Four Suggestions for Making Your Way Through the Old Testament

Let’s face it, the Old Testament (OT) is where Bible reading plans go to die. You get off to a great start in Genesis and Exodus, but then Leviticus is like an impenetrable brick wall. You plod along, but eventually give up, content to read the more devotional parts of the OT like Psalms and Proverbs, or maybe the occasional story of David. It’s in the New Testament (NT), after all, where most Christians live and move and have their being.

If you are making a commitment to read more of the Bible in 2019, let me encourage you not to give up on the OT. The entire OT is, after all, “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). It may not be all equally profitable, but it is equally inspired, and “written for our instruction” (Rom 15:4). Paul says “all Scripture is breathed out by God.” Furthermore, the books of the OT are “sacred writings,” which are “able to make you wise unto salvation” (2 Tim 3:15).

With that in mind, let me off four suggestions for making your way through the OT.

1. Begin each session with prayer.
Take after the psalmist before you open the Bible, and pray, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Ps 119:18). Seek out the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth (Jn 16:13). Or, take Solomon’s advice, to “call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding” (Prov 2:3).

We need God’s insight because the OT is sometimes hard to understand! Solomon says it’s like seeking out a hidden treasure (Prov 2:4). But hard work and daily plodding have rewards. Understanding the OT depends in great measure on knowing God. But it’s when we read the OT that we “find the knowledge of him” (Prov 2:5), an intimate knowledge that wouldn’t exist apart from God’s special revelation in Scripture.

2. Know the main storyline of the Bible, and follow it in every book.
Paul spent his last days teaching Jewish leaders, and his teaching is summed up under two related headings: (1) “testifying to the kingdom of God” and (2) “trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets” (Acts 28:23),which is a short way of describing the OT. That is what the OT is about in brief: the kingdom of God and the Messiah Jesus.

If you concentrate on these two themes as you read the OT, the disparate parts will begin to cohere. The OT doesn’t just contain information about the Messiah; the OT is messianic, written for a messianic purpose, in order to sustain a messianic hope. If you lose sight of this purpose, you will likely get bogged down in the details and conclude that the NT only sheds light on the Old (which it does). But I am arguing that if you follow the storyline, the reverse is just as true: the OT is the light that points the way to the New.

So, force yourself to be interested in God’s program from beginning to end by seeing the end at the beginning. Eden is related to the New Jerusalem because the New Jerusalem is a new Eden.

Click here to read more.
Source: Church Leaders