Deuteronomy: “The Greatest Sermon Ever Preached”

Over at The Gospel Coalition, Matt Smethurst has an interview with Gary Millar, an Old Testament scholar and plenary speaker at The Gospel Coalition’s upcoming biennial National Conference [TGC13]. As many of you know, Deuteronomy is one of my favorite books of the Bible and in my opinion one of the most important as well. Millar, who is an expert in Deuteronomy, would concur. When asked, “In what sense does Deuteronomy occupy a crucial place in biblical theology?” Millar replied,

Along with many others, I’m convinced that the Pentateuch is the foundation of biblical theology. Here in these five books so many of the themes and categories unfolded in the rest of the Old Testament and fulfilled in Christ are first introduced (e.g., creation, sin, covenant, rescue, seed, sacrifice, law, atonement, and God’s glory, just to name just a few). Deuteronomy is clearly the theological conclusion to the Pentateuch, and therefore must play a crucial role in articulating the theology of the Bible.

Moreover, the historical books (Joshua-2 Kings), the major and minor Prophets, and the wisdom books all lean heavily on the language and ideas of Deuteronomy. When we appreciate the richness of Moses’ insight in Deuteronomy, then, it really does open up the rest of the Old Testament (and, ultimately, the entire Bible).

I agree with Millar (whose book I studied when taking my seminary course in Deuteronomy). Years ago, while dreaming of what teaching series I would preach if I were a pastor to a local congregation, my line-up included (in order): 1) Acts, 2) Hebrews, 3) Deuteronomy, 4) Romans. Last year we expounded the book of Acts. Currently I am preaching through the letter to the Hebrews. When that is completed, I will be taking my congregation through the book of Deuteronomy, in Millar’s words, “the greatest sermon ever preached!”

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