A short while ago, I engaged into a conversation regarding the Old Testament of God's Word. The questions were interesting - thought out - but what really scared me was, I don't believe the individual was actually looking for answers. The individual is walking (or running and jumping with joy) down the path of this "New Christianity" posed by post-modernism and the emergent church. Where there is no absolute Truth. Anything goes - as long as it works for 'you'. And if you claim an absolute Truth, you're called ignorant and rude - un-loving - not spirit-filled - a bigot. A movement that claims Christianity but isn't Christian at all. A movement that loves Jesus but hates God.
I guess I'm posting this to share with you but more importantly, I am also seeking wisdom from my more mature brothers in Christ. I would love to hear your critiques. So please - critique - change - challenge me.
Question #1: O.T. is not really a "Christian" writing?
Answer #1: The O.T. is definitely a Christian writing. No questions asked.
2 Timothy 3:16 & 17 – "All (Old Testament / New Testament) Scripture is inspired by God (God breathed) and profitable for teaching (when we lack knowledge), for reproof (when we sin), for correction (when we err), for training in righteousness (when, spiritually, we are out of shape); so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."
*words in parenthesis are my own*
2 Peter 1:20 & 21 – "But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God."
Question #2: The O.T. is more an account of history than anything?
Answer #2: The O.T. is an account of history. Big deal. I wouldn’t call it ‘more of account…than anything’. Where would we be without the creation story in Genesis, the Law in Exodus, the Psalms and Proverbs, the many prophetic books like Daniel? They have their place and to write them off as merely an account of history, therefore unneeded or inapplicable and irrelevant to us today would be a sad, sad way to look at them. Once again: “All Scripture is inspired by God…”
Question #3: The O.T. is more a story of the people of the time?
Answer #3: Yes – to use correct hermeneutics, we have to look at the audience the writer is writing to. We see this both in the O.T. and N.T. We need to ask questions like - "Was it only intended for them at that time?" - "Can it be applied to us today?" Those questions are answered when you read the Bible and interpret it in its entirety – getting your hands dirty from really digging into Scripture and doing your best to try and figure out what the author was communicating to their audience and what they were going through at that time, where they were and where they were going…etc… and not just hunting and pecking here and there to find something cool / weird / different…etc…
Question #4: Does the O.T. relate to Christians after Jesus' life/death/resurrection?
Answer #4: Yes and No. This one is deeper than a blog post comment will let it be. I’ll try (deep breath)… When we read the O.T. we will find law, after law, after law (agree?) – ok. Also notice that no one could keep them. So they would sacrifice burnt offerings to God for forgiveness. Then, Jesus Christ came to earth (fully God and fully man), born of a virgin, lived a perfect and sinless life, and gave himself up by being crucified on a cross. When He did that, the Law was fulfilled.
Matthew 5:17 – “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.”
Galatians 3:23-25 – “But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.”
Romans 10:4 – “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
We also see different laws and practices like consuming unclean meat - taught in the O.T. - fulfilled in the N.T. This is just one example of why we need to read and interpret scripture as a whole and not individual verses and passages.
Question #5: The O.T. discusses more details of people's lives and the process of their faith?
Answer #5: See Question 4.
Question #6: What does the O.T. mean for present day follower's of Jesus?
Answer #6: See all of the above. Whether we like reading the Old Testament or not, it's still God breathed (inspired) Scripture. 2 Timothy describes what it's intended use is, 2 Peter reminds us Who wrote it. So if God wrote it, why wouldn’t I want to read it – right?
I will admit – I spend most of my time in the N.T. But lately I have been convicted to read and study more of the O.T. So I can understand the Bible better as a whole. I believe it’s also where you are at, spiritually speaking. The O.T. is deep - it takes work to interpret and understand correctly. Rightly dividing it is tough and takes time and effort. I’m not claiming that I take the right amount of time and always divide it rightly – In fact, I would argue that I need to be in the Word MORE and take MORE time to study, divide, and seek.
Anyways – I hope this wasn’t too boring to read :D and hope that it helped point you in the right direction. Looking at your other posts, I think you ask great questions – I could spend hours upon hours discussing these questions. For instance, your question about the Trinity – that’s easy – if you read the Bible. All 3 (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) are equal to each other yet One and are eternal – eternity past to eternity future and were not created but are self-existent. Can I challenge you? If I can, I would challenge you to find and know what the Bible says about these items for yourself. When I was younger, I relied heavily on others for my understandings of Biblical things. And after actually studying the Bible, I found that almost all of my understandings of similar issues were incorrect – I had to start over. By God’s grace, He showed me Truth through His Word.