Reading the Old Testament – Part 2

old testamentIn my last post, I talked about four things to avoid when reading the Old Testament. Today I want to look at the opposite of that – things we should do when reading the OT.
  1. Accept that it is just as much the inspired Word of God as the New Testament – Our Sovereign God saw fit to give us both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Humility dictates that we must approach both then as necessary revelation pertinent to us in some way. Just because it may be easier to find relevance in the NT doesn’t make it okay to bypass the ‘harder’ revelation of the OT.
  2. Pray before you read – This is honestly something that should happen before we read the NT as well, but it is important, so I’m including it anyway. Pray and ask the Lord to help you concentrate, to reveal more of Himself to you through your reading, and to cause passages to stick with you afterwards. Thank Him for giving you His Word and for making it so easily available to us.
  3. Don’t read it with a goal of finding something specific to YOU – read it with a goal of finding something specific about GOD – This is probably the biggest point I want to try and get across. We are not Israel and we are not under the Old Covenant. At first glance, this can seem to take away the value of reading and studying the OT. But we are Christians and our hope rests in the gospel of the one true God, the God of both the Old and New Testament. The more we know God the more we love Him and the more thankful we become for our salvation. Reading the complete revelation from God gives us a MUCH more complete picture of who God is than focusing on just one section. So as you are reading the OT ask yourself, “What does this reveal to me about God?” and “Is this unusual or unexpected? Is it encouraging?”

I strongly recommend reading the Bible cover to cover at least once – and preferably multiple times. It is how I read the Bible for probably the first twenty years I was reading. However, the past several years I’ve taken a different approach that is very popular and can be good for people really struggling with the OT – reading the OT and the NT together! A few chapters from both, or whatever you’ve set as a daily goal.

Having a plan will help a lot. Next time I’ll go over some helpful Bible reading plans for those of you who are looking to use one for the first time or who are looking for something different in 2014.

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