Romans 15:4 “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
I’ve heard certain people say that the Old Testament is not necessary to read and study; that the new Testament is all that they need, even though the Lord Jesus and the Epistles quote directly from the Old Testament Word of God. I read where early in its history, the church confronted a heretic named Marcion of Sinope (85 – 160 A.D.), who believed, among other things, that the God revealed in the Old Testament is not the same deity who sent Christ to save us from our sins. As a consequence of that belief, Marcion also denied that the Old Testament is Christian Scripture, and he even cut out the references to the Old Testament found in those New Testament books that he did accept. Few professing Christians today would so blatantly deny the Old Testament as God’s Word to His people. Nevertheless, certain Marcionite tendencies remain alive and well in the covenant community. After all, many believers treat most, if not all, of Genesis–Malachi as an afterthought and less worthy of our study than the New Testament.
Whatever the reasons for this neglect of the Old Testament, such attitudes find no justification in the teaching of the New Testament itself. Old Testament allusions and direct quotations of the Law, Prophets, and Psalms are part of the underlying structure, base or foundation of the New Testament. In fact, the Apostles tell us directly that the old covenant Scriptures continue to have value for those who live under the administration of the new covenant.
Psalm 69:12-19 “I am the talk of those who sit in the gate, and the drunkards make songs about me. But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness. Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters. Let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me. Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me. Hide not your face from your servant, for I am in distress; make haste to answer me. Draw near to my soul, redeem me; ransom me because of my enemies! You know my reproach, and my shame and my dishonor; my foes are all known to you.”
The lesson stated that the Apostle Paul quoted Psalm 69 to support his point that since Christ bore the insults of others as He suffered for our salvation, we should willingly endure the lighter suffering we undergo as we put up with the inconvenience of not exercising the fullness of our Christian freedom in front of immature believers. Psalm 69 and the rest of the Old Testament, Paul tells us, give us the encouragement we need to have hope. In seeing that the writings of the old covenant prophets are fulfilled in Jesus, we find assurance that Christ is who He says He is and that our hope of salvation in Him is secure. Moreover, the Old Testament Scriptures remind Gentiles especially that before Christ, we were people without hope in the world. Now that Jesus has come and fulfilled the prophetic hope that the Gentiles would serve the only true God — Yahweh, the covenant Lord of Israel. Those who are not Israelites according to the flesh are now full members of God’s covenant people in Christ. Thus, we possess all the rights and privileges our heavenly Father gives to His children.
John 1:9-13 “The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
In conclusion, certain books and passages of Scripture have played greater roles in the history of theology than others; thus, it’s no surprise that some portions of the Bible are read more often than others. However, we must not make the mistake of thinking that there is any unimportant part of Scripture. The is a common thread of Christ that runs through every page of Holy Scripture. The Holy Spirit inspired it all, and it is all given for our edification. Let us therefore study the whole counsel of God and not just isolated portions of it.