In my seminary studies, I have come to appreciate the Old Testament more than I ever thought possible. Although I would not have admitted it before graduate school, I mostly treated the Old Testament as a history of the ancient world and the church. Let me clear, I believed it to be a true and accurate historical account, but outside of some mostly now-irrelevant prophecy and proverbial wisdom, not much else. However, all of that has changed.
In 2018, mega-church pastor Andy Stanley stated that Christians need to “un-hitch” their faith from the Old Testament. In all fairness to Stanley, he also stated that the Old Testament is “divinely inspired,” but added that it shouldn’t be the go-to source for behavior in the church. While I have much to say on this, the point of this post is not necessarily to re-hash the Andy Stanley “un-hitch” statement, but to point to a deeper issue that I believe Stanley’s statement revealed: the perceived irrelevance of the Old Testament in the Christian church.
While many Christians acknowledge that the Old Testament is the inspired Word of God, and that it must be something more than simply a history lesson, the average-Joe Christian struggles to articulate how this is so. Therefore, I want to offer ten reasons—though there are more—that the Old Testament should receive just as much of our attention as the New Testament:
1. The Old Testament re-orients our minds to the main character of the Bible–God.
2. The Old Testament reveals our purpose as humans.
3. The Old Testament provokes in us wonder of God.
4. The Old Testament places the fault for sin at our own feet.
5. The Old Testament illuminates us to the state of our hearts.
6. The Old Testament demonstrates our need for a Divine Deliverer.
7. The Old Testament illustrates our propensity to wander.
8. The Old Testament catalogues God’s faithfulness.
9. The Old Testament introduces us to the Messiah.
10. The Old Testament contains the moral law.
After his resurrection, Jesus “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). In other words, Jesus used the Old Testament to explain who he is to his disciples. If we refuse to do the same, we are failing to imitate the Apostle Paul in declaring the “whole council of God” (Acts 20:27).