Why study the Old Testament?
by Matt Richey, Head of TBS Bible Department & High School Bible Teacher
Let’s be honest. The Old Testament sometimes gets a bad rap.
People think it is “old” (true), “boring” (not true), “full of rules” (kind of true), “violent” (true), “outdated”, “irrelevant”, “difficult to understand”, and the list goes on and on and on…. Why would anyone want to study a book like that?
Fortunately, this is not an accurate picture of Old Testament. In reality, the Old Testament is a diverse collection of literature including stories, poems, laws, proverbs, sermons, prophecies, history, prayers, and even a love song.
The Old Testament answers the foundational human questions like
“Where did we came from?”
“Who are we?”
“Why are we here?”
“Where we are going?”
The Old Testament is not only necessary to understanding the New Testament; it is vital to understanding the most basic aspects of our Christian faith.
The Old Testament is not just a collection of really old books. It has been given by inspiration of God and is profitable for us so that we can be complete and fully equipped (2 Timothy 3:16).
I like to think of studying the Old Testament as a long journey that we will take together. On this journey we will walk with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We listen to joyful songs sung by the Israelites as they walked to the temple to worship and then their laments as they were taken away from their homes as prisoners of war to Babylon.
We consider the feelings of loss that God’s people felt in exile mingled with hope as they heard of the promise of one who would make all things new. When we travel to faraway places, the experience of seeing and going to somewhere new changes us and becomes a part of us.
The same can be true as we travel through the pages of the Old Testament. I’m always excited to see how we (myself included) will change how we view God, the world, and ourselves as we study God’s Word, the Old Testament, together.
Perhaps the bad rap starts with the fact we divide the Bible into "Old" and "New" parts. My former Pastor liked to allude to the Scene in the Dead Poet's Society where they rip out the page from the text book. He suggested we should do the same with the one page in the Bible that is not the inspired word of GOD, and that being the blank page between Malachi and Mathew.
If your interested, he supports his position here: http://www.faithtacoma.org/changedmind/unity-of-the-bible,