Jesus on Every Page: 7 Reasons to Study Your Old Testament
by David Murray
On the basis of my less-than-scientific survey of Christians’ Bible reading habits, I would estimate that the Old Testament forms less than 10 percent of most Christians’ Bible reading. Remove the Psalms and Proverbs, and we’re probably down to less than 5 percent.
“So what?” many say.
“No great loss, is there?” others shrug.
Let me suggest seven reasons to stop shrugging and start studying the other 60 percent of our Bibles.
1. The Old Testament reveals Christ.
The Old Testament doesn’t just “point forward” to Christ; it reveals him. It isn’t merely a series of signposts to Christ; his revealing shadow falls on every page, exciting faith and love in believing hearts.
But why linger in the Old Testament shadows when we have New Testament sunlight?
Have you never found it easier to read and be refreshed in shade? Have you never admired the unique and wondrous beauty of the dawn?
Consider the unparalleled revelation of Christ’s substitutionary atonement in Isaiah 53. And although the Gospels describe Christ’s outer life, the messianic psalms disclose his mysterious inner life, the unfathomably deep emotional and mental struggles of his earthly suffering.
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2. The Old Testament is a dictionary of Christian vocabulary.
How do we understand the theological words, phrases, and concepts of the New Testament? If we turn to a modern dictionary, we will import 21st-century Western meaning into ancient Eastern words. Greek lexicons will usually get us closer to the original meaning, but that still assumes the biblical authors were influenced exclusively by Greek culture.
Rather, when we come to a word, phrase, or concept in the New Testament, our first question should be, “What does the Old Testament say?” Remember, the New Testament was originally written by Jews, and much of it was written to Jews. It assumes knowledge of the Old Testament and builds upon it…