The Old Testament is dry, boring and irrelevant for today’s Christian, right? Life is so busy; I don’t have time; and the New Testament especially the gospels tell me everything I need to know about the love of God, his plan for me and how to be happy and successful. So why spend my time reading ancient history? It doesn’t seem relevant for the twenty-first century or is it? Maybe, I should reconsider in light of the following points:
- The Old Testament was the only Bible Jesus, Paul, Peter, John and the other apostles had. It was the scriptures with which they were familiar and the framework in which they understood Jesus the Messiah.
- The New Testament can only be properly understood when viewed through the lens of the Old Testament as it is the foundation from which the new came into being.
- Every major doctrine and teaching in the New has its origins in the pages of the Old and to truly understand these teachings it’s critical to comprehend their historical context.
Consider two passages:
“Every teacher of religious law who becomes a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a homeowner who brings from his storeroom new gems of truth as well as old.”
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven.
I Corinthians 15:45-47
God has treasures hidden in both the Old and New Testaments, but to fully appreciate these truths I should understand how the natural and spiritual fit together and complement each other. I am continually amazed at how God has woven together both old and new using one to give insight and revelation into the other while simultaneously revealing his character, his purposes and future events. It’s even possible to discover how I fit into his grand scheme.
I need to study the pages of both old and new if I desire to know God’s big picture plan, intents, and purposes. Amos compared neglecting the word of God to a famine.
Occasionally, I wonder if this word is for today, am I content with church or small group attendance, sharing times of fellowship and testimony with little emphasis placed on the study of the scriptures and even less on the Old Testament.
Do I embrace the Lords’ own perspective on interpreting Old Testament scriptures? For it is those holy words which anticipated his coming ministry, suffering and glorification. Should I not study it even as those early believers were expected to do.
Notice carefully his words on the Emmaus road:
He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.”
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Luke 24: 44-49
Even Timothy admonishes me to know the whole counsel of God;
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16
Dear God, bless my time in your word and give me a desire and understanding of its’ precious truth!