Love for Enemies in the Old Testament by Matt Lynch

From the archives: Love for Enemies in the Old Testament by Matt Lynch

war eye reflectionLove for Enemies by Matt Lynch from the Theological Miscellany blog archives, discusses how we can easily misread the Old Testament by contrasting New Testament ethics with its message. He writes:

“It has become increasingly commonplace in popular theological works to draw a sharp contrast between Jesus’ teachings in the Sermon on the Mount and, well … the whole Old Testament. The most prominent verses cited as evidence are Jesus’ ‘you have heard it said … but I tell you’ statements, especially His statements about having an enemy. The assumption is that Jesus contrasts the ethics of the Old Testament with His ethics. Jesus says:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matt 5:43)

The proposed idea is that Jesus turns the vengeance-consumed Old Testament on its head.

As an Old Testament scholar, the proposed contrast is like nails on a chalkboard. In addition to the obvious point that the OT nowhere states that one ought to hate their enemy, and the fact that Jesus describes His teachings as law-fulfilling (Matt 5:17), there are serious problems with this view. I’ll focus on one in this first post, and offer it in the form of a positive thesis. Jesus gets His teaching on loving enemies from the Old Testament. “

Read the rest at:

Love for Enemies by Matt Lynch on the Theological Miscellany blog.