Who needs the Old Testament?
You know the creation story. Well, at least parts of it, right?
When it comes to Bible stories, it appears the more famous ones are in the Old Testament. If you walk up to some random Joe on the street and ask him to tell you a Bible story, odds are it will be about Noah and the flood or Moses and the Red Sea. Perhaps, you will hear about David and Goliath or Daniel in the lion’s den.
You would think, since all the famous stories are in the Old Testament, that Christians would be more familiar with it. Yet, it seems that just the opposite is true. With the exception of these specific stories, most Christians have very little knowledge of the Old Testament. When it comes to our devotional life, or even the sermons we hear, the vast majority come from the Gospels or Paul’s letters. Besides, who needs the Old Testament, we have the New Testament? After all, that is where Jesus is, right?
Admittedly, I know far less about the Old Testament than the New.
However, this semester found me in the Old Testament… a lot. If you have yet to notice, go back through and look at my posts from the last couple of months. The Old Testament is, of late, a recurring theme for me. But this is a good thing. I have classes in the Old Testament at the seminary, I am writing a rather large paper on the Sinai covenant in Exodus, and of all the books in the Bible, my church is currently walking through… you guessed it… Exodus. I cannot get away from the Old Testament.
The Old Testament makes up about 75 percent of the Bible. and the New Testament is only 25 percent. The Old Testament covers a period of history from the beginning of time until the post-exilic period (a very long time), and the New Testament covers roughly 60-90 years (save the end times discussions of Revelation and other books). Now, I do not bring this up to say the New Testament is not as significant as the Old. However, if I have learned anything this semester, it is the necessity of the Old Testament. While Jesus may not be named in the Old Testament, he is all over it. Furthermore, our understanding of the New Testament rises and falls on our understanding of the Old Testament. We cannot rightly understand the gospel if we do not rightly understand what came before it.
If, as I have mentioned in other posts, the Bible is one grand story, we must not relegate our study of that story to the last act. There is more to the story than the last act. All that makes the gospel beautiful rests on the story that develops out of the first five books of the Bible. All of the writing and prophets expound upon that great story, and it builds to the crescendo. That crescendo is a man named Jesus. Yet, without the back story, the person and work of Christ makes little sense.
These last few months have challenged me to pick up the task of understanding the Old Testament. It is the long journey of continued study, but it is, after all, the greatest story ever told.
My only point in writing this post is to challenge you to do the same. The journey starts when you open the pages.