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Quotes by Bill Arnold


[The progression of Saul’s sins from 1 Samuel 13 are easily documented]: First comes the tyranny of the urgent, the encroaching pressure from surrounding circumstances. This is followed by the insecurity and self-doubt arising from a lack of total reliance on God. Finally, there follows the rebellion itself – the pitiful human attempt to take matters into our own hands, which is tantamount to usurping, or at least presuming upon, the authority of God.


Partial obedience is really only disobedience made to look acceptable.


The Old Testament authors do not hesitate to name God as the origin of calamity or trouble, often described by the same term for “evil.” For examples, God sent a similar “evil spirit” (like the one He sent on Saul – 1 Sam. 16:14) between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem (Jud. 9:23). The Bible does not attempt to answer the questions, Why does evil exist, and Where does evil come from? Instead, biblical authors attempt only to expose the nature of human sin, which they see as the ultimate origin of pain and suffering in the world.


It is not uncommon for Christians to claim that the saints of the Old Testament period experienced God’s Spirit in a fundamentally different manner from that of New Testament believers or modern Christians. Many have relied on specific idioms of the Old Testament to argue that the Holy Spirit only came upon people in the Old Testament but into people in the New Testament. Thus, the Holy Spirit was only bestowed temporarily, and then externally, to Old Testament believers as opposed to the permanent indwelling of the early church. Such preaching and teaching drives a wedge between the Testaments, placing too much emphasis on disunity rather than on mutual interdependence between the Old and New. This is an inadequate and incomplete understanding of the role of the Spirit in the Old Testament. Though the Spirit of God sometimes comes upon individuals in the Old Testament to empower for specific (and temporary) tasks, there can be no doubt that His role is also more extensive. He has an indwelling and transforming presence in the Old Testament believers as well and is described as the animating feature that effects spiritual renewal.

Recommended Books

Encountering the Old Testament: A Christian Survey

Bill T. Arnold