Do I Have to Read the Old Testament?

Hello there, my fellow Christian Damsel!🌺🌸

Welcome back to another post 🙂!

In this one, I'll be discussing whether or not there is any value in reading and studying the Old Testament.

Do I have to read the Old Testament?

First of all...

Any reading or studying of the Scriptures requires the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Old Testament included! Otherwise, not only will our reading of the Bible be dull, but even worse, we can fall into doctrinal errors.

I find that without the Holy Spirit, a religious act meant to build us up can have the opposite effect. 

For example, Jesus warned the disciples not to do certain spiritual activities with wrong motives as the Pharisees did (Matthew 6: 1-18). That's because the wrong reasons for doing religious activities would rob them of a reward from God.

Yikes! 

So as we consider this topic of reading the Old Testament, let us bear this in mind. We don't want our time of interaction with the Old Testament to be in vain😔.

And Now, for the Benefits of Reading the Old Testament

Sheds Light on the New Testament

I remember having an awesome revelation/experience in reading about Elijah in 1 Kings 18 and James 5:17-18. 

Actually, it began first as a puzzle for me. Whereas the Old Testament account gave the impression that Elijah simply commanded no rain, the New Testament says he prayed earnestly.

Hmm🤔. 

How conflicting, I thought.

Then it was made clear: Elijah could command and undo famine BECAUSE he had prayed fervently. It was not a conflict but rather one scripture explaining the other.

Confirms Events and People as Real

I once heard (or read🤷🏽‍♀️) that some things in the Old Testament are only poetic and not actual occurrences, like the Psalms or the story of Job. 

I wasn't sure how to absorb that information until I read something Jesus said in the New Testament. 

In Luke 24:44, Jesus explicitly affirms Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets. Cool👍🏽!

Understand God more

When I read the Old Testament, I get a broader understanding and view of God. I see Him as the God of all time, culture, and events. I get to see Him as the One who loves all people, for example, the people of Nineveh in the book of Jonah. Sometimes we only think about the children of Israel, but over and over, I have seen God's care for other nations. 

Then we also get to see descriptions of His literal majesty and glory, like in Isaiah 6:1-4; or Ezekiel 1 😮.

What's the Point of all those Genealogies and Numbers?

Ok, that sounds all well, you say, but what about those long, boring, tedious lists of names and numbers? 

Who reads those, seriously?!😏.

Well...

I do...

And you should too👏🏽👍🏽🤗.

Here are my reasons:

1. Those dreaded lists sometimes tell me how a nation began or how a place got its name. That gives me more joy when I'm reading😆!

2. Those numbers show that we are all accounted for down to the last individual. We are not just statistics (statistics will say 12.5 people...really...who is a 0.5 person...that's a half...is there a half person 🤨?) 

But in the Bible, every numbered group is counted down to the last individual. 

3. When I see who begat whom, it makes me realise that God is involved in the details of our lives.  He must have been monitoring who met whom and when; who fell in love with that one and got married so that the special people could be born. 

People like Josiah and Moses and David, and, of course, Jesus all had to have a genealogy that God was watching over. 

That makes me know I am not just an irrelevant dot on the map of destiny, but God is in the details, and He knows my very name!  

What Should I do if I find Words I Can't Pronounce?

(I don't know if this is just a Jamaican thing, but...)

We traditionally learned that when we see a word we can't pronounce in the Bible, we should say 'Jerusalem.' 🤣

Seriously though, what should we do about the many words we often come across in the Old Testament that are hard to pronounce? 

Here are my suggestions:

1. Take your time and break it up into syllables 

2. Use an online or audio Bible to listen to the pronunciation

3. Write it down and practise saying it throughout the day (or week)

4. Most importantly, don't stop reading when you meet up on a word you don't know. Keep reading and see if you can still understand the Scripture - sometimes, you can still get the gist of it based on other context clues. 

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! That's my take on whether or not we should read the Old Testament.

How have you been blessed in reading the Old Testament?

Share your thoughts in the comments🤗 and share this post with a friend🌺🌸👍🏽!

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Comments

  1. I love how you said, "When I see who begat whom, it makes me realize that God is involved in the details of our lives". Such a great point! God cares about the details in our lives.

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