Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"Why Should I read the Old Testament?"

Hi Friends~

I hope everyone is doing well.  Please take a look at the comment section from the last post.  If you are in a blue mood now, I believe it will put a smile on your lips!  People are continuing to post an item a day on what they praise our Father for.  It is a beautiful Testimony.  I am so grateful to each of you for encourages others...and we are to praise Him anyhow!  I love this!

You probably know that I read many columns, essays, poems and other items for this blog, and for my own research and joy.  I came across a wonderful column that I wanted to share with you.  I have come to find, in my own un-professional opinion, that many Christians when first coming to the church on their own, are told to start with the book of John.  Now, I have nothing against the book of John, but I believe some people never get around to embracing the Old Testament with the reverence and excitement they can find in the New Testament.  I promise, I am not including everyone in this--but should you take a look back through the OT?  Take a look at this column written with permission by Paul Benware who wrote this for "Question of the Week."  I hope you find this as interesting as I do. Please let me know.


Question: "Why should I read the Old Testament?"

Answer: "
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. In the same way, the New Testament is only completely understood when it is seen as being built upon the foundation of the events, characters, laws, sacrificial system, covenants, and promises of the Old Testament. 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). Without the Old Testament, we would not understand why this Messiah was coming (see Isaiah 53); 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, especially vv. 1,7-8, 14-18; Psalm 69:21, etc.), His resurrection (Psalm 16:10), and many more details of His ministry (Isaiah 52:13.; 9:2, etc.).

Without the Old Testament, we would not understand the Jewish customs that are mentioned in passing in the New Testament. We would not understand the perversions the Pharisees had made to God's law as they added their traditions to it. We would not understand why Jesus was so upset as He cleansed the temple courtyard. We would not understand that we can make use of the same wisdom that Christ used in His many replies to His adversaries (both human and demonic)."

 (Tell me this, does it tell of the New Testament in minute detail?  I was going to list all of the Scriptures referenced in this column...but thought the column would be extremely long, and that you will find most of the references answered in this one Scripture.)  Here is Isaiah 53:

Isaiah 53
New International Version (NIV)

53 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.

8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.

9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.

 10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.

11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
    and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors."
(Isaiah 53)

"The Old Testament also contains numerous lessons for us through the lives of its many fallible characters. By observing their lives we can be encouraged to trust God no matter what (Daniel 3), and to not compromise in the little things (Daniel 1) so that we will be faithful later in the big things (Daniel 6). We can learn that it is best to confess sin early and sincerely instead of blame-shifting (1 Samuel 15). We can learn not to play with sin, because it will find us out and its bite is deadly (See Judges 13-16). We can learn that we need to trust (and obey) God if we expect to experience His promised-land living in this life and His paradise in the next (Numbers 13). We learn that if we contemplate sin, we are only setting ourselves up for committing it (Genesis 3; Joshua 6-7). We learn that our sin has consequences not only for ourselves but for our loved ones around us and conversely that our good behavior has rewards not only for us but for those who are around us as well (Genesis 3; Exodus 20:5-6).

The Old Testament also contains vast quantities of wisdom that the New Testament does not share. Many of these are contained in the Psalms and Proverbs. These bits of wisdom reveal how I can be wiser than my teachers, what various sins will lead to (it helps us to see the hook that the bait is hiding), and what accomplishments in this world hold for us (nothing!). How can I recognize whether I am a fool (moral fool, that is)? How can I inadvertently turn people off without trying? How can I open doors to lasting success? How can I find meaning in life? Again, there is so much there that is just waiting to be found by one who truly wants to learn.

Without the Old Testament, we would not have a basis for standing against the error of the politically correct perversions of our society in which evolution is seen to be the creator of all of the species over millions of years (instead of them being the result of special creation by God in a literal six days). We would buy the lie that marriages and the family unit are an evolving structure that should continue to change as society changes, instead of being seen as a design by God for the purpose of raising up godly children and for the protection of those who would otherwise be used and abused (most often women and children).

Without the Old Testament, we would not understand the promises God will yet fulfill to the Jewish nation. As a result, we would not properly see that the Tribulation period is a seven-year period in which He will specifically be working with the Jewish nation who rejected His first coming but who will receive Him at His second coming. We would not understand how Christ's future 1,000-year reign fits in with His promises to the Jews, nor how the Gentiles will fit in. Nor would we see how the end of the Bible ties up the loose ends that were unraveled in the beginning of the Bible, how God will restore the paradise He originally created this world to be, and how we will enjoy close companionship with Him on a personal basis as in the Garden of Eden.

In summary, the Old Testament is a mirror that allows us to see ourselves in the lives of Old Testament characters and helps us learn vicariously from their lives. It sheds so much light on who God is and the wonders He has made and the salvation He has wrought. It shares so much comfort to those in persecution or trouble (see Psalms especially). It reveals through repeatedly fulfilled prophecy why the Bible is unique among holy books—it alone is able to demonstrate that it is what it claims to be: the inspired Word of God. It reveals volumes about Christ in page after page of its writings. It contains so much wisdom that goes beyond what is alluded to or quoted in the New Testament. In short, if you have not yet ventured in depth into its pages, you are missing much that God has available for you. As you read it, there will be much you do not understand right away, but there will be much you will understand and learn from. And as you continue to study it, asking God to teach you further, your mining will pay off in brighter treasures still.

Recommended Resource:
A Survey of the Old Testament by Paul Benware."

I hope you will continue to Praise God in the comment section.  And, that you will find some quiet time this week to be with our Lord.  God Bless!

He IS Able!
Traci Starkweather


  1. The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed! It is so amazing! I personally have found that reading and studying the Old Testament has given me a better understanding of the new covenant in the New Testament. Oh my, the types and shadows in the Old Testament that reveal Jesus Christ are such faithbuilders. I love the fact that Jesus took the time after the resurrection to show the disciples how the Scriptures (Old Testament) spoke concerning Him.
    "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself." Luke 24:27

    God bless,
    Natalie H

  2. Thank you soooo much for today's posting! I absolutely LOVE the Old Testament, and have been teaching it for years. So many people neglect the Old Testament. When I first began teaching the Old Testament while a missionary in Kenya, I asked my students if any of them had ever read the Old Testament. None of them had. I thrilled to see their eyes light up with understanding as the classes progressed. They began to get excited as they realized what God was saying and revealing in the Old Testament - and, they began to understand the New Testament better in light of understanding the Old Testament. God gave us both the Old Testament and New Testament for a reason. We need both. Jesus didn't come to do away with the Old Testament; He came to fulfill it. Praise Him!
    Again, thank you for sharing this! I'm so glad I found your site. Have a blessed day in the Lord!

  3. Fabulous, Traci! I think I have mentioned that I have 10 grandkids, and that the oldest is 13. I decided a while ago that I would buy each of them a Bible when they reached 13... the age of reason in Judiasm, no? I have been pondering what I should write in her Bible. After reading your post today, I have decided to print the meat of this post, and tape it on the inside of the front cover.
    Thanks so much for sharing it with your readers.

  4. What an enlightening post. I guess I never thought about people "disregarding" the Old Testament as not being relavent today. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness...

  5. As a young child I studied the Old Testament at school. Then, in High School the New Testament was examined. The two are compliments to each other.
    I am praying for all of you.


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