Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Old Testament Today

"Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law" (Psalm 119:18).

The Old Testament is currently greatly neglected. Its use has nearly disappeared from the Christian community and from the consciousness of Americans. People today are more familiar with the twelve signs of the zodiac than they are with the twelve tribes of Israel. If you know six of the tribes, you are probably considered a Bible scholar.

Evangelical Christians devote some attention to the Old Testament, of course, but only along certain lines. Because of the attack on the inerrancy of the Bible by liberal theologians, evangelical scholars have spent a great deal of time defending the truthfulness and inspiration of the Old Testament; much time and energy is expended, for instance, defending the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch and the unity of Isaiah. Beyond this, the prophetic parts of the Old Testament receive careful inspection from evangelical and fundamentalistic Christians who are searching for prophetic clues regarding the nation of Israel and/or the second coming of Jesus Christ. In some instances, the general message of the book is obscured because too much attention is paid to particular words and phrases.

The general teaching of the Old Testament, however, is not given much attention in evangelical churches. Many people have very limited knowledge of Mosaic law. Few know the history of Israel, even in broad outline. The prophetic books, like Isaiah and Jeremiah, are complete mysteries. And singing the Psalms is no longer a regular part of worship.

One of the most important events in my Christian life occurred shortly after my conversion. I read the entire Bible in a month. Of course, such rapid reading does not allow for careful meditation, study, and comparison of passages, but it did do one thing for me: When finished with the Old Testament, I knew that the God who had called me to Himself was a God who plays for keeps.

How well do you know the Old Testament? As we begin this new year, ask God to give you a real hunger for His Word and to be transformed by it. Commit yourself to learn more about the God who has revealed Himself in the pages of the Old Testament by reading through the entire Bible this year. Follow a good Bible plan like these available online or for download.