Ask A Pastor
By Rev. Beverly Kahle
St. Paul’s U.C.C. – Nashville
How should a New Testament Christian view the Old Testament?
I believe that we have to hold the entire Bible as the inspired word of God, and as such is useful for teaching and understanding how to live godly lives (II Timothy 3:16-17).
Because of this, the Old Testament cannot be ignored and cast aside, but must be read and studied with the same vigor as we do the New Testament.
Jesus himself said he came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17-ff).
It was the Old Testament scriptures that Jesus taught, so it just makes sense that we also take the Old Testament teachings seriously. Time and again, Jesus would quote passages from what we have come to call the Old Testament and draw upon them, lifting them up and challenging us to live the spirit of the law. Coupled to this is that the teachings and events of the New Testament are predicated on the Old Testament.
For us to truly have a glimmer of understanding of the import of Jesus, we have to understand the history and plan that brought us to this point which, again, takes us to the Old Testament.
However, we should always read and interpret the Old Testament in the light and revelation of Jesus Christ.
He becomes our interpretive lens for understanding the scriptures. It is through the eyes of Jesus that we see the wanton violence in many parts of the Old Testament as humanity’s attempt to solve life on its own rather than we submit to God’s plan for justice and true community.
Through this lens we filter the Old Testament teachings and readings to see our need for Christ’s redemptive love as well as God’s over-arching plan to bring us to God through that grace and love.
How then do we view the Old Testament?
We should see it as a vital part of understanding our faith and the long-suffering God who draws us and redeems us through the life, teachings and sacrifice of Jesus.