A lot of Christians say that they love the Bible but they actually only read about one third of it. They focus only on the New Testament, which is great, but they are missing out on a lot. Here are five reasons to read the Old Testament.
The Old Testament Comes from God
The entire Bible comes from God and is inspired by the Holy Spirit.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT) All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
So if God had a message for you, hopefully you would want to hear it. God does have a message for you and it is not just in the New Testament. It is in the Old Testament also.
The Old Testament Teaches Us about God
The New Testament teaches us a lot about God but so does the Old Testament. It teaches us about God’s character, how God relates to humans, how God relates to families, what God does as the creator and much, much more. We learn important truths about God’s nature.
Exodus 34:6-7 (NLT) “Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty.”
This is God’s definition of himself. He tells us who he is in the Old Testament. So if you want to know what God is like, you need to read the Old Testament.
The Old Testament Shows Us Our Need for a Savior
As you read the Old Testament, you can’t help but gain an understanding of man’s sinfulness. As you read about the lives of the people in the Old Testament, the nation of Israel and the people in the nations surrounding Israel, you realize what a problem sin is. There are so many examples of how sin impacted people for generations. The Old Testament gives us a clear picture of how we are messed up people and need a savior.
Isaiah 64:6 (NLT) We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.
Over and over again, the Old Testament shows us how messed up we are as humans and how much we need God’s grace.
The Old Testament Stories are Examples for us
The New Testament describes how we should understand the stories and history found in the Old Testament.
1 Corinthians 10:6 (NIV) Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.
As you read the Old Testament, you can find out what happens as people choose to walk away from God and worship something else. You see what happens when people try to both worship God and other idols, when they give in to sexual immorality, when men marry multiple women, when people are untruthful and when they make unwise compromises. These are all to serve as an example to us and how we need to be mindful of how we are living in our lives of faith.
The Old Testament is all about Jesus Christ
The main story of the Old Testament is the story of Jesus. Jesus isn’t born until after the Old Testament but throughout it you can see that the Old Testament is looking forward to him. It tells us about what he is going to do, what he is going to be like and what he is going to accomplish. Jesus said that the scriptures testify about him.
Luke 24:44 (NLT) He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Jesus is saying that the Old Testament is prophesying about him. If you want a better understanding of who Jesus is and what he came to accomplish you need to read the Old Testament.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Do you find yourself avoiding the Old Testament? What keeps you from reading it?
- Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17. What does it mean that the Bible is inspired? How is the Bible useful in our lives?
- Why do you think God would record so many of the failures of the people of Israel in the Bible?
- What are some of the attributes (characteristics) of God that you think you could learn more about from reading the Old Testament?
- What are some specific Old Testament Bible verses that showed what Jesus would be like? If you don’t know any, how could you find out what some of them are?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.