Questions About the Bible – Part 1

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

Moses by Rembrandt

What about the “Testaments”?

Once we are used to the idea that there may be a God and He could inspire people to write, we begin looking at the Bible and wonder all sorts of things about it.

For instance, what about the two main “halves” of it, the Old and the New Testaments?

The Old Testament contains 39 books written from the time of Moses to about 400 BC, and tells of the old covenant, the old contract God made with man. It contains lots of history, rules, and explanations of God and His purposes and our relationship to Him, among other ideas.

Jesus quoted many times from the Old Testament. After all, He wrote it through His prophets.

While much about the Old Testament may seem too long, boring, or confusing to some readers, those who have devoted their lives to studying the Bible can readily show how EVERY word in it has life-giving meaning.

The 27 books of the New Testament, however, open for us the covenant or contract that Jesus established with His own Blood, and takes precedent over the Old Testament. It tells the story of Jesus’ life on this earth, explains how love fulfills all God’s laws, and shows us how to be in right relationship with God.

“When you were dead in your sins [ . . . ] God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us: he took it away, nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14

Jesus established the New Testament (covenant) when He said “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:28

When we trust in Jesus’ atonement (his blood) we are saved. Then the Old Testament is not binding on us but remains a wonderful schoolmaster, as we already saw in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

When we don’t know WHAT to do, what God might want, the Old Testament is a good place to start. When we don’t know HOW we will manage ever to do anything right, the New Testament is the go-to section.

But it’s all good! More than one preacher has said, “If you only read the New Testament, you’ve got your hand on your sword handle—but your blade is missing!”

The Old Testament is full of glorious history of people who could hear God:

  • Noah spent a hundred years building a huge boat on dry land, while trying to talk folks into joining him in it.
  • Abraham left a wealthy existence to wander around looking for a place his family could live without distraction and interruption, close to God.
  • Joseph saved all of Egypt and much of the surrounding world from a huge famine.
  • Moses, almost single handedly, rescued an entire people group from slavery.
  • Young David killed an enormous man with only a slingshot and grew up to become king of God’s people.
  • His son, Solomon, built the gold-appointed temple.

As God’s people began turning from Him (amazing, I know) His true believers still existed, still did the miraculous with His help, healing the diseased, calling down fire from heaven, making the sun stand still, etc.

As I said, full of glorious history.

More tomorrow.

_______________

Image via Wikipedia

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15 thoughts on “Questions About the Bible – Part 1

  1. iamnotshe says:

    I love this explanation. Noah, Abraham, and Moses seem like Union organizers!

    I always wondered about some of the issues between the Old Testament and New. I get it now. Background and “landmark” rules: Old.

    How to: New testament.

    Are you a minister??? I did not know! You are good!

    xoxo melis

    • katharinetrauger says:

      Ha!
      Melis, thanks for your kind opinion, but no one is good but God. Sometimes, though, He uses us, desires to show Himself through someone . . .
      However, I wondered a long time about the differences in the Testaments, myself. It took me forever, it seemed, to figure a few things out, and then they all sort of fell into place. (Well, “all” is a big word, here.)
      No, I am not a minister, like someone who runs a church.
      However, anyone can help anyone else, if they know the source of help, and in that way, we can all be ministers. It even is possible to minister bad things to people, whether innocently and/or ignorantly, or purposefully to harm someone. We all, in a way, minister something, out of the well of what we are, what we have, what we know.

    • katharinetrauger says:

      Hello, Ruth, and welcome to Home’s Cool!
      I am so glad these posts are blessing you, since your art certainly has blessed me. 😉
      Yes, God’s Word is living and active, even today, isn’t it. I am so glad, and as you said, in awe . . .

  2. Andy says:

    I like where this is going, Mom. Please let me bring some thoughts to the table:

    You quoted:
    “When you were dead in your sins [ . . . ] God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us: he took it away, nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14

    But…contrast Jesus’ own words:
    “Do not think I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets: I came not to destroy but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until Heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or tittle will pass away from the Law, until all is fulfilled.” Matthew 5:17-18

    You also said “the Old Testament is not binding on us” but I’m pretty sure you’d also say that things like “Do not murder” and “Honor your mother!” 😉 are still binding on us today.

    These are seeming contradictions, and it seems many people are overly quick to say “oh, that was Old Testament stuff.” We’re not under the law anymore.

    I think the answer lies in the fact that God’s Law actually has several parts–Sacrifices, Ceremonies, and Jurisprudence. The first part pointed to Christ as the Sacrificial Lamb. No one was ever saved by keeping the sacrifices; they were saved by faith in the Promised Savior, then as now. This, I think, is the major point of correction that Jesus and Paul make repeatedly…the Pharisees really fouled that part up. It is the sacrifices that Paul says was “nailed to the cross” and “we are no longer under.”

    The second part–ceremonies–were established to set the Jews apart from every other nation, to sanctify them, and to make them remember God’s works among them. When the Jews sacrificed their final Lamb in unbelief, that ended their religion. Jesus’ parable about the wicked servants illustrates this, and Paul says “there is neither Jew nor Greek.” The ceremonies were also “cancelled” as no longer applicable because God had turned his back on the Jews…forever. Unless, of course, they also believe.

    But the third part–jurisprudence–is the part that trips folks up when they paint with too broad a brush. This part of God’s law (the two greatest commandments, illustrated by the Ten Commandments, further elaborated by the various case laws) we cannot say “we are no longer under.” I don’t think Paul was referring to “Thou shalt not lie” when he said God cancelled the written code and nailed it to the Cross.

    I would say, rather, that God’s judicial law remains, but the sacrifical law was fulfilled in Christ, and the ceremonial law is no longer necessary since God turned His back on the Jews and gave the blessings to the whole world.

    Just thought I’d mention that in case anyone was still working through any confusing things. You probably had planned to address this yourself, so I hope I didn’t steal your thunder!!

    Love you!

    • katharinetrauger says:

      Hey, Andy,
      Thanks for your thoughful explanation, here. Lots of loving care went into it, I can tell. 🙂
      Of course I thought of these questions, but had thought I’d just say, “Love is the fulfilling of the law . . . a new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another . . . do onto others as you would have them do unto you.
      Something short and simple like that. The law is no longer against us, no longer binds us; it’s been nailed to the cross. It now guides us, in case we forget or never knew what love looks like. We still do not kill, steal, etc., but it is no longer because of the law, but because we love. Perfect love is now the new requirement. We now must far surpass the “righteousness” of the Pharisees. None of it has passed away. We just are not under it anymore. We are under the new, harder law, the law of love, impossible to fake, impossible to do with wrong motives, without God’s love flowing through our veins.
      And the ceremonial law has deep meaning, still. A person can get into it and just weep at the beauty. Jesus’ death, once and for all, is the new ceremonial sacrifice. All the Old Testament is still useful for teaching, correcting, perfecting. All. And I said that. But I tried to keep things simple, here, to fit inside one week.
      Think I’ll make it?! 🙂

  3. Sojourner says:

    This is a great overview of a deep, complex subject. God wants us in His Word and this should help some to see the forest rather than the trees. Your point – “When we don’t know WHAT to do, what God might want, the Old Testament is a good place to start. When we don’t know HOW we will manage ever to do anything right, the New Testament is the go-to section.” – simple and profound. Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of the stories of the OT.

    I also enjoyed Andy’s comment – great tag team.

    Thanks!

    • katharinetrauger says:

      Hello, Sojourner, and welcome to Home’s Cool!
      Thanks for your compliments! Tag team?! Ha! 😀
      Andy does keep me on my toes, I must admit. I know he is well-versed in things Biblical, and I cannot slip a THING past him. 🙂 For which, I am very glad.
      Yes, Jesus is the ultimate. All points to Him and emanates from Him. Yes.

    • iamnotshe says:

      HA HA HA!!!! KT is Andy your son??

      If yes, you should listen to mom. If not, God in heaven HELP ME if i learn all the cliches she has kickin’ around. I feel sleepy just thinking about her rants on horses and water, drinking or not … aaaaaa

      😉 xoxo melis

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