Genesis Through Joshua- Introduction: The Relevance of the Old Testament

A Problem: The OT appears to be irrelevant:
1) Historical discontinuities- differences between OT world and modern world
Technology, language, social structures, religious experiences (eg axe head floating on water, pillar of fire and cloud, fire consuming sacrifices)

2) Misunderstanding of the NT outlook on the OT
Mat 5v21-47:
V21- ‘you have heard it was said’ = Jesus is disagreeing with the OT
Jesus is not disagreeing with the OT He’s disagreeing with the Pharisees interpretation of the OT.

Romans 6v14: ‘not under law but under grace’
Misunderstanding: law = OT, grace = NT
Grace is NOT just the teachings of the NT

Rom 6v14 means that we are not under slavery to sin through the law or under the judgement the law brings. We’re not under the law as a taskmaster beating us deeper into sin. Our relationship with God is based on grace for OT and NT people.
Rom 4 =Paul proves justification by faith from the OT. He uses the OT to write the NT!

Romans 10v4: ‘Christ is the end of the law’
Not saying the OT is replaced by the new. Christ is the goal of the law. The law’s purpose is to bring us to Christ.
Moses spoke about righteous by faith as seen in verses 6 to 8.
Duet 30v11-13: Commands are not beyond the reach of the people.
The Law of Moses is in your mouth and heart (Rom 10v9); the word of faith.
He’s affirming the Law of Moses to describe the gospel (Rom 10v8). Christ is the goal of the teaching of the law.

Why is the OT relevant?
The OT world and modern culture are connected:
Same God
Same world
Same kind of people

1. Same God
In character:
God is immutable = unchanging, unchangeable therefore OT teaching has relevance.
In covenant:
1 Kings 8v23: Solomon’s prayer stating that God keeps His covenant.

2. Same world
Today is the result of yesterday. The present is based on the past.
The 10 commandments have been influential in producing the society we live in.
The people struggled with sin, troubles, sickness, and calamities like us.

3. Same kind of people
We all remain in the image of God.
OT people and post-modern people are all sinners (1 King 8v46).

We need a correct understanding of the NT outlook on the OT
Jesus loved the OT:
Matthew 5v17, 18: Christ affirms His relationship with the law.
Christ is not playing down the OT as a norm for Christian living.

Paul loved the OT:
2 Tim 3v16: ‘All scripture’ meaning the OT.
1 Cor 10v11: Paul tells stories out of Exodus and Numbers. The stories happened as examples; they were written for us, for our benefit, purposes and lives. Similar to Rom 15v4.

The Necessity of the OT
Why believe in the Jewish Bible?

The breadth of situations in the OT is better than the situations written in the NT.
The OT features two thousands years of diverse situations, addressing and helping Christians today.
It’s difficult for the rich to properly understand the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ as Jesus delivered the sermon to poor and persecuted people.

Foundational Concepts
The OT addresses a variety of issues that the NT doesn’t. Examples include prayer, music, and worship.
The OT gives the foundation of these subjects. NT authors are writing with the OT in mind. Should musical instruments be used in Church? Yes NT authors obey the OT.

The Lord’s Prayer is a summarising prayer not the only prayer to pray!

The word ‘Christos’ (Greek for Christ) is not defined by the NT apart from in John 2 where the word messiah is used. This word is not defined. We need to look to the OT to get this definition.

NT doesn’t speak much about social justice. Why? The OT deals extensively with this subject. Also the disciples were the one’s in need of social justice. So to some degree they were not able to administer it.
We need these foundational concepts laid down by the OT to understand fully the NT.


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