““Why Study The Old Testament?””

Categories: Bible, Christian, Church, Daily Living, Expository Study, Jude, New Testament, Old Testament, Prophecy, Warning

            From time to time, we are questioned by some who wonder why we need to study the Old Testament. Some say, “The Old Testament has been done away (II Cor. 3:6-17), so what purpose does the Old Testament serve for us today?” I understand we can answer this question several ways, but I want to answer this by considering what is said in Jude’s letter to the Christians.

            When reading the book of Jude, we find no less than eight references to Old Testament people and events. Considering that this letter is only 25 verses in length, this means almost 25% of this letter is dedicated to reminding Christians of what has already happened!

            If you have not noticed this before, please slow down and see that when Jude wrote to Christians to warn them about God’s ability to punish the evildoers, he went back to when Israel left Egypt (v. 5; Ex. 5-12). Sodom and Gomorrah’s punishment was also presented as examples of not only dying in a fire, but also “suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (v. 7; Gen. 19)!

            Do you remember when Moses died and how no man could find where his body was buried (Deut. 34:6)? Have you ever taken the time to study that event, and what spiritual foreshadowing and application might be there? If you have studied this, don’t forget to add Jude 9 to your work. This gives us insight that the Old Testament doesn’t.

            While Cain might be a familiar name to most, have we heard of Balaam (Num. 22-24) or Core (Korah, Num. 16)? Jude 11 reminds us of evildoers of the first century who acted very much like these Old Testament people. What does this mean? Are you familiar with the records of these men, and what made their acts evil? Why did God condemn them, and how can we avoid acting like them today?

            Another familiar name to most of the world is Adam (v. 14; Gen. 2-5). What of this other person, Enoch, though? Do we know anything about him (Gen. 5:22-24)? Why was he special, and why might the prophecy cited here be significant, not only in his day, but also in the 1st century?

            I understand this study is a little different. I offered more questions than answers, but there is a reason for this. How can we know the answers to the questions above if we do not spend time in the Old Testament? I know nothing of these people, nor the events referenced if I do not spend time studying the truth found in that section of Scripture, The Old Covenant. It has a purpose! Let us respect it!

            As we close, please remember what the apostle Paul said. He wrote the Romans and told them, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4). I believe this is the purpose behind why Jude was inspired to refer to so many Old Testament people and events in his letter. By referring to these Old Testament people and events, it made his warnings crystal clear. Are we listening to the warnings? Maybe we need to go back and have a “refresher course” on these people that we might gain a better appreciation of Jude (and the rest of the New Testament)!

- Jarrod M. Jacobs