1. What benefit is the Old Testament (OT) to the Christian today?
a. Is the Christian under the OT as a system of justification?
b. Should the Christian look to the OT for guidance regarding the work, worship, and organization of the Lord’s church? If not, why even bother with reading and studying the OT?
2. It is true that Christians are not under the OT…
a. Gentile Christians were never under the OT (or Old Covenant)
1) The Old Covenant was made with the Israelites at Mt. Horeb (Sinai) – Deut 5:1-2
2) Not even Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc., were under the Old Covenant – Deut 5:3
Therefore Gentile Christians were not required to be circumcised or keep the Law – Ac 15:1-29
b. Jewish Christians have been delivered from the OT law
1) Through the body of Christ – Ro 7:1-6
2) By His death on the cross, Jesus brought the OT covenant to an end – Ep 2:14-16
Its purpose was to lead the Jews to Christ – Ga 3:23-25
3. Unfortunately, some Christians conclude from this that we need not read the OT…
a. I have known individuals who have been Christians for more than sixty years who had never read through the OT once
b. I have heard of some who will not attend services if the Bible class or sermon series is based upon the OT
“Why bother, if we are not under the OT?”, is the reasoning of some
4. Is that the proper attitude of Christians toward the OT? This attitude.
a. Is wrong, contrary to the teaching of the NT itself!
b. Deprives the Christian of a wonderful source of peace and comfort God provides for His children today!
c. Prevents the Christian from gaining wisdom and understanding concerning the life that now is, and that which is to come!
[To help us to appreciate the value of the Old Testament, let's begin by asking.]
I. WHY STUDY THE OLD TESTAMENT?
A. IT WAS WRITTEN FOR OUR ADMONITION – 1Co 10:11
1. Paul had just reminded the Christians at Corinth of Israel’s fall in the wilderness – 1Co 10:1-10
2. Note carefully what he says in 1Co 10:11
a. The events described may have happened to Israel
b. But “they were written for OUR admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come”
What we call the OT was written and preserved especially for the benefit of Christians!
3. We should not be surprised to see how often NT writers appealed to the OT in admonishing Christians
a. As Paul does here
b. As the writer of Hebrews, in exhorting Christians to remain steadfast – He 3:12-19
c. As James, in encouraging Christians to be patient in their suffering – Jm 5:7-11
d. As Peter, in warning of false teachers and scoffers 2Pe 2-3
B. IT WAS WRITTEN FOR OUR LEARNING – Ro 15:4
1. Paul had just appealed to a Messianic prophecy in the OT Ro 15:3
2. Note carefully what he said in Ro 15:4
a. Things “written before” (i.e., the OT) were “written for OUR learning”
b. Again, the OT was written and preserved especially for the Christians’ benefit!
c. The OT provides “patience and comfort”, that we “might have hope”!
3. The OT provides a record of God’s faithfulness, how He kept His promises:
a. To Abraham and the nation of Israel
b. To judge the wicked and avenge the righteous
c. To forgive the penitent, and protect the humble As we read this history of God’s dealings with Israel, it gives us hope that God will keep His promises to us!
C. IT MAKES ONE WISE REGARDING SALVATION IN CHRIST – 2Ti 3:14-15
1. Paul noted that Timothy had known the “Holy Scriptures” since childhood
a. When Timothy was a child, the only scriptures available was the OT
b. So Paul clearly had the OT in view
2. He said the OT is “able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus”
3. How is this possible? The OT provides:
a. The fall of man and the rise of sin
b. The background and development of God’s scheme of redemption
c. Hundreds of Messianic prophecies which describe what to expect when He comes
4. One cannot hope to fully understand such books of the New Testament like:
a. Hebrews, without an understanding of the Levitical priesthood
b. Revelation, without an understanding of OT prophecy and apocalyptic literature
If one wishes to be wise concerning their salvation in Christ, it is imperative to study the Old Testament!
D. IT IS PROFITABLE FOR DOCTRINE, REPROOF, CORRECTION, INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS – 2Ti 3:16-17
1. “All Scripture” would include the OT scriptures, especially in the context of this passage
2. Therefore the OT is profitable for:
a. Doctrine – such as the nature of God, man, and sin
b. Reproof and correction – the need for repentance
c. Instruction in righteousness – how to live godly lives
3. Note that the apostles frequently appealed to the OT in instructing Christians concerning their conduct:
a. E.g., Ro 12:19-21; 2Co 6:16-7:1; 9:7-10
b. E.g., Jm 2:20-26
c. E.g., 1Pe 3:8-12
[Should the Christian study the Old Testament? Of course! Along with the NT, it was written:
"that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2Ti 3:17)
To not read and study the OT is to deprive one of much admonition, learning, wisdom, and instruction that God intended for His children!
In encouraging others to study the OT, let me offer some...]
II. SUGGESTIONS FOR STUDYING THE OLD TESTAMENT
A. INCLUDE IT IN YOUR BIBLE READING PROGRAM…
1. Do not limit your daily Bible reading to just the NT
2. I encourage one to read the whole Bible through each year, both OT and NT
a. I usually start with Genesis and end with Revelation
b. Others prefer reading portions from both OT and NT each day throughout the year
The important thing is to make the OT a part of your regular study of the Bible
B. CONSIDER USING A MODERN TRANSLATION…
1. I grew up on the KJV, and had little problem with the NT; but the OT was extremely difficult for me
2. In high school, I began reading the NASB, and the OT came alive for me!
I personally recommend either the NKJV or the NASB
C. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF BIBLE CLASSES OR SERMON SERIES…
1. If your congregation offers a study in the OT, take it!
2. If the preacher presents a series from the OT, give close attention to it!
Don’t be like some who won’t attend whenever the class or sermon is on the OT
D. GIVE SPECIAL ATTENTION TO PSALMS, PROVERBS, AND THE PROPHETS…
1. Certainly all of God’s word is of great value
2. But one might appreciate the value of the OT more quickly, by giving attention to:
a. The Psalms – as a great source of comfort, peace, and drawing near to God, especially in troubling times
b. The Proverbs – as a great source of practical wisdom for everyday living
c. The Prophets – as a great source for learning about the righteousness, justice, mercy and love of God
1. Should one study only those Scriptures that pertain to the covenant or dispensation under which they live? If so…
a. The Jews should have discarded Genesis, and the first fourteen chapters of Exodus!
b. We should discard the gospels, since Jesus lived and died under the Old Covenant!
2. We should not ignore the OT, for it provides…
a. The background and setting of the NT
b. Much in the way of admonition, learning, comfort, hope, even wisdom concerning our salvation in Christ!
Be careful not to neglect that which was written and preserved for OUR benefit…
“For whatever things were written before were written for OUR learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)
“Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for OUR admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (1 Corinthians 10:11)
And remember that…
“ALL Scripture is inspired of God, and is profitable…”
(2 Timothy 3:16)
- THE LAW OF LIFE – Comparing the OT with the NT. (raymondjclements.wordpress.com)
- Should Christians Celebrate Jewish Holidays? (raymondjclements.wordpress.com)
- Should Christians observe the Biblical Jewish Holidays? (raymondjclements.wordpress.com)