Old Testament Survey – An Introduction
Why should we survey the Old Testament if we are under the New Covenant provided by the New Testament? Studying the Old Testament provides a valuable and necessary foundation for understanding the New Testament and its application to life. In the Old Testament, we find the establishment for all of history and God’s covenant relationship with mankind.
The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew, with small sections written in Aramaic. It contains 39 books and like the New Testament, can be viewed as having five sections:
Old Testament Survey – The Teaching
An Old Testament survey relates our foundation from the beginning of life to the new life offered in the New Testament. All books in the Bible are written by men of God who were inspired by God. Thus, every word is provided for learning, teaching, correction, and for instructions for daily living. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Ultimately, God’s Word is about His purpose and relationship with mankind. 1 Thessalonians 2:13 says, “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.”
Old Testament Survey – The Completed Purpose
An Old Testament Survey contains numerous prophesies about Christ the Messiah, God’s redemptive plan, and His promises, which are fulfilled in the New Testament. Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is the hope and underlying theme of all the books of the Bible, including the Old Testament. In Luke 24:27, Jesus took them through the Bible, “…beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”
The New Testament states more than once that Jesus did not come to abolish the Old Testament Law. In Matthew 5:17-18, Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”
Understanding the Old Testament is vital in order to get a complete picture of God’s character and His saving work throughout history. The character and attributes of God and His acts, His long suffering, love, mercy, and forgiveness are unfolded from the beginning of creation right up to the promised second coming of Christ. The Old Testament is also a rich repository of human experiences that cover aspects of life that the New Testament does not. What the New Testament teaches about the way of salvation is rooted in the Old Testament.
Your own Old Testament Survey will offer you illustrations of God’s faithful and irrevocable promises, examples of how to pray, and demonstrations of faithfulness required for you lead a worshipful and righteous life.