May 31, 2014.
Yesterday I finished reading through the Old Testament in my second journey through the bible. I honestly didn’t appreciate the Old Testament until the first time I read through the bible. Now that I have, I absolutely love it. It really puts Christianity in perspective. It reveals the character of God and lets you get to know Him so much better. There are things in the New Testament that honestly don’t make any sense unless you have the Old Testament. I believe that God preserved the complete bible so that we would get the full picture rather than a small glimpse. Paul has this to say about it:
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
The Old Testament is there for a reason, and that reason is for our learning. I think we should want to read all of His word. In fact, most of the New Testament pulls from the Old. When the writers of the New Testament referred to the Scriptures they were referring to the Old Testament. The book of Revelation alone has over 400 references to the Old (or so I’ve been told, I haven’t counted myself).
Something that has come up on several occasions as we are teaching English with the book of Luke here in Nicaragua is a question that I ask about the temptation of Jesus. In short, the story goes something like this:
And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’”
Now, the obvious point to pull from this story is that Jesus was tempted just as we are tempted and he withstood the temptation. This is a very good point to make about this story. But the question I like to as about this story is “Do you think Jesus studied the Scriptures often?” This idea might go unnoticed if it isn’t brought up. I believe that Jesus spent much time in the Old Testament. One could make the point that Jesus is God, therefore he automatically knew the Scriptures, but I tend to believe he was fully human at the same time which would mean he studied thoroughly. When he was 12 he was reasoning with the Jewish leaders and scribes. He was called “Rabbi” by his disciples which may mean he had hardcore training in the old law.
So, I guess the question is, how important is the Old Testament for Christians today? It’s obvious where my bias stands, but I don’t think I can convince you through mere words. All I can do is encourage you to read through it. You might want to look up a plan before you just start at the beginning because it is a bit difficult to read straight through. You might even look up a chronological reading (think might be how I read through the bible next time around). Be prepared though, there are some rough spots. It’s not all roses and daisies. But I do believe you will come out with a better understanding of the Christian faith after you read through it. This is my encouragement to you.
Suggested Daily Reading: Luke 2, 4, Romans 15, II Timothy 3.
The Lord grant you wisdom.