I love the stories found in the Old Testament. Growing up, I remember learning all about Noah and the flood, Jonah and the whale, David and Goliath, and Daniel in the lions’ den. But while the pages of the Old Testament are filled with courageous stories that inspire us to trust God in all things, there are also some difficult aspects to consider. The Old Testament contains the Law of Moses, biblical prophecy, and many tough (and often controversial) passages. So as a child, my Bible studies skipped over a lot of these elements. I studied the individual stories, but the controversial pieces were kept to a minimum.
The problem with studying the Old Testament the way I did as a child is that it feels very disconnected. How do these men and women relate to one another? How do they relate to God’s Law and covenants? And most importantly, how do they relate to Jesus and our salvation?
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- The Bible is not a collection of unrelated stories. It is the story of God’s relationship to mankind. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them… including us. This is where our relationship with God began. But something got in the way. Sin, darkness, and death took over. But Jesus! He gained a victory on the cross that would result in our happily ever after. Every single event found in Scripture leads us to this happily ever after.
- The covenants matter… a lot. I don’t remember learning a lot about covenants growing up. I understood that God made one with Abraham, but beyond that, my knowledge was limited at best. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to understand the New Covenant Jesus established without understanding the old ones that He fulfilled.
- You cannot fully understand the New Testament without understanding the Old Testament. Why was a Savior needed in the first place? Why didn’t the Jewish people of Jesus’ day receive Him as their Messiah? Was the cross really necessary for salvation? And why was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit such a game-changer? These questions and more are answered by studying the Old Testament.
- Every aspect of the Old Testament either points to Jesus or leads us to Him. Every person, every event, and every law or principle points to God’s plan of redemption through Jesus Christ. With that being said, studying the New Testament apart from the Old Testament is like reading the last chapter of a complex novel and paying very little attention to the rest of the narrative. You may somewhat understand the ending, but many things won’t make sense… or worse, they could even be distorted.
Studying the Old Testament is crucial because it is so much more than a collection of stories. It tells the beginning of our salvation story in Christ. Everything points to Him.
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” – Matthew 5:17
So as we dive into the stories found in the Old Testament, let’s remember this key point. Every story is part of a much larger narrative… one that is all about Jesus.
This post is part of a larger series called “Let There Be Light.” Join me as we journey through the Old Testament leading up to the arrival of Jesus, the Light of the World!
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
**Photo by Ben White at ChristianPics.co