Should We Still Read the Old Testament?

By Rebecca Goings – June 01, 2021
Image by Getty

The Old Testament is a library of books that tell of God’s rich and deep history with mankind. It begins at the beginning and tells us the story of creation. God gives us a clear revelation of Himself, of who He is, and how He works in the world. Within the Old Testament are stories of God’s provision, His grace, and His love toward His people. The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament, and we cannot fully know or understand His plan of redemption without reading both.

The Old Testament gives us the creation account, which brings to light the reason for sin in the world. It tells us the order in which God created the cosmos, how He crafted our world, and finally, how He brought forth the man and the woman. It tells of how the first couple was deceived by Satan and fell from the garden. Humanity was created to have a relationship with God. The entirety of the Old Testament is God continuing to strive with His creation while promising a way back to Him one day.

However, due to the sin that so blinded humanity, no one could find their way back to God without God providing it for them. Civilization after civilization fell into idolatry, even going so far into devil worship and sacrificing their children to Molech. No one sought after God; all had fallen short of His glory. Therefore God chose a nation, the Hebrews of Israel, to be His people and provide His Law in order to reveal His plan of redemption.

This plan was foretold by the prophets, the promise of the Messiah, the one who would come to take away the sins of the world. His birthplace was revealed by the prophet Micah, His gruesome death was revealed by the prophet Isaiah. Even the Psalms speak of Him. Not only is His first coming mentioned, but His second coming as well, through the prophets Daniel and Zechariah. God told us all these things beforehand so that when they came to pass, we would believe.

These prophecies were, and will be, fulfilled in our Lord Jesus Christ. For the astute Bible student, one can glean from the Old Testament alone the birth, death, and resurrection of the Messiah. These truths might be hidden or veiled, but they are clearly there for one who has ears to hear. 

The Old Testament was written over centuries while the New Testament is only a 60-year snapshot at the beginning of the Christian church. Christ Himself referenced the Old Testament often and validated the patriarchs by teaching of them all, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, King David, Isaiah, and many more. As the Apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:16, all Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, rebuke, correction, and training in righteousness. For this reason alone, we know the Old Testament is just as valuable today as it ever was. Christ did not come to do away with the Law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17).

Let’s read the Old Testament with thankfulness and rejoicing that Almighty God has given us a way to know Him through the majesty of His Word in both the Old and New Testaments.