Many Christians have a very superficial knowledge of the Old Testament. It is strange, because the Old Testament is part of God’s revelation to man. Perhaps it is the word ‘Old’ that gives the impression that it needs to be discarded. That is not true, since the Old Testament is divinely inspired, ‘All Scripture is God-breathed…..’ 1
There are people who say: ‘Why bother about the Old Testament? Preach Christ. He is the Saviour.’ That is true, because it is the main message of the Bible. Yet why did the Holy Spirit give us the 39 books of the Old Testament? Is He so ‘ignorant’ that He did not understand that the Old Testament would be scrapped with the coming of Jesus?
Paul wrote to Timothy, ‘But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of …and how …you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.’ 2 At that time the Old Testament was the holy Scriptures.
The continual message of the Old Testament is that God’s chosen people, Israel, failed to obey Him. They failed all the way. Even the Gentile nations could not live up to God’s standards. The Old Testament’s message is clear and stark: nobody can live the upright life that God desires. God’s goal and plan is a perfect Kingdom and a perfect nation (able to obey God). There has never been a nation or even individuals who could consistently meet the requirement.
Nations are destroyed by imperfect leaders and rebellious citizens. God’s goal seems an impossible plan. We see that even with a ‘special’ nation, Israel, with a perfect God, and perfect laws to organise society, they still failed. Thus God’s goal, the perfect eternal Kingdom, will remain an impossible dream, unless God has a brilliant plan. That He had. It is His Son, Jesus, the Saviour, the Conqueror of evil and the hope of His followers. By demonstrating the failure of man’s own efforts, the Old Testament highlights the importance of Jesus, who makes God’s glorious Kingdom possible.
For a proper appreciation of the magnitude of God’s solution in Jesus, there is no other source than the Old Testament. After the failures of the Israelites and the Gentile nations, God presented His ‘Final Solution,’ Jesus the wonderful Saviour and Lord (see the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31).
The Bible is a wonderful book: the Old Testament shows how important Jesus is; Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit teaches us the Truth; the truth is found in the Bible; the Bible includes the Old Testament (70%). We should not neglect the Old Testament, since it makes us appreciate Jesus all the more.
- 2 Timothy 3:16
- 2 Timothy 3:14-15