I can remember a time when the Old Testament was never taught, when in fact, a lot of folks never even carried it. They kept only a thin New Testament in their coat pockets, because “the Old has been nailed to the cross—we don’t need it any longer.” Don’t ever think that knowledge of the Old Testament is now totally unnecessary How did the apostles teach about Jesus? They taught from the Old Testament. They quoted prophecies extensively and showed how the man Jesus fulfilled them all, and thus was not some ordinary man. Read practically any sermon in Acts and that will become clear. If they do not quote the Old Testament, they allude to it clearly.
When Paul spoke to Timothy about his upbringing, from a babe you have known the sacred writings which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is Christ Jesus, 2 Tim 3:15, he was talking about the Old Testament. No one had even started writing the New when Timothy was a small child.
Though teaching facts is essential and the first kind of teaching any child can understand, in the long run teaching facts is not the job of the educator. When all a child knows is facts, his knowledge will always be limited. When you teach a child principles, he will be able to teach himself facts for the rest of his life. When I told my children what to do or not to do, I expected them to eventually use the principles I had taught them to figure out circumstances I had not been able to specifically prepare them for. When they did not, I was disappointed, and usually said something like, “How many times do I have to tell you? You are smarter than this.” God spent thousands of years preparing us with principles we can use now. Does He have to tell us everything again? Aren’t we smarter than that?
Most any element of the New Testament can be better understood and become more meaningful if you understand its parallel in the Old. I once tried to make a point about the Lord’s Supper by pointing out something about the Passover feast. After all, Jesus instituted this feast during a Passover meal using elements from that meal, and Paul says plainly in 1 Cor 5:7, For our Passover has been sacrificed, even Christ. The person I was speaking with totally dismissed my point because the New Testament did not say it word for word. Here was a person who truly had not comprehended the relationship between the testaments and how God had prepared not only the Israelites, but all of us who will take the time necessary to study, for the full glory of the gospel.
The more you know, even things that seem like meaningless details, the more you will comprehend, the more it will touch your heart, the harder you will try to live up to the wonderful blessings we have in Christ Jesus, the fulfillment of the Old Testament. .
So the law has become our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. For the things written aforetime were written for our learning that through patience and comfort of the scriptures we might have hope, Gal 3:24; Rom 15:4.
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