Sometime ago students from swbtsbloggers asked me to complete a written interview. The topic of greatest interest to them was how to read the Old Testament. For those pondering some of the same questions on the topic, over the next several weeks I will be posting their questions and my answers.
Question: How important do you think that the OT is for Christians today?
Answer: It is virtually impossible to overstate the importance of the Old Testament for New Testament believers. First, it constitutes about seventy-five percent of the Bible. Much of what we know about God, man, and the world is found in the Old Testament. It is important to remember that the Old Testament was the Bible of Jesus and the early church. It is fair to say that the theology of Jesus and the apostles is an Old Testament theology. We would do well to follow their lead in taking seriously the Old Testament when constructing theology ourselves.
Second, the Old Testament is necessary for providing the proper background to understanding the New Testament. Without the Old Testament, important New Testament terms would have little hope of proper interpretation. Even a word as simple as “flesh” (sarx) would be in serious jeopardy of misinterpretation in terms of Greek philosophy rather than Old Testament theology. The life and significance of Jesus is misconstrued without attention to the Old Testament (i.e. J.D. Crossan)
Third, the Old Testament provides us with a solid basis for an apology of the faith. Christianity is not a newcomer in the religious history of humankind. When one understands that Christianity is the faith of the Old Testament, then it outlines the heritage of Christian belief and opens doors of evangelism to adherents of Judaism.
The Old Testament has a rightful place alongside the New Testament as the revelation of God to man. Without its abiding witness, too much would be lost, confused, or placed out of balance. The New Testament should not overshadow its significance, but enhance it as a testimony to God and His work among His people.
The interview was first posted at swbtsbloggers.