Reading the Old Testament

When we study the Bible we can lose sight of the Old Testament. In fact the Old Testament texts are fundamental, and so it is time to take a fresh look. In early July and early August, Rev. Anne will explore some of Genesis stories, always looking for the life principles that are relevant and energizing to our 21st century faith. Here is an outline of some helps in reading the Old Testament.

Why do we read the Old Testament?

  1. These are the scriptures that Jesus knew.
  2. There are too many references to the Old Testament in the New Testament to not read it.
  3. The Old Testament scriptures provide a big picture of the character of God.
  • Helpful book: The Bible Jesus Read by Philip Yancey.

How should we read the Old Testament?

  1. Keep in mind six words that provide threads to weave the stories together:

    Family                Nation

    Theocracy         Monarchy

    Exile                   Post-Exile

  2. Know what you are reading.
    • What is the genre? Am I reading poetry, the law, a narrative, prophecy, apocalyptic literature, or wisdom literature? What are the historical and cultural contexts? What did the words mean to the original readers?
    • Helpful book: How to Read the Bible for All it’s Worth by Fee and Stewart.
  3. Know why it was given to us.
    • Although it contains history, it is not a history book. Although it contains stories about people, it is not primarily about people. It is a book about God’s actions in our world.
    • Read the Old Testament as a love letter – God speaking to us – ask yourself:

      Who is God to me?
      Who am I to God?
      Who are we to God?


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