Why the Old Testament is in the Bible: Idea #34
The Bible is divided into two parts, the Old Testament and New Testament. And each of these testaments make up a very valuable part of the whole for the story of God and the history of humankind.
In some circles of Christianity, there’s an emphasis placed in being a “New Testament church”, though it would seem to be better to affirm that a church believes the whole Bible, both Old Testament and New Testament, for its foundation of faith.
These 3 articles explain the importance and significance of the Old Testament in the Bible:
- Why should we study the Old Testament? (GotQuestions.org)
- The Formation of the Old Testament Canon: The Origin & Permanent Value of the Old Testament by Charles Foster Kent
- The Content and Extent of the Old Testament Canon by Wayne Stiles
For a more web-friendly read, here’s 5 reasons for why the Old Testament is an essential part of the Bible and for the Christian faith (synthesized from several articles found):
1) Gives context for the Bible
The Old Testament lays the foundation for the teachings and events found in the New Testament. The Bible is a progressive revelation. If you skip the first half of any good book and try to finish it, you will have a hard time understanding the characters, the plot, and the ending.
2) Explains Jewish culture and people
A study of the Old Testament is also important for understanding the Jewish customs mentioned in passing in the New Testament. We would not understand the way the Pharisees had perverted God’s law by adding their own traditions to it, or why Jesus was so upset as He cleansed the temple courtyard, or where Jesus got the words He used in His many replies to adversaries.
3) Presents biblical prophecies
The Old Testament records numerous detailed prophecies that could only have come true if the Bible is God’s Word, not man’s. ... The Old Testament contains many promises that God will yet fulfill for the Jewish nation.
4) Illustrates lessons on life
By observing the lives of the characters of the Old Testament, we find guidance for our own lives. We are exhorted to trust God no matter what (Daniel 3). We learn to stand firm in our convictions (Daniel 1) and to await the reward of faithfulness (Daniel 6).
5) Authenticates Jesus as the Messiah
If we only had the New Testament, we would come to the Gospels and not know why the Jews were looking for a Messiah (a Savior King). We would not understand why this Messiah was coming (see Isaiah 53), and we would not have been able to identify Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah through the many detailed prophecies that were given concerning Him [e.g., His birth place (Micah 5:2), His manner of death (Psalm 22; Psalm 69:21), His resurrection (Psalm 16:10), and many more details of His ministry (Isaiah 9:2; 52:3)].
Unlike any other civilization or culture in human history, the Old Testament is a written record of Jewish history spanning thousands of years and hundreds of generations. Its significance can, and does, fill many books, journals, and articles, and surely sizeable enough to be the sole subject of websites on the Internet. 3 more references to encourage your appreciation for the Old Testament portion of the Bible:
Old Testament professor David Murray, author of Jesus on Every Page, listed 7 Reasons to Study Your Old Testament at The Gospel Coalition blog:
- The Old Testament reveals Christ.
- The Old Testament is a dictionary of Christian vocabulary.
- The Old Testament is a manual for Christian living.
- The Old Testament presents doctrine in story form.
- The Old Testament comforts and encourages us.
- The Old Testament saves souls.
- The Old Testament makes you appreciate the New Testament more.
Why I Still Love the Old Testament: A defense of the Bible’s brawling, boring, bewildering first act. by Tyler Huckabee (Relevant Magazine)
Dr. Paul House (Associate Dean and Professor of Divinity in the Old Testament department at Beeson Divinity School) gave this lecture Why Study the Old Testament? (26 minute audio) that you can listen to online.
This article is part of the blog series, 66 Ideas for .BIBLE Domain Names, with practical ideas for using .BIBLE domain names. Individuals and organizations can now register .BIBLE domain names that are more shareable, memorable, and meaningful at any accredited registrar.