The Old Testament has more than forty books telling the story of the Israelites and God. Within its accounts are different ideas that establish the Christian faith.
In this collection of books, you get the story of the creation. You also find about the Ten Commandments that set the standard for universal human rights. But overall, the Old Testament is composed of the covenant of God with Israel.
But what is the Old Testament, by the way?
The Old Testament is the first collection of books you will find in the Bible. Its name comes from God’s promise to Abraham. For many Jews, that is their history before the Romans ruled them. They also utilize that as the main standard of morality.
Therefore, the majority of Jews, then and now, use the teachings in the Old Testament to help them on what it truly means to be good.
It begins from the world’s creation, moving on to the chronicles of the patriarchs, the exodus from Egypt, the development of Israel to a nation that eventually fell to empires. That also provides the eternal wisdom of the prophets.
Christians look at the Old Testament as the prophecy of Jesus Christ’s coming. Jesus and His disciples discuss to the Old Testament accounts to validate the ministry. Jesus gives the New Testament as a natural progression of the covenant of the God wit4h Abraham. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus fulfilled the promises in the Old Testament.
The Importance of the Old Testament
The Old Testament is vital to the Christian faith in different ways:
- It functions as the groundwork of Jesus’ ministry
Jesus taught using the writings found in the Old Testament. He wove His ideas into the meanings of such writings in His ministry. Even when the Jewish leaders taught His teachings as radical, He still preached with that interpretation of the Word of God.
Moreover, the Old Testament is relevant for Christianity as Jesus is the fulfillment of that covenant. He didn’t come to ruin the teachings of the Prophets. Instead, He embodied their virtues and demonstrated the way to discover the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus is also God-made flesh. In evaluating the beginning of the Gospel of John, you will realize that Jesus is there from the start.
- It teaches people about love
God’s covenants concentrate on love. God loved His creation, and He told them how to love one another through the Ten Commandments. Jesus also created those commandments into two commands of love towards God and one’s neighbor.
You find nuggets of wisdom on love in all the books in the Old Testament. It’s in there that you see the various kinds of love in human life. It is not only about the love of God. However, you will also learn about romance, friendships, and familial love, even love that hurts.
You will also realize what it means to love differently. It demonstrates the various trials in the process of loving: breakups, rejection, betrayal, and infidelity. You also learn how to steer the complexity of love through the different lives of old biblical characters.
- It declares the Gospel
The Prophets announced the arrival of the Messiah. The Old Scriptures foretold the way God will save the world. That’s the son of a virgin, born from the House of David. He will then suffer, as His people won’t accept Him. People will also persecute Him and be sentenced to death. However, He will rise to death to redeem every nation.
In particular, Isaiah wrote about how God plans on saving His people through his anointed one. Abraham knew the universal salvation Gold would bring.
That’s the reason preaches read the Old Testament accounts first in each church service. The New Testament accounts seek meaning from the promises in their predecessors. Thus, you will find learn the Gospel in joy if you read the Old Testament.
When Was It Written?
Biblical scholars concur that the story of the Old Testament was first told and then retold orally. Scribes then wrote down the accounts beginning in the 10th century BC.
Keep in mind that the Jews attribute the Torah to Moses. Nevertheless, priests collated and amplified those texts at least 400 BC. The Jewish priests did that to strengthen the Jewish communal identity after they came back to Jerusalem.
The preaching of the prophets occurred from the 8th to 6th century BC. They then urged the Israelites in times of distress.
Many Jewish scholars in Baghdad and Jerusalem worked to collate the Old Testament into the Masoretic Text in the ninth century AD. That version turned out to be the standard of the following copies. On top of that, it functioned as the reference of translation of the old Scriptures to the Septuagint.
Further, the Septuagint served the Greek-speaking Jewish community found in Alexandria. If you’re looking for info on explaining the old testament sacrifice offerings, this is a great piece on it https://www.alabasterco.com/blogs/education/old-testament-sacrifices-offerings-explained