Today, many Christians neglect the Old Testament, considering that it only contains bedtime stories and is not relevant for the modern believers.
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However, this approach is not correct. Studying the Old Testament gives a modern believer knowledge on the relationship between God and people, explains certain universal principles, helps to understand the mission of Jesus, provides material for analyzing the Apostles’ writings, and makes the New Testament more comprehensible.
The Reasons for a Modern Believer to Study the Old Testament
A modern believer should study the Old Testament for the following reasons.
First, the Old Testament presents the first part of a history of the relationship between God and people; we cannot merely skip half of this history, turning to the New Testament alone. The Old Testament gives answers to the questions about the origins of the universe and humans (Pratte par. 4).
These issues are of high importance for the today’s society, and a believer should have relevant Biblical knowledge. Additionally, the Old Testament mentions many facts about the lives of prophets of the past. The New Testament contains a lot of references to these events, so there is a need to know them (Murray par. 13).
Second, the Old Testament presents the universal principles that are taken for granted in the New Testament. Among these principles are the assertions that God exists, that God is Jehovah and He is the one true God, that He send Jesus to save the humankind, that Jesus is the Christ and His Son, that the nature of God never changes and neither does the nature of a human being, that the Bible is God’s word and, therefore, it predicted the future (Pratte par. 6-11).
Third, as Jesus said, He came not to destroy but to fulfill the Law. To understand why Jesus came to us and what was His mission, we need to study the Law, which He intended to fulfill. For Jesus and His contemporaries, the only source of the Law was the Old Testament.
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Additionally to the Law in general, Jesus also brings a new sense to the prophecies and the stories from the Old Testament. To understand the words of Jesus, a modern believer needs to get acquainted with the Old Testament (Palm par. 27-32).
Fourth, studying the Old Testament is necessary for analyzing the writings of the Apostles. The Apostles, who wrote the New Testament, used the information, evidence, and even language formulas from the Old Testament. For instance, Philip the Deacon uses the information from Isaiah to explain the prophecy of the arrival of Jesus. Additionally, apostle Paul himself recommended studying the Old Testament since it is “profitable” for the believers (Palm par. 38-44).
Fifth, reading the Old Testament makes the New Testament more clear and comprehensible for us. Not only does it give the understanding of the references to certain facts, universal principles, the task of Jesus, and the reasoning of Apostles, but it also allows a modern believer to grasp the overall sense of the New Testament.
The similarities between the two Testaments helps us to understand the religious laws better. The differences between the Testaments makes us appreciate the New Testament more since it lets us see that people were given a means to save their souls after the arrival of Jesus (Pratte par. 13-18).
Nowadays, a lot of believers consider reading the Old Testament unnecessary. Such an approach is entirely wrong. Studying the Old Testament benefits a modern believer, giving them a material for a comprehensive analysis of the information presented in the New Testament. It makes a believer appreciate the New Testament better as well.
Pratte, David E. The Value of the Old Testament Today. 2009.
Murray, David. Jesus on Every Page: 7 Reasons to Study Your Old Testament. 2013.
Palm, Justin T. n.d. Why Should You Read the Old Testament?