Reclaiming the Old Testament

Reading St. Augustine’s Confessions, it struck me how the overwhelming majority of Augustine’s scriptural references (and the text is riddled with them) are from the Old Testament.  Reading Rob Bell’s Jesus Wants to Save Christians, I was reminded of the story of the travelers  on the road to Emmaus, in which Jesus uses the Old Testament to explain why the Messiah had to suffer (there’s one moment I’d travel back in time to visit, assuming the time machine was equipped with an Aramaic/Greek to English translator), as well as the story of Philip and the eunuch, in which Philip tells the good news of Jesus starting with a passage in Isaiah.

These days Christians, including myself, don’t seem to know what to do with the Old Testament.  We are embarassed by the harsh passages and unsure of what to do with the rest, which for all we know is just a prelude to the New Testament.  But the Old Testament books were the scriptures of the earliest Christians.  For the longest time, they had nothing else.

There is spiritual food to be gleaned from the Old Testament and it can easily stand on its own proverbial feet, it seems.  We need to reclaim it.

2 thoughts on “Reclaiming the Old Testament

  1. Andrew

    I think it’s OK for Christians to be embarrassed by the OT — it at least gets us thinking and hopefully discussing genre, context, historiography, historicity, etc., rather than swallowing the whole of it hook line and sinker as straight-forward history that ties neatly together as a seamless narrative or theology.

    I agree with you though that the OT should not be ignored, and deserves more attention than it probably gets in many Christian circles.

  2. Toni

    One of the problems I see is ‘christians’ applying old testament attitudes and approaches to their actions and politics.

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