For those of you following the Bible reading plan in the bulletin or the reading app, or simply trying to read through the Bible on your own during the year, the first few months may be the hardest. Leviticus and Numbers are difficult at times, and we often don’t see the need. Why study the Old Testament at all? Isn’t the New enough? Let me share some principles that I came across that can help us to understand why we need the Old Testament.
- The Old Testament reveals Jesus Christ. It continually reveals something about Him on every page. From the sacrifice of Isaac to the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, Jesus is constantly revealed.
- The Old Testament helps us to understand the New. Where does the idea of “substitutionary atonement” come from? Or God’s sovereignty? God’s holiness? God’s mercy? It all starts in the Old.
- The Old Testament is a manual for Christian living. We struggle sometimes trying to understand what laws are still applicable, but 9 of the 10 commandments are repeated in the New Testament. The Old shows us how God expected His people to live out His commands. Which leads us to…
- The Old Testament presents doctrine in story form. See Hebrews 11 for insight!
- The Old Testament comforts and encourages us. Where would we be without the 23rd Psalm? Or the story of Joseph with his wonderful insight? “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20).
- The Old Testament saves souls. 2 Timothy 3:15 says “from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” These sacred writings are the Old Testament. Is this sentiment only for the Jewish people? No, because Paul goes on to remind us that “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
I hope that these thoughts encourage you in your Bible reading, and that you stick with it!