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Have you ever wondered why there are two "testaments" in the Bible? We call them the "old" and the "new" testaments, but why? Most people have difficulty with how to treat the Old Testament (esp. the Law of Moses). This has plagued the church since its foundation (read Galatians) as to how Christians should interpret it and apply it. Even though the Law of Christ is far superior to the Law of Moses (read Hebrews), still people have favorite sections they do not want to leave behind. Others want to get rid of the Old Testament completely. In fact, there are many Bibles that can be purchased with only the New Testament. Others with the addition of the Psalms or Proverbs.

If the old law is no longer in effect, why bother looking at it at all? Why do we need it? There must be a reason why God wants us to have both testaments. Right? Here are 10 reasons why we should study the Old Testament::

1) The Old Testament Helps Us Understood the Law. The Law of Moses stood for a few thousand years. Even non-Jewish people could appreciate the dedication of the Israelites to the Torah. If we hope to understand the reason for a "new" testament, then we must investigate the "old" testament. We can gain a real appreciation for the teaching, prophecies and rebellion of the Israelites.

2) The Old Testament Defines Sin. God’s Laws are upright and righteous (Psalm 119:137-138, 164) but man is not righteous (Romans 3:10-12, 23). The Law made the world accountable for their actions. It defined sin and showed that man could not be justified by the law (Romans 3:19-20). Sin is not imputed to a man if there is no law (Romans 5:13), but with a law, man has an awareness of sin and the Law shows how severe that sin is (Romans 7:7-13).

3) The Old Testament Law Convicted the World of Sin. Man was unable to keep the Law perfectly, so the Law convicted the world of sin through the Law. Specifically, we can read Galatians 3:21-22 and see that the Law bound men with their own sins until redemption could be made (John 3:16-17). This binding was essential to God’s plan. Until men could see their helplessness, they could not appreciate the mercy of God (Romans 11:32). Binding of men to their sins eventually leads men to Christ (Galatians 3:23-25).

4) The Old Testament Law Prepared the World For Better Things. Read the book of Hebrews and you will see that the Old Law prepared men for the New Law (better things through shadows). Paul tells us in Colossians 2:16-17 that the Old Law was a shadow of the New. Basically the Old Law would be spiritualized as it was fulfilled (Matthew 5-7). Hebrews 10:1 tells us it was a shadow of better things – the reality. Until then we were seeing through a dim mirror, or a veil (I Corinthians 13:12). The things done under the Old Law by its followers were important, even if they did not comprehend the significance of what they were doing (Hebrews 8:4-5).

5) The Old Testament Law Was Temporary (for the Israelite nation only). When you read the Old Testament it is clearly evident that God was building a nation that needed laws (Deuteronomy 5:2-3). By following the Law, God bound the Israelites to Him (Exodus 19:5-6). In fact, if you will read the conversations between Moses and Pharaoh you will see that God just wanted His people to worship Him and learn His ways. The Law made the Israelites distinct among the nations and prepared the Gentile nations for the New Law (Deuteronomy 4:5-8). There are many prophets quoted in the New Testament, but Jeremiah seems to be one of Jesus’ favorites to quote. Have you read Jeremiah? In his book he told the people that the Old Law was temporary (Jeremiah 31:31-34). Jesus stated it would last until all was fulfilled on the cross (Matthew 5:17-18). Jesus’ purpose was to fulfill the Law (Luke 24:44), not to abolish or destroy it. In fact, Christ’s resurrected life is a sign that the Old Law ended (Romans 10:4).

6) The Old Testament Law Provides Evidence That Jesus is the Christ. There are characters and stories, in addition to well over 300 prophesies, that predict the specifics and explain the purpose concerning the Messiah. Jesus alludes His presence in the Old Testament in His ministry (John 5:39). When Jesus had occasion He explained how the Old Law speaks of Him (Luke 24:27). Belief in the Old Testament gives us faith in Christ (John 5:46-47).

7) The Old Testament Law Delivers God’s Purpose and Plan. I Peter 1:10-12 shows us that God revealed His purpose through the prophets. They often did not understand the prophecies they spoke, but God fulfilled each and every one of them. Romans 3:2 reminds us that righteousness from God is proven by the Old Law. This is another reason why all Scripture must be expounded (II Timothy 3:16-17).

8) The Old Testament Law Reveals God’s Scheme of Redemption. The Old Law prepares people for salvation and guides them to the New Testament where they can find God’s entire plan (II Timothy 3:15-17). The Scriptures helped Timothy learn the whole counsel of God. The law equips the saints for kingdom work. Notice that faith does not nullify the Old Law (Romans 3:31), it confirms it and fulfills it. It still serves a purpose today in teaching the old ways, methods, and rules (quoted multiple times in the New Testament). It helps us to fear the Lord.

9) The Old Testament Law Cites Great Examples of Faith. Every Christian should understand the purpose of Hebrews 11-12. We desperately need those examples of faith. Where would we be, if we did not understand the story of Job, Elijah, Daniel, and the kings? We find out that these people are exactly like us. On the flip side, we can also see examples of wickedness that we want to avoid (I Corinthians 10:1-11). For instance, knowledge of the wilderness serves as a warning to us (Hebrews 2:1-3, Hebrews 10:28-29).

10) The Old Testament Law Gives Us Hope. As we read the Old Testament we will see that God wants us to be encouraged and have hope for the future (Romans 15:4). We are reminded time and again that God will keep His promises. God must be feared, but that He also has amazing love for His children. He will always find a way!

We need both testaments. Let’s study the whole council of God! Let’s see ALL scripture as inspired of God! Read the Bible which is God’s Holy Word! And, let Him show you the truth! Have a great week and remember "You Are Loved!"

You are loved.

Ray Reynolds

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