We live in the most connected age thanks to the internet and social media. Yet this age is the most disconnected from the Bible than many have ever seen in their lifetime. Despite the fact that eighty-four percent of average American households have more than one Bible, only thirty-seven percent of them read their Bible daily, according to Lifeway research.
Recently the BarnaGroup issued their “State of the Bible 2019.” It gives us an even greater glimpse into how God’s Word is used or unused in our world today. According to the survey, Forty-eight percent of the American population is disengaged from God’s Word, while only five percent are fully engaged with the Bible.
These stats can really drive our understanding of Biblical literacy around us and how our fellow Americans view God’s Word. This doesn’t even get us into the deeper topics of Old Testament versus New Testament and what Christians are more likely to read. I would be willing to say from experience that we are more apt to reach for the new than the old.
What is it we want from the Word of God?
When I first began to read my Bible, I had many questions about my own life. What is it that God desired from me? How to deal with my marriage? Being a good mother, etc. While bringing our questions to the Word of God is not a bad thing, it shouldn’t necessarily be what drives our study within its pages.
As we study the Bible the answers we need will be given to us.
There is an equation I hold firm to when it comes to the study of the Bible:
When we study the Bible we know more of God + We witness His redemptive plan = Which allows us to understand who we are and how we are to live.
Without understanding who God is, we will never fully know who we are made to be in light of the Gospel. The Old Testament is crucial to that understanding. From the establishment of all things to the exodus, to exile, the character and redemption plan of God is revealed to us.
We cannot allow the “Old” of the Old Testament to deter us from breaking open its pages. It is not insignificant. In fact, it displays its significance in size being seventy-five percent of the entire Bible. There is so much that we can, in fact, learn from the pages of the Old Testament.
- It points directly to Jesus:There are so many passages of the Old Testament that allude, introduce or prophecy about Jesus Christ. We see it in the beginning in Genesis 3, when we see a prophecy made that one born of the woman will crush the head of the serpent, and the serpent would bruise his heel. We see it throughout the Old Testament the metanarrative of the redemption that is coming for the people of God. One tip I give most often: Read the Old Testament with Gospel lenses.
- It teaches us the history of God’s people:We can learn a great deal about our relationship with God from His relationship to Israel. Again and again, God was faithful to an unfaithful people. We learn that repentance brings about mercy and forgiveness. But even with repentance, we still face consequences. We can learn so much about the character of God. We can trust His sovereignty because He displayed the fullness of His character in the Old Testament.
- It teaches us that God doesn’t change: the God of the Old Testament is the God of the new, He has not changed, He doesn’t waiver with the winds of time. God is steadfast and immovable. We see it time and time again. Our position may change but God never does. The God who called Moses from a burning bush, and Jacob in the desert. God who showed Abraham the promised land, and God who called David out to be king, is the very God who calls your name. The very God who sent His Son to the cross for our salvation.
The Old Testament is rich with deep theology and doctrine. Truth used by Jesus and the Apostles in the New Testament to bring Jews and Gentiles unto salvation. The old and new are the very words of God and as 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “it is good for correction, doctrine, reproof, and instruction in righteousness.”