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Sovereign Grace: The Basis of Divine Election in the Pentateuch

Provided here is my capstone paper in my B.A. in Biblical Studies at Bob Jones University.

Presented before a group of my peers on April 26, 2021.


The doctrine of election has been the topic of discussion and debate among evangelicals since the beginning of the Church. Election “is God’s choice of those whom he would save,” as Fred Zaspel states and several questions arise in considering that choice.[1] On what basis does God choose? Does he choose corporately or individually? How is God’s election in the Old Testament different from His election in the New Testament? Systematic theological works attempt to answer these questions and discuss the topic in large. However, it can be observed that many of these works, in commenting on the doctrine of election, hardly mention how it fits into the Old Testament in their discussion. Most of the discussion is given to Paul’s statements in Romans 9, as well as Jesus’s parables, such as “The Parable of the Wedding Feast” in Matthew 22. However, election is just as much a theological theme of the Old Testament as in the New Testament. From an Arminian and corporate-view perspective, William Klein states the following: “Old Testament theology stands firmly on the bedrock of God’s election of Israel. Election is presumed and pervasive, and finds explicit expression in many ways and places.”[2] Being so essential to Old Testament theology, and thus, biblical theology, election must be addressed in how its theme fits into the entire biblical narrative. Developing a theology of how election fits into the beginning of the narrative of the Pentateuch is a necessary way to start.

It would be beneficial to address the argument of whether the Pentateuch addresses election as a corporate or individual matter or the argument of whether Moses teaches that election is salvific. Writers such as William Klein and Robert Peterson have expounded on this topic in numerous volumes. Specifically, in mentioning Jacob and Esau, scholars prefer to discuss whether Jacob and Esau in Paul’s discussion in Romans 9 are simply representative heads of entire corporate nation. However, the aim of this essay is to address what the writer believes is a more fundamental topic of debate. This essay will discuss the basis on which Yahweh chooses whom he does to carry out His redemptive plan. While the focus does not affirm a Reformed or Arminian side, this essay will argue continuously that Yahweh’s selection of a certain person or people group is based on His own pleasure and for His own purposes. In the Pentateuch, Moses teaches that God chooses whom He does based on His sovereign grace alone.

[1] Fred G. Zaspel, “Election,” in Lexham Survey of Theology, ed. Mark Ward et al. (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2018). [2] William W. Klein, The New Chosen People: A Corporate View of Election, (Grand Rapid, MI: Academie, 1990), 25.

Sovereign Grace The Basis of Divine Elec
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