Reading the Old Testament with Martin Luther

Why should we read the Old Testament? It seems pretty obvious to us today, but  in 16th century Germany there was a tendency to look down upon the value of the Old Testament. (No doubt Luther’s Law/Grace dichotomy had something to do with this…) Nevertheless Luther advocates for a figural sort of reading of the Old Testament, in other wrods he asks us to read the Old Testament in light of the New:

There are some who have little regard for the Old Testament. They thing of it as a book that was given to the Jewish people only and is not ouw ot date, containing only stories from past times… But Christ says in John 5, “Search the Scriptures, for it is they that bear witness to me… The Scriptures of the Old Testament are not to be despised but diligently read….Therefore dismiss your own opinions and feelings and think of the Scriptures as the loftiest and noblest of holy things, as the riches of mines that can never be sufficiently explored, in order that you may find that divine wisdom which God here lays before you in such simple guise as to quench all pride. Here you will find the swaddling cloths and manger in which Christ lies… Simple and lowly are these swaddling cloths, but ear is the treasure, Chris who lies in them.

Just as our treasured messiah was hidden and wrapped up in the swaddling cloths while he was in the manger, Christ our messiah is wrapped up in the swaddling cloths of the Law, Writings, and Prophets.

No Martin Luther! Don't Burn that Old Testament! Oh you aren't... its a Papal Bull. Okay proceed with the burning.
No Martin Luther! Don’t Burn that Old Testament! Oh you aren’t –  its just a Papal Bull. Okay proceed with the burning!
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