Why Read the Old Testament: The Basics

Fiery Furnace found when you read the Old Testament

by Fr. John A. Peck

One question that I don’t get often, but do get consistently is,

“Why read the entire Old Testament?”

In other words, why not skip to the good parts, (the Psalms, Genesis, whatever) and leave the rest?

My answer is this is really simple, and not probably what you’d expect.

We read the Old Testament for the same reason we read the New Testament

Specifically, so that we can better,

  • Preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
  • Teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
  • Live the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Yes, the Old Testament tells us a great deal about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament informs it, gives the New Testament context, and keeps us from isolating New Testament concepts and themes from their Hebraic understandings. That’s how you end up with Calvinism, Mormonism, and a whole host of other heresies. You separate the contect of the New Testament from the Old, and you are in big trouble.

If you are reading the Old Testament for any other reason, you’re missing one of the most exciting, invigorating, and powerful ways empower your own life, witness, and experience in Christ Jesus. Live the Gospel. Teach the Gospel. Preach the Gospel – in every way possible, to everyone you know.

This is why we read the entire Old Testament. It’s part of the written witness of Christ Jesus.


About Fr. John A. Peck

Director of the Preachers Institute, priest in the Orthodox Church in America, award-winning graphic designer and media consultant, and non-profit administrator.
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