Bible Studies/Old and New Testament
Hi Thurman C. Petty, Jr.
Currently I started reading the Bible from the book of Genesis with the aiming of reaching Revelation.
what I would like to know is how old testament connects with the new Testament, and how new testament relates to old testament.
Regards Evans Mwanthi.
Thank you for your question about how to explain the importance of the Old Testament to someone who wants to “throw it out.”
Your question can actually be boiled down to this: Is the Old Testament still valid for Christians?
Many Christians wonder about their relationship to the Old Testament (OT). Does it have validity for God's people today? Or was it merely for the Jews and lost all meaning when Jesus died on the Cross? Is it wrong to prove Bible doctrines using OT texts?
The Hebrew Scriptures (our OT), with all of its 613 laws/commandments/rules/ordinances were written under the inspiration of God and given to the Israelites—not as their personal property—for them to take care of it and spread it to all mankind.
Everything in the OT was given for the purpose of revealing God and His love to anyone who would believe on Him. Every page reveals new insights into the character of our Lord, and teaches us more about His plan to save this world from Satan. Even those stories of evil men and women were included to help us to see what happens when we turn our backs on God.
Perhaps the greatest thing about the OT is that it predicts the coming of Messiah—His name was Jesus of Nazareth—giving us thousands of little pictures of what He is like and what He would do for His people. The entire sanctuary service teaches us about Jesus and His plan of salvation.
>> Every offering, every piece of furniture, utensils, etc., teach us about Christ and His ministry.
>> Each offering portrays a different side of Christ's sacrifice for us.
>> Every one of the different methods of sacrificing animals and the first-fruits of the crops of God's people reveal various sides of the plan of salvation.
If we didn't have the OT and all its predictions of the coming Messiah, we'd have no evidence to show that Jesus was the Christ. Throw away the OT, and we are left with the tales of godly men who may or may not have been telling the truth.
Jesus and all the NT writers constantly quoted from the OT as the authority for what they themselves were saying and doing. The book of Revelation quotes from the OT over 278 times in its 404 verses. All the people who started the Christian Church had no intention of separating themselves from the Hebrew Scriptures. That was their Bible. Just as you and I look upon the New Testament as our Bible, so they looked upon the OT as theirs.
Should we quote from the OT to establish doctrine? Absolutely! The OT is God's word every bit as much as the NT. The two complement each other: The OT tells of the coming Messiah and what He would do for His people; the NT tells about the actual presence of the Messiah/Christ and how we can understand His work and make it meaningful in our lives. Both teach us how to become and stay God-fearing Christians in a sinful world.
Notice two texts in the NT which recommend that Christians should use the OT:
John 5:39 (NIV) You diligently study the Scriptures [OT] because you think that by them you possess eternal life. THESE ARE THE SCRIPTURES THAT TESTIFY ABOUT ME,
2 Tim 3:16, 17 (NIV) ALL Scripture [OT] is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
WHAT ABOUT THE VARIOUS LAWS AND CEREMONIES OF THE OT. ARE WE AS CHRISTIANS EXPECTED TO KEEP THEM?
There are various kinds of laws that were all given together—because they were all valid under the Theocracy (God as King) government in which the people lived at that time.
>> MORAL LAWS, such as the 10 commandments. These laws would last forever and they apply to Christians as much as to Jews, Chinese, Germans, Americans, and ever other human on the globe. We all live under God and He expects us to keep His commandments. (John 14:15; 15:14)
>> CEREMONIAL LAWS, such as the yearly sabbaths, and the temple services with their sacrifices and offerings. These were designed to teach God’s people about the coming of Messiah. We no longer keep these ceremonies because Messiah has come and all the sacrifices (shadows of Christ’s coming) have reached the cross (the object that made the shadow), and are no longer valid. (1 Cor 5:7)
>> HEALTH LAWS, such as the clean and unclean meats, etc. There is no difference between the bodies of Jews and those of any other human on the planet. These health laws, besides being commanded by God, have been found to be valid. The foods that were named as “unclean” have been found by nutritionists to be harmful to health and the cause of cholesterol, heart disease, cancer, etc. And the laws about washing hands, going out of the camp for elimination—and covering the same with dirt—are all simple health laws, even though they are couched in the terminology of clean and unclean. Remember also that Noah already knew about clean and unclean animals in his day, 2500 years before God gave the laws at Sinai. (Gen 7:8)
>> GOVERNMENTAL LAWS, which included several capital offences which we would not consider today. These offences pertained, primarily to breaking the moral law of 10 commandments—such as the Sabbath (Ex 31:14)—or mistreating parents (Ex 21:15, 17).
Some people have assumed that since God was the King of the nation, that He decided which was worthy of death under these laws. But, (there were millions of people) though occasionally cases were brought before the High Priest to receive God’s decision “yes” or “no” via Urim and Thumim, most cases were decided by a local judge, and executions were carried out by his decision.
Governmental laws change as governments change, and our government has different laws than did the Israelites. Paul tells us that we are to obey the laws of the government (Rom 13:1-5).
In the rest of the OT we have stories of men and women who kept God’s commandments and were blessed for it, and stories of men and women who did not keep God’s commandments and were often cursed because of it. In some cases, neither side seems to get his due, but, as you know, everyone will receive his reward or punishment in the judgment at the end of the world (Rev. 20:11-15). The point of all the stories is to show us how the teachings of the Bible are lived out in human flesh. The psalms, proverbs, and the prophets give us counsel of great value, and we do well to read and understand them.
So you see, the OT—and many of the “613” laws, etc.—is of great value to us. To toss it out would be to lose a great blessing. It would take away from us the knowledge of our beginnings as well. Without this knowledge we would float on a sea of theories and never reach the shore of eternal life.
Reading the Bible, both OT and NT, is very important to the Christian. It would be very difficult to maintain a saving relationship with God without it. And learning about God and His requirements for us would be nearly impossible without some connection with God’s Holy Word.
Actually, if we watch for Him, we’ll find Jesus Christ in almost every passage of the Old and New Testaments. Sometimes He’s known as the Creator (cf. John 1:1-4, 10, 14); sometimes He’s known as “the Angel of the LORD” (Ex. 3:1-14; cf. John 8:56-58); sometimes He’s known as the “servant” (Isa. 52:13-53:12); and sometimes as the Messiah. Often He’s behind the scenes, working through those who live according to His will.
If you have difficulty understanding the Bible, there are many aids available to help you do this, (see list below). But above all, read your Bible for yourself, and pray that God will help you understand it.
Feel free to come back again with other questions.
Stay close to Jesus.
Thurman C. Petty, Jr.
www.PettyPress.com (20 Books; 42 Bible Study Guides; more)
Sources of Bible study aids and answers for your questions:
Mail order Bible lessons: Amazing Facts Bible Lessons, PO Box 1058, Roseville, CA 95678
Telephone questions answered: 3ABN 1-800-752-3226 (pastoral dept., ext. 1)
On-line: Bibleinfo.com; Itiswritten.com (Bible studies/Discover Bible Guides)
Television networks: HOPE Channel (Direct TV #368); 3ABN (Dish Network #9393)