According to surveys Christians aren't reading the Bible very much anymore. And those who are reading it are usually camping out in the New Testament with an occasional look back to Psalms or Proverbs - a couple of books in the Wisdom Writings.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says:
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
When the apostle Paul wrote this, what was he referring to when he said "Scripture"? He was referring to the Hebrew Scriptures - our Old Testament. The New Testament Scripture hadn't been written yet.
Jesus quotes Scripture from the Old Testament. The apostles quote Scripture from the Old Testament. Jesus and the apostles were Jewish. To me it is a no-brainer the Old Testament is Scripture.
I have been surprised over the years by different things people say about the Old Testament. All of which reveals to me they haven't read it. They wouldn't say things like it is boring, God is always angry in it, it no longer is applicable,... if they had read it.
I decided to give you some reasons to read the Old Testament. I'll do several short posts. These reasons aren't in any particular order. Just what is popping into my head.
Reason #1 to read the Old Testament:
To understand the words, phrases, and concepts of the New Testament.
In the Old Testament God reveals theological concepts such as:
sacrifice requiring blood
profound reverence for God
kingdom of God
These concepts are introduced in the Old Testament and then we see them in a fuller context in the New Testament.
We see how Jesus brought in the New Covenant.
How Jesus repeats the greatest commandment.
We see how our sin requires an atoning blood sacrifice and how the blood of Christ covers us.
His sacrifice for us is once and for all.
We understand what it means to claim our inheritance.
We understand how the kingdom of God is here and now in this world and also in the world to come.
The writers of the New Testament books build on the theological concepts put forth in the Old Testament.
Can you read just the New Testament and understand it? Well, yes. You will understand the words and most of the meaning. But you won't fully comprehend the significance of many of the ideas set forth. You will get the important part of God's redemptive plan for mankind, but not quite the whole story.
Basically, the Old Testament is the dictionary for Christian vocabulary.
I had read the New Testament before I read the Old Testament. When I did read the Old Testament I suddenly had lightbulbs going off in my mind. Oh, now I understand! It all connects together! That is because the entire Bible has a unified body of teaching. God is eternal. (And to repeat again, when I say God I am talking about the Father, Son, and Spirit.) His nature does not change. God is the same as when he breathed life into the world and He will remain the same forever.
Because I have read the Old Testament, now when I read the New Testament, I have a clarity and understanding I didn't have before.
Reason #1 - Read the Old Testament so you will understand the theological concepts in the New Testament.