I have to admit it, I love the Old Testament.
Some people are uncomfortable with the Old Testament. Some people hate it. Some treat it like a story book, there only to provide Sunday School curriculum. Some abuse it, claiming promises for their benefit that God intended only for its original audience. Some treat it like it is completely separate from the New Testament, as if God changed His mind on everything somewhere between Malachi and Matthew.
I agree, there are parts of it that are hard to explain.
But I think there is way more continuity between the Old and the New than discontinuity. I think it has way more to teach us than we realize.
When the Apostle Paul instructed young pastor Timothy that the “sacred writings” are “able to make you wise for salvation,” and that “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness,” he was speaking directly about the Old Testament (2 Timothy 3:16).
The New Testament had not come into existence yet.
In Romans 15:4, speaking of the Old Testament, Paul tells us that it was written “for our instruction.” In 1 Corinthians 10:11, he writes that the things that happened in the Old Testament narrative are “an example…written down for our instruction.”
So, how do we teach, preach and apply the lessons of the Old Testament so that they are able to “instruct us”?
Some scholars say that you need a PhD in literary, historical criticism to be able to accurately glean application from the Old Testament…and I agree that a healthy dose of caution wouldn’t hurt.
But, isn’t the Holy Spirit inside of every believer? And isn’t all Scripture the product of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21)?
Then it seems to me that the first place any of us need to go to truly hear, receive, understand and apply the Old and New Testaments is the Holy Spirit.
Don’t read the Bible without Him.
Like my good friend, Dr. Steve Land says, “actively, consciously invite Him into your reading of Scripture…then engage other believers in the conversation.” I believe only then will you see things you have never seen before, and, even better, you’ll experience the loving careful surgery of the Spirit on your own heart through the living Word (Hebrews 4:12).
Sole Scriptura! Yes!
But not without the Holy Spirit.