Don't Discard the Old Testament1
Out with the old, and in with the new. Such an idea has a place with areas like buying new appliances or finally scrapping the old car for a newer, more reliable drive. When it comes to the Bible, this motto should not drive what we do, and can be quite dangerous.
This past week Q & A on the Friday edition of Light for the Way (4:30 p.m. on WPIT 96.5 FM / AM 730) centered on the value and importance of the Old Testament for a Christian. Unfortunately, an old heresy has been resurfacing lately. We are hearing once again that the Old Testament has no value to a New Testament Christian. As such, we are called to lay it aside and focus our energy on understanding the New Testament, particularly the words of Jesus.
Much has been written on the fundamental flaws to such an idea, and I just spent twenty minutes on Light for the Way revealing the importance and value of the Old Testament in order to even understand the message of the New Testament. I want to add to that one more brief observation.
One of the most important passages in the New Testament on the sufficiency, inspiration, and purpose of Scripture is 2 Timothy 3:16-17: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. This passage unabashedly reveals the value and importance of the Scripture. Further, Paul refers not just to some of the Scripture, but all of the Scriptures.
This begs the question as to what “Scripture” Paul had in mind when he penned this verse. More brilliant and sophisticated scholars than I have written eloquently on this subject, but I want to simply point out the obvious. Paul must have included in his idea of “All Scripture” the contents of the Old Testament. 2 Timothy 3:14-15 makes that undeniably clear. He instructs Timothy to “continue in what” he has learned since a child. What was that? “The sacred writings” which is clearly a reference to the Old Testament Scriptures.
If Paul, one of the greatest writers of the New Covenant Scriptures, exhorts Timothy to continue in the Old Testament Scriptures, what makes us think that two thousand years later we have become more enlightened and can then do away with the Old Testament? We need it. It is valuable. It is insightful. It is inspired. All Scripture is profitable. All Scripture is breathed out by God. All Scripture is needed.
Don’t discard the Old Testament.