Why the Old Testament? | 2 Timothy 3:14-17
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:14-17 | ESV
“At Parbar westward, four at the causeway, and two at Parbar.” Philip Yancey tells of sharing this delightful verse (it’s 1 Chronicles 26:18 in the KJV if you want the address) in his Old Testament college course when asked for his favorite Bible verse. He would of course get blank stares. Which is actually the response much of the Old Testament gets from us. If not head-scratching confusion or hair-pulling frustration. It does have its moments, though, for most of us. We are comforted by the still waters of Psalm 23, but then consternated by the mayhem of Judges; spell-bound by the wonders of the creation story in Genesis 1, but then bored witless by the tedious descriptions of tabernacle furniture in Exodus. And then there’s all those names in all those genealogies. And all of the blood and gore. And sex. And broken homes. Finding a model marriage that didn’t involve multiple wives can be a challenge. We just seem to be all over the board in this so often dense and confusing Old Testament world. It sounds so much…like…us. Perhaps our bottom-line take away from the Old Testament is that God visits humanity run a muck. He meets us in the mess where we are, as we are, and points us forward. Paul calls this takeaway “becoming wise to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” To those who will look harder, there is teaching for us here in the midst of our mess, showing us our mess, showing us the way on and out, and leading us onto a new path beyond the mess, confusion, blood, gore, and sex into a new heavens and a new earth where justice rolls on like a river and anguished tears are but a dim memory. Look harder.
What has been your primary response to the Old Testament? Why?
Lord, help me to look harder as I dip into Old Testament pages, words, and stories. Remove distorted views and caricatures of human kind and of you. Help me to see your movements, and see how your movements then continue to shape us this day. Through Jesus.
For all of this week’s resources for this new series on Spiritual Disciplines including this week’s DG video, check out the Vineyard website.