Author: Ron Graham

Old Testament

Is the Old Testament Needed?
—Should Christians use it?

In this lesson we ask the question, Are the Old Testament Scriptures for Christians? We are considering whether the New Testament scriptures are sufficient today, or whether we need and must heed the Old Testament as well.

Imagine that somehow the Old Testament Scriptures vanished, and not a trace of them could be found anywhere in the world. Would we miss them?

Our previous lesson noticed that the scriptures Timothy had known since childhood —an obvious reference to the Old Testament scriptures— remained able to give Timothy the wisdom that leads to salvation. Those scriptures were still profitable for teaching, and able to equip for every good work (2Timothy 3:14-17). It would be a great loss therefore, if the Old Testament scriptures were no more.

However, I've rushed ahead. Let’s just backtrack, and allow an argument to be made for the idea that Christians don't need the Old Testament. Then we'll allow the argument that they do. Finally we will explain how both ideas are really in agreement even though they seem to be opposite.

1 The Case for No

Here are arguments that might be used to support the idea that Christians don't need the Old Testament scriptures...

2 The Case for Yes

Here are arguments that might be used to support the idea that Christians do need the Old Testament scriptures...

3 The Explanation

These arguments seem to be contradictory, but the Bible does not contradict itself. So how do we harmonise the scriptures above which seem to be supporting two opposite cases?

Isaiah 8:16,20

In one sense, the Old Testament is for Christians, yet in another sense it is not. It boils down to the difference between testimony and law. Isaiah says...

Bind up the testimony,
Seal the law
Among my disciples...
To the law and to the testimony!
If they do not speak according to this word
It is because they have no dawn...

The Old Testament is both these things...

The Old Testament may be considered as a system of law to be obeyed. It contains a great many laws which God gave to the children of Israel. As such, it is no longer in force, because that old law was abolished and replaced by our Lord Jesus Christ when he died on the cross. This is where the case for "no" above holds true.

The Old Testament may also be considered as a testimony to be believed. As a testimony, it contains...

The last four points in that list will take up our next four lessons in this series. Because the Old Testament has these things, even within many of its laws, it is very precious and needful to Christians. That is where the case for "yes" above holds true.