Updated: Nov 5, 2019
We are exploring some reasons to read the Old Testament.
For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Paul wrote that to the church at Rome around AD 56-57. Just a few short years after Jesus was crucified and resurrected and before most of the New Testament books were written. The "Scriptures" the apostle Paul is talking about are the Hebrew Scriptures - our Old Testament.
Reason #3 Read the Old Testament for encouragement and comfort
As we read and study the Old Testament we are comforted with God's loving sovereignty. We see over and over how much He loves us and how if we hang with Him, things will work out for the good. God takes care of His people. He blesses them. We go much deeper in our faith and understanding. And God honors our faith. It is what He wants for us - to trust him, to honor Him, to glorify Him, to make His name known.
We know that all that happens in this world is under His loving control. We see God deliver and rescue His people over and over. I find this to be great comfort. If I remain on God's side, He will deliver me.
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty One who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.
If I had been born into the Jewish nation thousands of years ago, I know I could not have kept the Law. No one can keep the Law. Hence the need for the sacrificial system. But God in His immense grace sent His Son to be the sacrificial Lamb. To take my place on the cross. To make me righteous. To save me from death and adopt me as His beloved child. My eternity is sealed.
Reading the Old Testament convicts me of my sin. That is a good thing because it keeps me dependent on God and humbles me. It makes me see what I am in relation to a holy God. And that makes me immeasurably grateful for His saving grace. I can try and try to be good and do good, but I am always going to fall short. The Old Testament shows me I am in need of a Savior. The New Testament reveals that Savior. Reading the Old Testament in light of the New Testament comforts me immensely.
The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"
We see a just holy God who will punish evil. Friends, that is a very wonderful thing. People seem to think it isn't. Think of the immense evil we encounter in this world. Is it not comforting to know that God will win? That He will defeat that evil? He shows us over and over in the Old Testament that He will judge evil. That He will bring about good. And that is incredibly encouraging to us as long as we are on God's side of the good against evil battle.
For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
The LORD keeps all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.
In the Old Testament we see a big God. I can't fix the mess in my life. But I am assured He can.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Reason #3 to read the OT: To encourage and comfort us in this life.