I write for our church’s adult youth program to assist in the broadening of their understanding of the Scriptures. This is a recent one on helping understanding the Old Testament’s purpose.
I commenced my presentation from 2 Peter chapter 3 verses 8-9
“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” – 2 Peter chapter 3 verses 8-9
Here are some questions I posed - what therefore is the Old Testament of the Bible? Is it just the illustration of God’s judgement for those who do not believe in Him? How does the Old Testament relate to the New Testament of the Bible?
Do we simply ignore the Old Testament since it is boring, and just focus on the New Testament as it is interesting and it has much application to our lives? Many are likely to face these questions at some stage of their lives, especially with believers who want to know what gospel message of Jesus Christ is all about.
I created an atmosphere of certainty - The Old Testament is part of God’s word as it is in the Bible. 2 Timothy chapter 3 verses 16-17 states the importance of the Bible to our lives.
In New International Version, it begins a sentence with “All Scripture is God-breathed…” One of the theological dictionaries refers ‘Scripture, authority of’ as
“In the Christian view, the conviction that the writings of the OT and NT have a unique status in being and/or conveying God’s self-revelation. They are thus to be recognised as such and obeyed as reliable guides for Christian living.”
In my preparation I found this comment - the Bible is a love story and need to be read the entire message of the Bible. To put this simply, the Bible is about completely understanding how God loves people and how they could love him.
With this perspective in mind, we should consider God’s judgement in the Old Testament as how He hates evil, due to our reconciliation with God under Jesus Christ. God’s kindness was clearly shown to us by sending Christ to sacrifice His life for people’s wrongdoings and this leads to repentance.
According to Hebrews chapter 9 verses 10:18, priests were used to cleanse committed sins for themselves and other people by sacrifiing animals at the earthly temple once a year, but when Christ came and sacrficed His life, all people’s sins has been washed away through His blood.
But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. (Romans chapter 3 verse 21-26)
How do we read the Bible ?
As we all have our own approaches of reading the Bible, no one would expect me to have a definitive answer on how the Bible should be read. Nonetheless, I suggest dividing the Bible reading times between one of the Gospel books and Old Testament books.
The reason for this is that the Old Testament abounds with stories and balancing this with the Gospel might be less confusing at first.
In my humble view, the Gospel of Luke is the best gospel to start off with as this gospel gives people certainty about Christianity. Although the Bible is not chronologically-based, you could read the Old Testament books in order as this is one of the simplest ways to comprehend how the New Testament follows on.
Should anyone need more help in understanding the Bible, try to read one of the online devotionals. In my view, these devotionals are helpful - ‘Strength for the Journey’ (https://getmorestrength.org), ‘Our Daily Bread’ (https://odb.org) and ‘Our Daily Journey’ (https://www.ourdailyjourney.org).
Kevin Park is studying at Carey Baptist College and finds that Christian-writing is his ultimate will of God and his ultimate method to build the kingdom of God. He started to become a Christian writer from October of 2013. Other than his writing life, Kevin desires to see that each finds everlasting satisfaction in God, the Almighty. You will be able to contact him at email@example.com. He loves to encourage others spiritually.
Kevin Park is studying at Carey Baptist College and finds that Christian-writing is his ultimate will of God and his ultimate method to build the kingdom of God. He started to become a Christian writer from 2013. Other than his writing life, Kevin desires to see that each finds everlasting satisfaction in God, the Almighty. You will be able to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He loves to encourage others spiritually.
Kevin Park’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/kevin-park.html