Why should we study the Old Testament?
The Old Testament is a picture of what life was like before Jesus died. It chronicles a line of men and women, just like us, who did extraordinary things. They had fears. They messed up and yet they still did remarkable works for God while being bound to the law. How much more should we be able to do for God under grace?
The Old Testament builds a foundation from which we can see the complete picture. We learn that God is faithful even when we are unfaithful to Him.
The children of Israel had been slaves in Egypt for 400 years, doing back-breaking work for Pharaoh. God delivered them through the hand of Moses. In the wilderness, they complained about food, water, their enemies and everything else. When they became fed up with God not doing things their way, they served graven images.
Each time they disobeyed, God delivered them. This went on for generations. God used Samson and Gideon to deliver them as well. Like us, they were unfaithful.
This gives us a complete picture of the Father, who became frustrated with the disobedience of those He created. The Old and New Testaments show us what God, who is love, did to ease the weight off of His creations.
He sent His only Begotten Son, Jesus, to Earth to take the price for our sins. He fulfilled the law because He was without sin. He fulfilled it so we wouldn't have to. He knew it is impossible for us to do so.
It is a beautiful love story about how God loved us so much that He forgave our sins once and for all through the blood Jesus shed on the Cross.
When we accept what Jesus did for us, God adopts us into His family. We become His children. Every right that God gave Abraham and his descendants are now ours through the shed blood of Jesus.
That's how much God loves us.
In Deuteronomy 28, we discover what would have happened to us in those days if we didn't obey the law. Now that the law has been fulfilled by Jesus, we are redeemed from all those curses.
In the Old Testament, we read of all the offerings the people had to present every time they sinned. This shows us how much Jesus did on the cross for us. He became all those offerings for us. He became sin for us so that we could be in right-standing with God.
We see God at work in the lives of His people. He saved the children of Israel during a famine by allowing a young dreamer to be sold into slavery.
He delivered Daniel from the lions, the three Hebrew children from the furnace, Jonah from the great fish.
He saved the children of Israel once again by causing a king to favor Esther.
He took a woman like Ruth, a Gentile, and put her at the right place at the right time to meet her kinsman redeemer, which put her in the lineage of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
God used ordinary people to orchestrate the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who saved us from the curse of the law.
Why should we study the Old Testament? We must study the Bible as a whole, as a part of the same story. The Old Testament is the problem. The New Testament is the solution.
How do we study the Old Testament? We study it as we would study any other part of the Bible.
We buy a translation that we understand.
Then we ask the Holy Spirit to teach us. He is an excellent Teacher. If we ask Him to lead us into all truth regarding the Scriptures, He will show us fresh revelation concerning it.
We need to look up things that we don't understand in the original Hebrew, which we can do online. It will give us a better understanding of what God is saying.
To understand how marvellous a gift God gave us in the New Testament, we must study the Old Testament.
While we were yet sinners, Christ died for our sins. Now through Jesus' shed blood, we are in right-standing with God, if we accept Jesus.
We no longer have to earn our salvation. All we have to do is accept Christ. That's the grace of God in action.
Annagail Lynes is a writer of devotionals, ebooks and articles. Her articles and devotionals have appeared in publications online and offline around the world. You can order her books at http://www.annagaillynes.net