Why read the Old Testament?

By Robert Kiser

I have met Christians that feel that we do not need the Old Testament. They want to refer everything to the New Testament and view the entire Old Testament as outdated or something. They may make some sort of statement that the Old Testament is the Law and Christ fulfilled the law. We even publish lots of New Testament by themselves eliminating a big part of God’s written word.

How did Jesus view the Old Testament?

John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; (NAS)

What scriptures did they have when Jesus said this? All they had was the Old Testament the New Testament had not been written yet. Still Jesus said the Old Testament bore witness of him.

Luke 24:25-27 And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. (NAS)

Here we see Jesus starting with Moses and all the prophets to explain things concerning himself. Since the Old Testament bears witness to Jesus why would you want to eliminate it?

When the Apostle Paul and the Disciples were out witnessing to people they constantly referred to the Old Testament. Let me share a couple of examples of this.

Acts 8:30-35

30 And when Philip had run up, he heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

31 And he said, “Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

32 Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this: “He was led as a sheep to slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so He does not open His mouth.

33 “In humiliation His judgment was taken away; who shall relate His generation? For His life is removed from the earth.”

34 And the eunuch answered Philip and said, “Please tell me of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself, or of someone else?”

35 And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. (NAS)

Acts 17:11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.

These people were commended for accepting what the Apostle Paul said and searched the scriptures daily to see if the message that Paul gave was true. Again the scriptures they were checking daily was the Old Testament. The New Testament was wasn’t finished yet.

2 Tim 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (KJV)

Here is a passage really that states the need to study the Old Testament clearly. Think about this a minute. The New Testament was not complete at the writing of this passage. So it cannot only be talking about the New Testament.

God went to the trouble of making sure we had his written word. There are 66 books in the Bible and 39 of them are in the Old Testament. It makes no sense to say that as a Christian we do not need it. Jesus and the Apostles made constant use of it and so should we.


Robert Kiser is the author of 4 books and the ReasonableAnswers.org website.

His website explains and defends the Christian Faith. It also includes a section on Cults including Mormonism and Jehovah Witnesses.

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