What about the Old Testament

Grunge_biblePlaying off a comment that Trey left on the Acapella music post, I’d like for us to talk some about the role of the Old Testament in the life of the church.

Thomas Campbell wrote, "The New Testament is as perfect a constitution for the worship,
discipline, and government of the New Testament Church, and as perfect
a r
ule for the particular duties of its members, as the Old Testament
was for the worship, discipline, and government of the Old Testament
Church, and the particular duties of its members."

Perhaps this has something to do with why the OT has historically been relegated to flying coach in the Restoration Movement’s hermeneutical airplane, while the NT flies business class, and Acts flies 1st class. In the emerging hermeneutic the seats are reassigned somewhat. Paul in coach, the Old Testament (especially the prophets) in business class, and the gospels (especially Luke) in first class.

A couple of questions: First, is all of this OK?

Second: If the OT didn’t exist, what would we be missing?

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Share Your Thoughts

5 thoughts on “What about the Old Testament

  1. That’s what I get for editing my comment. My first response mentioned the relevance of different aspects of the OT, but those didn’t make the final cut. Oh well.
    Brad’s right–the OT isn’t just an antiquated way of “making the cookie,” it is as much an ingredient in the recipe for the Kingdom of God as the NT is. And just maybe we can learn a little bit there about how an Almighty God interacts with the ones he loves.

  2. I think the strength of the OT is found in its placement regarding the NT – it comes before it. Good news isn’t good unless there is something to compare it to. I believe the Bible is the narrative story of the redemption of mankind, and in my mind the OT serves as a detailed chronicling of why the cross was needed. Elevating one part of the story over the other is like saying butter is the most important part of a chocolate chip cookie recipe. In reality, you leave anything out and the recipe is ruined. All the ingredients are equally valuable.
    I think there was wisdom is how the Bible was laid out. OT, Gospels, Acts, Epistles. It should be preserved in that order, studied in that order, taught in that order, and respected in that order for us to get the complete story of our redeeming.
    (I wonder what Jesus would think of some simply carrying around a New Testament)

  3. Yes, it’s OK for us to reassign hermeneutical priority in the church. As followers of Jesus, we will always read the OT through the eyes of the Gospel story, but that shouldn’t stop us from reading it all together.
    If the OT didn’t exist, one thing we would be missing is the narrative element of the OT. Paul is moving to coach in part because our culture speaks the language of narrative rather than that of a legal argument.