CONTRIBUTED BY ROB TOMREN
Recently I was given the challenge to reply to the statement that the Old Testament has no relevance for Christians and that the New Testament is all we need. In this reply I argued that although our salvation arrives in the New Testament, without the Old Testament we cannot truly know the God who saves us, and why that salvation is necessary. However while studying and writing the reply I came to realise that I really love (maybe prefer) the Old Testament. As a result I thought I might briefly explore and explain why I love the Old Testament.
Firstly it’s where we first meet God. In the Old Testament God introduces Himself, we learn about God the Father and why He is to be served. The Old Testament starts with God and we discover that He is the creator of all things. This gives Him authority over all creation and the right to require His creation to honour Him and obey His decrees. Continuing in the Old Testament we see how God chooses first a man (Abraham) and then a people (Israel) to be His own and be in a relationship with Him, to guide and keep in His care. We see how God is gracious in not treating His people as they deserve, He doesn’t forsake them when they forsake His worship and are disobedient to His decrees. Rather, He disciplines where necessary and brings His people back to Him. This faithfulness and love for His people characterise God in the Old Testament as a good shepherd who cares for His sheep.
Secondly it’s full of stories and I love stories. And to make it even better most of the stories are about Jesus. Much of the Old Testament is historical narrative, so in the Old Testament we learn about God/Jesus through the stories of what God did for and through His people. The story of The Fall tells of our need for Jesus and announces His coming. In the Exodus God teaches His people that His redeeming work is an act of grace and all He wants in response is faith, (sounds a lot like Jesus’ method). When God’s people are assailed by a foe who appears far too great to defeat (Goliath) God sends a saviour (David) to fight the battle for them. That’s us, our overwhelming sinful nature and our saviour Jesus. These are only a few examples, just the tip of the iceberg; the Old Testament is full of God telling stories about how He saves us.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that there is some real good stuff in the New Testament too. I’m only writing this to encourage you to read some more from the Old Testament; it’s full of the Gospel. And it’s really cool.