Why Study the Old Testament?

Our new sermon series on the life of David gives us a great opportunity to renew our love for the Old Testament. This too is the Word of the Lord! For further thoughts, check out Matt Meyer’s post below:


Why Study the Old Testament?

By Matt Meyer for InterVarsity

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The Old Testament can be kind of a pain. It prompts debates about evolution. It’s full of obscure laws that we don’t even bother to follow, difficult-to-pronounce names, and hard-to-understand poetry.

And what do we even begin to make of the portrayal of God in the OT? In The God Delusion, evolutionary biologist and author Richard Dawkins writes:

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

Yikes. I mean, sometimes it seems like the Old Testament is more trouble than it’s worth. Maybe it’s best to sort of just forget about it or gloss over it on our way to the important part of the Bible. You know—the good part. With Jesus.

Is the OT really worth the effort it takes to read it?

Faith, Love, Jesus, and Donkeys

The more I’ve studied the Old Testament the more I’ve come to see how important it is for Christians to understand it and how tragic it is that the OT can be so neglected and underappreciated. So here’s my list of why I think we as Christians should become OT experts.

1. The OT reveals God’s patient and tenacious love. The OT unfolds over thousands of years. (The New Testament, by comparison, spans less than 100 years.) And in the OT we encounter people who are a lot like us: sinful, stubborn, prone to wander away from God and to make stupid choices. And yet we see a God who chooses to stick it out with this messed-up group of people.

Reading through God’s interactions with his people in the OT helps me remember just how steadfast God’s love really is.

2. The OT helps deepen our faith. As Richard Dawkins points out, the picture of God in the OT can be troubling and confusing. But instead of running from the questions the OT raises for us, we have an opportunity to dive head-first into the questions.

In fact, the OT is filled with examples of people who have plenty of their own questions to hurl at God: Job, Elijah, and Jeremiah, just a name a few! Dealing with the sticky issues helps our faith grow and mature, and it shows us that we’re in good company when we ask tricky questions. If God can handle the questions that came from those folks, God can handle our doubts and questions too.

3. The NT tells us to know the OT. Ever read 2 Timothy 3:16-17? “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.” Paul wrote that before any of the NT was Scripture—in other words, back when the only Scripture in town was the OT. So we can take these verses as a strong exhortation to get to know the OT.

4. It’s fun! Bears tearing young hoodlums to pieces? Family drama that could rival any soap opera? A talking donkey? All these stories and more are treasures to be found in the OT.

5. The more you understand the OT, the more you will understand Jesus. We often forget that Jesus was thoroughly Jewish. He was immersed in the world of the Hebrew Scriptures. In fact, it’s hard to overstate how much the OT shaped his life and mission. If we want to become like Jesus, we can’t get around the OT.

Is the Old Testament sometimes tricky? Yes. Maybe even boring in spots? Yeah. But growing in our faith is worth the hard work of poring through the OT and discovering the riches it contains.

See also: Jesus on Every Page: 7 Reasons to Study Your Old Testament by David Murray

Come and See

Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?”
They said to Him, “Rabbi, where are you staying?”
He said to them, “Come and see.”
- John 1:38-39

Week 2 in John’s Gospel finds us making the turn from knowing about Jesus to following after Jesus. John the Baptist acts as our guide, helping us (and those first disciples) get their bearings for this new adventure. What will you do when he comes calling, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world?

- Blake


We need to pledge ourselves anew to the cause of Christ. We must capture the spirit of the early church. Wherever the early Christians went, they made a triumphant witness for Christ. Whether on the village streets or in the city jails, they daringly proclaimed the good news of the gospel.” - Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love

"Those who aren't following Jesus aren't his followers. It's that simple. Followers follow, and those who don't follow aren't followers. To follow Jesus means to follow Jesus into a society where justice rules, where love shapes everything. To follow Jesus means to take up his dream and work for it." - Scot McKnight, One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow

John the Baptist and the “pointing hand” (Grunewald’s  Isenheim Altarpiece )

John the Baptist and the “pointing hand” (Grunewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece)

The Light Has Come

“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” - John 1:4

Today we started our new study of John. Here are a few of the things I mentioned. Hope you can join us in reading and praying along through this beautiful Fourth Gospel. 

 - Blake

“John flies like an eagle above the cloud of human weakness and looks upon the light of unchanging truth with the most lofty and firm eyes of the heart. And gazing on the very deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which he is equal to the Father, he has striven in this Gospel to confide this above all...” - Thomas Aquinas

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From Falling Up by Shel Silverstein, gettin’ all theological: 

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“Of the Father’s Love Begotten” (because sometimes hymns say it best):

And never, ever forget: 

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