And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life…But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” (John 5:37-40, 45-47 NIV).
Nevertheless they are unable to hold the authors of the Christian Bible to the same standard:
It would probably be hazardous to assert that the way in which the New Testament interpreted particular passages of the Old Testament was meant to be the norm of all Biblical exegesis. Yet the example given of the New Testament is a very important clue to a true interpretation of Sacred Scriptures…They did not, therefore, narrowly confine their interpretation and use of the Old Testament in terms of the immediate historic context in which any particular passage was uttered or written. (Roger Nicole, Hermeneutics, page 47)
The New Testament usage of the Old Testament that probably raises the most questions with regard to hermeneutical legitimacy involves the fulfillment passages. To the English reader it may seem that the New Testament writer is giving an interpretation to these verses different from the original intention of the Old Testament author.(Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation, page 50).
The ISPA [Inspired Sensus Plenior Application] of Old Testament passages by New Testament writers raises several questions. First, can today’s interpreters imitate what New Testament writers did in assigning additional and different meanings in applying Old Testament passages? No, they cannot, because that would depart from grammatical-historical interpretation and violate the principle of single meaning. (Evangelical Hermeneutics: The New versus the Old, page 252)
To understand the use of an Old Testament passage in a particular New Testament context, it is necessary to take several steps. This is especially true when it is a messianic passage since there is always a question as to whether we are dealing with direct prophecy or indirect typology. (The Hermeneutical Spiral, page 331).
What, then, can be said to our question "Can we reproduce the exegesis of the New Testament?" I suggest that we must answer both "No" and "Yes." Where that exegesis takes on a revelatory character, where it is atomistic or allegorical, or where it is avowedly circumstantial, "No." Where, however, it treats the Old Testament in a more literal fashion, following the course of what we would speak of today as critical-historical-grammatical exegesis, "Yes." (Studies in Hermeneutics, Christology and Discipleship, page 69)
All the approaches have one thing in common: they all recognize that the way to discuss the use of the Old Testament in the New is not on a "pure prophetic" model, in which one takes the Old Testament passage in its context and simply joins it directly to its New Testament fulfillment without any consideration of the historical situation of the Old Testament passage. In fact Kaiser explicitly makes the point that the best term to summarize the prophetic connection between the Old Testament and the New is not "prediction" but "promise." (Zuck, Roy B. Rightly Divided: Readings in Biblical Hermeneutics, page 207)
"It should be obvious by now that the hermeneutical problem of the Old Testament--underlined by the use that the New Testament writers made of it--is the central and foundational interpretive issue that the church has had to wrestle with throughout the centuries." (Silva, Moises, Has the Church Misread the Bible, the History of Interpretation in the Light of Current Issues,page 106, footnote 9)
If the relationship of typology and exegesis were merely a matter of definitions, we would not need to spend much time on it, but the significant hermeneutical issue behind this discussion is whether a type is predictive as prophecy is. Some argue, Yes, types are predictive and therefore typology is exegesis, for typology only brings out of the text what is already in the text…. (Preaching Christ from the Old Testament, page 250.)
But someone will say, "Why can't we imitate the principles used in the New Testament writings? Don't we learn our Hermeneutics from them?" The difference in qualifications is the answer. New Testament writers possessed the gift of apostleship and/or the gift of prophecy that enabled them to receive and transmit direct revelation from God." (Evangelical Hermeneutics: The New Verses the Old. Page 252)
When the fulfillment passages are typological the New Testament writers present the typology not as the meaning of the Old Testament but as a contemporary event analogous to God's past action."(Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation, page 51, bold mine).
The authority for the second meaning of the Old Testament passage is the New Testament, not the Old Testament. The Old Testament produces only the literal meaning. The sensus plenior emerges only after and ISPA [Inspired Sensus Plenior Application] of the Old Testament wording to a new situation. The New Testament writers could assign such new meanings authoritatively because of the inspiration of what they wrote...until the New Testament citation of that passage, the second or sensus plenior meaning did not exist as far as humans were concerned. Since hermeneutics is a human discipline, gleaning that second sense is an impossibility in an examination of the Old Testament source of the citation. (Evangelical Hermeneutics: The New Versus the Old, page 253, bold mine.)Others argue,
No, types are not predictive but are discovered only from a later stage of redemptive history; therefore, typology is not exegesis proper, for typology discovers more meaning that is in the text itself. (Preaching Christ from the Old Testament, page 250, bold mine.)
In conclusion, the vast majority of the New Testament references to the Old Testament interpret it literally; that is, they interpret it according to the commonly accepted norms for interpreting all types of communications--history as history, poetry as poetry, symbols as symbols. There is no attempt to separate the message into literal and allegorical levels." (Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation, page 51)
At the time of Christ, Jewish exegesis could be classified into four main types: literal, midrashic, pesher, and allegorical. The literal method of interpretation, referred to as peshat, apparently served as the basis for other types of interpretation. Richard Longenecker [Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period, pages 29.], citing Adolf Lowy, suggest that the reason for the relative infrequency of literalist interpretations in Talmudic literature is "that this type of commentary was expected to be known by everyone; and since there was not disputations about it, it was not recorded.(Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation, page 45.)
It is generally agreed that Jesus was a rabbi in his interpretation of the Old Testament (Bultmann 1934:57-58; Chilton 1984), and the rest of the New Testament writers generally followed suit. The Judaism of the Second Temple period was diverse and exhibited more than one tendency in their approach to the Old Testament, and the New Testament was part of Second Temple Judaism, so it is critical to understand the techniques that guided their interpretation of the Old Testament. (The Hermeneutical Spiral, page 324).
To the contrary, to many educated Jews of his day, Matthew’s use of Scripture was both legitimate and sensible, regardless of whether the evidence was accepted or not, and statements such as Klinghoffer’s actually betray ignorance of either ancient Jewish usage of Scripture or the thoroughly Jewish nature of Matthew’s use of Scripture—or both. (Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus vol. 4, page 8).
While it is evident that the New Testament authors, the majority of whom were first-century Jews, overwhelming utilized peshat in their interactions with the Old Testament, the question remains whether they also employed the other contemporary methods such as midrash and allegorical interpretation. (Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation, page 49)