Skip to comments.7 Reasons the Old Testament is Neglected
Posted on 07/06/2014 3:19:13 AM PDT by HarleyD
Youll find our text this morning in the Old Testament I know this is a rare announcement on a Sunday morning, but when you heard it last, what did you think? Oh no! Not another historical lecture. Were going to get a whipping with the law today. Why? I came to church to hear about Jesus. Whats Israel and Babylon got to do with my family struggles?
Or maybe you didnt just think it. You said it or emailed it to the pastor afterwards. And pastors are feeling the pressure. Some surveys put the ratio of Old Testament to New Testament sermons at 1 to 10. Some would like it nearer 0 to 10.
But might this imbalance in the spiritual diet of most Christians explain many of the spiritual problems in the modern Church and in modern Christians? Or as Gleason Archer put it: How can Christian pastors hope to feed their flock on a well-balanced spiritual diet if they completely neglect the 39 books of Holy Scripture on which Christ and all the New Testament authors received their own spiritual nourishment?
Where did the Old Testament go?
It wasnt always like this. The Church used to have a much more balanced diet. So how did we get here?
1. Liberalism: The sustained attack on the Old Testament by liberal scholars has shaken many Christians confidence in this part of the Bible.
2. Ignorance: It is almost impossible to understand large parts of the Old Testament without knowledge of the historical context and geographical setting. But, while this knowledge was once widespread, many now know little or nothing of biblical history.
3. Irrelevance: Some look at the historical and geographical details of the Old Testament and wonder what possible relevance can events and places from thousands of years ago have for me? And anyway, the New Testament teaches that many Old Testament practices have stopped. So, why study them?
4. Dispensationalism: Although unintended, the dispensational division of Scripture into different eras tends to relegate the Old Testament to a minor role in the life of the Church, and of the individual Christian.
5. Bad Examples: Bad examples of Old Testament preaching and teaching are easy to find and even easier to ridicule. The malpractice of some, however, should not lead to the non-practice of others.
6. Laziness: Studying the Old Testament is often more intellectually demanding than the New Testament. The familiar paths of the Gospels seem much more inviting than Leviticus, 2 Chronicles, or Nahum!
7. Christ-less preaching: Perhaps the greatest reason for so little interest in the Old Testament is that there has been so much Christ-less teaching from the Old Testament. At a popular level, Old Testament preaching has often degenerated into mere moralism (e.g. Ten lessons from the life of Moses). At an academic level, there seems to be a determination to downplay and even remove any possibility of Christ-centeredness in the Old Testament. Little surprise then that many turn away from the Old Testament and towards the New in order to find and enjoy Jesus.
How do we get the Old Testament back?
How can we fight and even reverse these trends? Well, we must combat liberal theology by treating the Old Testament as the inspired Word of God. We must patiently study biblical history and geography, and learn how to profitably connect the past to the present. We must avoid the weaknesses of dispensationalism. We must identify and avoid bad practice, as well as search for, value, and learn from good preaching and teaching models. And we must be willing to put in the hours, the sweat, the toil, and the tears, as we break up the long-untilled ground of the Old Testament.
Above all, despite the prevalence of Christ-less moralism and the pressures of Christ-less academia, we must strive to find and enjoy Christ in the Old Testament. That alone is what makes Old Testament study profitable and enjoyable. It also produces the wonderful blessing of Christ-centered spiritual heartburn (Luke 24:32).
Adapated from Jesus on Every Page by David Murray.
Also because folks assume that the OT belongs to the Jews just as the NT belongs to the Christians.
Another reason is the falsehood that EVERYTHING was nailed to the cross. A more thorough reading of teachings in the new testament in the Greek would be very beneficial. In the old testament see the Hebrew words for “throughout your generations” and “forever” in reference to how long we are
To keep Yahovah God’s commandments.
I think that would fall under the ignorance column.
Even better, have an excellent English translation of the OT.
I agree with almost all of this article. I also like Ligonier Ministries and R. C. Sproul. However, I think the attempt to blame Dispensationalism is misplaced. Dispensationalists see the study of Biblical history as an adjunct to learning about God and the various ways He has dealt with man.
Instead, I would point the finger at replacement theology which sidelines the Jews and teaches that the Church replaces the Jews in all of God’s promises.
Or because we live in the “new covanent times” and the OT represents the old covanent.
As good as the English translation may be it will never convey the full meaning the Hebrew does. Even a superficial study of Hebrew will reveal the amazing depth of this language.
“The New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old is unveiled in the New” (St. Augustine)
I agree with this article very much.
Growing up my Mother’s Bible had a middle column that tied almost every contextual verse back to its meaning or “reflection” within the Old Testament. I called it a “preacher’s” Bible at the time LOL.
Now I contemplate that old Bible, well over 60 years old and handed down to her grandchild, as an amazing Bible full of the Wisdom and contextual truths.
Too many Christians today like to live in snippets, blurbs, and single of half-line quotes and think they are living in The Word, when in reality they are living in only half the truth. Not so much here on FR, but in the real world and the heresy spouted from the mouths of politicians and liberals one often finds Satan’s misguidance. A few days ago I bumped into a liberal online as we discussed the forced redistribution of wealth through taxation verses Biblical Charity and how one is stealing and the other is Biblically moral.
They threw Proverbs 6:30 at me as proof we are not to punish a poor man who steals, but the verse ends with a semicolon. If one reads Proverbs 6:30-31 one realizes it is actually an admonishment to the poor man, NOT to steal from the rich. Which simply tails back to Thou shalt not covet as a starting point. There the conversation ended as I then was called the holier than thou woman.
So yes in our modern day world of progressive socialism, Pelosi Catholicism, and Islamic christianity it is of true vital importance to not only know the New Covenant, but also the Old Covenant, for within the Old we became renewed by the New. God’s wisdom didn’t die on the Cross, His Wisdom was renewed by the Cross(note the capitalization there).
Dispensationalism tends to highlight OT studies, rather than cause their neglect. Many of the same errors experienced by believers in other dispensations are repeated in this Church Age.
31"Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the LORD.
The Old Testament should not be ignored, but if it is to be considered the current "Law of the Land", then Jesus need not have walked the Earth and died for our sins. The prophets need not have prophesied, and we should all be held accountable for being deserving of Salvation by our own merits. Can't have it both ways.
So it would be important then for one to know both the Hebrew and Greek?
Old school retribution. The Old Testament is dripping with it. It’s a reminder of the price to pay should they disregard the words of the New Testament.
Without the promise to Abraham there would be no sound scriptural basis for gentile Christians.
God is love. So every command, every punishment ever dished out was solely for our benefit and welfare. What the Old Testament shows is that no matter how God tries to entice us, either through encouragement or punishment, we simply don’t want much to do with Him.
That should tell us much of how “loving” we actually are when we want to reject perfected love.
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
“Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.”
It seems to be of opinion of the Christian’s deified rabbi and his student Paul for Christians the Torah (the five books of Moses) was a decent thing to pursue.
Psalm 119:160 “All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.”
Deuteronomy 4:2 “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.”
Deuteronomy 12:32 “See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.”