Gospel Grammar

How important can the Old Testament be?

“Why would you bother writing about the Old Testament? Isn’t the name of your ministry Gospel Grammar? And besides, with what Jesus accomplished on the cross, isn’t the Old Testament pretty much void?”

A conversation I recently held with one of our readers has stuck deep in my heart ever since it took place. Yes, I am the founder of a ministry called, “Gospel Grammar.” Our mission is to introduce others to Jesus in a way they’ve never met Him. If you’re new to Bible study or Christianity altogether, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ all took place in the part of the Bible known as the New Testament.

The Old Testament is the section of the Bible which takes place before the birth of Jesus. I use the words “takes place,” because they are real-life events, just like the Gospels. There’s always been a place in my heart for the Old Testament. In the past, it’s been the part of the Bible I’ve studied the most. While I am currently in a season of life where studying the four Gospels are my focus, I still visit the Old Testament on almost a daily basis. This is largely due to the series I’m writing entitled, “Becoming a man after God’s own heart.”

Just like the Gospels, the Old Testament Scriptures are the written Word of God. While they were penned by human authors, these individuals were inspired to write through the work of the Holy Spirit. No, the Bible’s not about me. That being said, the Old Testament is the part of the Bible my heart best relates with. In chapter after chapter, we read about the events of God’s chosen people failing to follow God’s lead in their life. That’s something I’ve been able to completely relate with the first six and a half years of my walk with Jesus.

I wanted to spend some time today going over why the Old Testament is still relevant in the world we live in today. Many biblical scholars will tell you we’re living in a time that greatly resembles the days of the Israelites. Wandering blindly through the wilderness begging God for a path, but unwilling to recognize where He leads due to pushing both His will and law out of our way. I’m not going to take that course today. My goal is simply to share some of the fire I have for reading the Old Testament on a regular basis.

Taking a look at our history.

Regardless of how long you’ve been following Jesus, if you’re part of His family, the Old Testament is a part of your family history. Becoming familiar with it is kind of like paying money to ancestory.com or one of those websites. By studying the Old Testament, we’re able to better understand our biblical roots.

If growing closer to Jesus is important to us, I believe reading this part of the Bible has to be important also. Each of us has learned valuable lessons from listening to family stories that are shared at gatherings. The Old Testament is no different. These books are full of lessons we can apply to our daily life, regardless of how long ago they were written. We actually have a lot more in common with the people of the Old Testament than we might think.

These individuals were desperately waiting for the arrival of the promised Messiah. They longed for the day God would be with them as He is now. While the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus are complete, we’re still waiting for His return. The real-life stories written in the Scriptures have a lot to teach us on the subject of wanting to experience Jesus in our daily lives.

Learning spiritual lessons.

If you have a past of mistakes, you’re well aware of the fact there are two ways to learn a lesson. We can either learn by trial and error, my personal favorite. Or we can almost effortlessly learn from the experiences of others. If learning from someone else is so widely approved of, then why are we so unwilling to learn from the lives of our Old Testament ancestors?

One of my favorite characters in the Bible will always be David. Yes, he was a great king, hand picked by God. Jesus is from the Davidic bloodline. While all of this is great stuff, it’s not why I’m so attracted to him. Like myself, David failed when it came to following God. Over and over again. Still, the sinner that he was, we learn in the Bible that David was a man after God’s own heart.

I encourage you to find the person in the Old Testament you’re able to most relate with. Read about the individual both subjectively and objectively. What lessons did they learn the hard way that can be applied to what you’re going through now? What would you’ve done differently if you would have been in their sandals? Most importantly, which of their own experiences brought them closer to God? What spiritual lessons were they forced to learn? What can you learn from applying what they went through?

Learning to look into the mirror.

Out of the points I’m making about reading the Old Testament, this one’s probably my favorite. It’s the most important to me. It’s something I still struggle with from time to time. Joby Martin, my favorite pastor, says one thing about the Bible that demands my attention every time I hear it. “The Scriptures aren’t a road map to following a God. They’re a mirror that looks into your soul.”

That’s a powerful statement. It says a lot about the Bible. I don’t know why it is, but for me personally, the mirror reflects the most when I’m studying the Old Testament. I’m implementing some things in this season of keeping my focus on the four Gospels. But still, the Old Testament does something to my heart I’m unable to explain.

Something about the failures and triumphs of Israel allows my Bible to read me instead of me simply studying Scripture. God’s Word illuminates my heart. This allows me to see where I need to make changes to better be the reflection Jesus wants me to be. It allows me to read verses such as Psalm 119:162 and praise God for the simple fact I live in a place where I’m free to spend as much time in my Bible as I do.

Psalm 119:162    I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.

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