believe all this and you want to live a life under the sun, consider it vanity.

Next, in the second part of life in exile, Lamentations begins by describing the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC due to the Babylonian destruction of the city. And then it's followed by Esther and Daniel, two books written about people entirely in exile who lived lives of faith. So you can dare to be an Esther, you can dare to be a Daniel, you can dare to be a Ruth, you can dare to be a Job.

That's how these books work in this particular section. So that's the basic order right here of the Hebrew Bible. You've got Genesis as its prologue, Exodus through Deuteronomy as its law books or covenant books, and the former and latter prophets as history and interpretation of history.

And then the writings are, how do you think and live in light of the covenant? Now consider with me briefly the arrangement of the New Testament. The New Testament is a mirror reflection of the Old Testament in terms of its arrangement.

Consider this. In the New Testament, we have four covenant books, Matthew through John, just like you have four covenant books here. They describe the life and teachings of the covenant mediator, Jesus.

They each begin with his birth and end with his death. They contain his life and teachings, and Moses and Jesus share several things in common. Both are covenant mediators.

Moses, the mediator of the Old Covenant, and Jesus, the mediator of the New Covenant. Both are born under a decree of death for males. Both escape that decree of death into Egypt.

Both teach on a mountain. Both are transfigured. Both die in a mountain or a hill, that kind of thing.

So there are a lot of things that connect these two people as type and anti-type. They're a mirror reflection of one another. What about in the New Testament? Is there a book there that has the history of the early church containing at the same time some interpretation of that history? Yes, the book of Acts.

Here we also have history and the interpretation of that history. What do I mean by the interpretation of that history? You have the history of the early church there punctuated with apostolic sermons, and those sermons function like these latter prophets interpreting the history. Just as three examples, we have Acts 2, Acts 7, and Acts 13.

In Acts 2, the apostle Peter at Pentecost is explaining the nature of the events of that Pentecost event, and he's using a lot of this material from the latter prophets. He starts by quoting the prophet Joel, in those days I'll pour out my spirit on all flesh. Here you have Stephen on trial and about to be stoned, and he gives this lengthy account of the history of Israel to defend his position, and so he's working hard to cover that history in his work there.

Then you have the apostle Paul in Acts 13 describing what he's doing and the nature of what his ministry is there, and he's quoting from all over the place upstairs there. So again, you've got similar things going on in the upper register and the lower register. Then finally, you have here in the writing sections, you have all of the epistles, the Pauline epistles and the Catholic epistles, James and John, and such.

Also, these epistles have the same function as they did up here. How do you think and live in light of the covenant? Especially if you think of the apostle Paul, most of his letters can be divided in half. The first half, the indicative, here's what to believe, here's what is true.

The second half, the imperative. In light of that, live this way, live this way. It's a structure known to us from the Old Testament writings in the book of Proverbs, where the first nine chapters are a kind of theology or an argument for the superiority of wisdom.

Therefore, if you embrace the truth of wisdom, then Proverbs 10-31 are all the different pieces of wisdom to try and understand and live in light of. What this design shows you is that the Old Testament on its own, but also the New Testament in conjunction with it, exhibits a unity of design, a unity of message, and helpful functions. That is, when we're over here in these books, we know we're talking about the covenant and covenant mediators.

Right? How does God relate to his people and what does he require of us? In this next section, we can learn from the history of Israel and the prophetic and apostolic interpretation of that history. It's not just moralistic flannel graph material, it's a history of the kingdom of God for his people. And down here, if you embrace the covenant and want to be a part of that history, you have instructions on how to live and think in light of that covenant.

Conclusions and implications. The construction of the Christian Bible exhibits an intelligent design that points both to the ultimate author and to the ultimate meaning or message of the one book. This design helps us to understand the big picture, how the Old and New Testaments fit together, and how the parts of each testament relate.

It helps us to understand how we ought to conduct ourselves in the biblical house of God. Each room in the canon has a function and purpose within the house and for the people living in the house. And here's my illustration for that.

In my house, I have many rooms, just like the rooms of this canonical design. And those rooms are outfitted with furniture appropriate to their usage. And we conduct ourselves in those rooms appropriately.

So, in my kitchen, I keep my food, I cook my food, I clean my food, and I have everything necessary for my food. In my living room, I have things like chairs and sofas and a television for watching TV. And in my bedroom, I have my bed and my dresser and all of my clothes and stuff like that.

In my bathroom, you know, I have my toothbrush and all that kind of business. Each room is outfitted with the kind of accouterments necessary for functioning in that room. So, if you came to my house for dinner and I was cooking in my bathroom, you'd think, that's weird.

Or if I had my car parked in the living room, you'd think, that's strange, maybe I should not come over here. But that's how many of us interpret the Bible. We don't recognize how the parts of the rooms work and we don't understand the materials in them and how they function in light of that. This kind of helps us know that when we're preaching and teaching from over here, we're thinking about practical things in life that are easy to understand and assess in terms of living.

But when we're over here in the law, we're talking about more of the kind of maybe, I don't want to say esoteric, but those things which say, how does God relate to us and what does he require of us? Who is he and who are we as his people? Different rooms have different functions and these can help you think that way. And as we go through the canon, you'll see how I work that out. We also see that the construction of the New Testament is based upon or patterned after the construction of the Old Testament, each having corresponding parts.

That is, there's some authorial intent and authoritative design here that God has intended. This arrangement is ultimately Christological because Christ is the one who fulfills the law, he is the prophet who ushers in the day of the Lord, and he is the ultimate interpretive lens through which to understand all of Scripture. So, for example, in terms of the kingdom prologue in Genesis, Jesus Christ is the seed of the woman who has come to crush the head of the seed of the serpent.

He is the true and better Adam, the promised offspring of Abraham, the one through whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed. In terms of the Old Testament covenantal books, Jesus Christ is the true and better covenant mediator. The book of Hebrews says Jesus is a better mediator than Moses. He's the true and better temple, the true and better sacrifice.

Jesus came to keep and fulfill the law and the promises of God and to suffer its curses so that we might be freed from the law of sin and death. In terms of the prophets here, Jesus Christ is the true and better Israel, the one who is totally and completely obedient to the law of Moses, earning the righteousness that we could not earn for ourselves. He is the seed of David according to the flesh, the king of the kingdom of God.

Moving on to the latter prophets, Jesus Christ is a true and better prophet. Not only does he execute the ultimate prophetic lawsuit, but he bears its punishment for those who receive his earned righteousness. He was not bound by the Old Testament prophetic metaphor, thus saith the Lord.

He spoke truly, truly, I say unto you. Finally, in the writings, Jesus Christ is the true and better wisdom, the ultimate praise of God, the very wisdom of God. He is the faithful husband who has made for himself a beautiful bride, an eternal paradise, so that they may together live forever in perfect, all-satisfying happiness.

The one thing I want you to get out of this lecture is that the Bible and its construction are more wonderful and beautiful and shaped than you had ever imagined.