Today we are surrounded by religious hypocrisy and judgmental views of non-biblical religious traditions, denominational doctrines that differ from webpage to webpage, church to church. We search for a deeper relationship with God and the best understanding of what it is to live a Christ-centered life. We face confusion and uncertainty. We ask our friends, parents, and pastors for answers and they do a loving job with their advice. We read religious based books and google the heck out of the internet, yes, we can take away some beneficial knowledge from all of that. We hear from the casual Christian, “The New Testament is the New Covenant that’s what matters.”
There are so many angles/outlets that information is being hurled from all we can do is open our hearts in prayer and hope to hear God’s response soon. We hope to receive wisdom and visions of the path to take or for the reasons as to why something is happening. We remember a verse and think… “I’m asking so…you know… I shall receive.”
Not being any wiser that we may not hold all the tools for the project that we are trying to understand. Think of it like this you realize you need glasses, so you go to the eye doctor and get your glasses BUT you didn’t go through the process to get your prescription first. You have frames but without going through the first step how can you see?
Regarding a deeper relationship with God and the Christian life we strive to live our biggest tool is The Holy Bible. The Old Testament and the New Testament and we can’t have one without the other. We can’t fully grasp the understanding of the Old Testament without the New Testament and The New Testament would kind of be floating a drift without the Old Testament. We would still have salvation in Jesus but would we fully realize how come?
The Apostle Paul writes, “And how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work,” (2 Timothy 3:15-17 NIV.)
I know the title of this is asking if the Old Testament is relevant for Christians today, and I know that this verse is from the New Testament but when broken down the Apostle Paul is referring to the Old Testament. Thus, showing the relevancy of the Old Testament. The first part talks about how Timothy was brought up knowing the Scriptures and this will help him and others that he ends up preaching too, understand the salvation of faith in Jesus. (Sounds like New Testament still,) until we realize that the word “Scripture or Scriptures, in the New Testament refer to the Old Testament.” The New Testament doesn’t even exist at this point when Paul is writing this letter. Moving on to ALL Scripture is God-breathed, meaning it is important because it came from God. So, if all Scripture is important because it came from GOD, then the discussion should be done right there. The Old Testament will always have relevancy because it is from God. Picture someone handing a Bible to a new believer or anyone for that matter, but they rip it in two and only hand them one part. Then they say, “Oh don’t worry about this part, it is from God as well, but this part isn’t as important.” That’s a head-scratching moment; I would be like, “Wait! They are both from God, well I want both!” The verse continues that the Old Testament Scriptures are good for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. This verse holds true still to this day 2,000 years later, but here Paul is telling Timothy his knowledge of the Old Testament is going to help Christians live a Christ-like life and to grow. When we take a step back from this verse it sounds like we can learn a lot from what is on the pages of the Old Testament.
There is a FRIENDS episode where Rachel is given the responsibility of making Thanksgiving Dessert. She chooses to make a traditional English Trifle, which she prepares meticulously so she won’t mess up. She prepares, cooks and serves it, then as Ross puts it, “It tastes like feet!”
Towards the end of the episode when she finds out that “ground beef sautéed with peas and carrots” does NOT belong in a dessert she realizes that the first part of the recipe is stuck to the back of the page before it. She did not get the beginning part so she didn’t fully understand or get right how the end result should be.
I envision this the same way when it comes to Old Testament VS New Testament. We can’t fully understand and comprehend the end result because we don’t know what we are starting with. Christopher Wright an Old Testament scholar states in, Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament, “If we were to throw away the Old Testament, we would lose most of the meaning of Jesus himself. For the uniqueness of Jesus is built on the foundation of the uniqueness of the story that prepared the way for him to come.” Therefore, the Old Testament tells us a story and the New Testament is the ending.
There is another significant topic to realize about the Old Testament. Jesus is in every book in the Bible from start to finish. J.D. Greear of The Summit Church in North Carolina, preached a sermon/wrote a blog about this. He references when Jesus appeared to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, after the resurrection which we can find in Luke 24:27 and Jesus says, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” Then Greear gives his thoughts about this by saying, “He was trying to give them confidence that he really was who he had told them he was. You might think that the resurrection itself was enough proof. But evidently Jesus believed it would be even more convincing to show them that every single page of a book written by more than 30 different authors over the space of 1,500 years had consistently told one story, and it was all about him.”
Then J.D. goes on to point out Jesus in every book of the Old Testament and says, “It’s always only ever been about him. He is the center of it all.” (You can watch this 5 minute message below.)
Jesus should be the center of our world, that is where we should have Him. Since ALL Scripture is God-breathed and every book being about Jesus, the Old Testament is still relevant. Our salvation is found in our ultimate faith that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, that he died on the cross for our sins. We should want to know everything about him, 66 books worth not just 27 books of the New Testament. Earlier I said, we may not have all the tools needed for the project. We must have our faith, we must pray and we must read our Bibles. My wife taught me this, and I already knew I needed to read my Bible more, but she has a way of hammering it home. I once was at a crossroads in life and I hungered for a deeper relationship with God. My prayer life was growing, and my faith strengthened to levels I didn’t know was there. Still, something was missing when my wife says, “You know, if you really want to grow spiritually, you have to read your Bible and REALLY read it.” I dove into reading, and I sprang off the high dive. Through my readings’ I was gaining wisdom and insight into the issues of my everyday life, I was more in tune when God was speaking to me and responding to my prayers. Reading, The Bible, from both testaments I was now fully equipping myself for whatever God has planned out for me.