Do you struggle with understanding and seeing the relevance of the Old Testament (OT) in our modern-day life?
To reconcile the importance of the OT and its relevance for modern readers, some Christians would focus on the conduct and the morality of OT Bible characters. Let me give you an example of what that typically looks like.
In 1 Samuel 1, we have a narrative about Hannah, the barren woman, who went to God in prayer in the midst of her struggles of being taunted by Penninah. To find relevance, some Christians would teach that Hannah praying in the midst of her struggles was an act of faithfulness and thus worthy of emulating. Others may even suggests that 1 Samuel 1 is a proof-text to show us that God will surely answer the prayers of a faithful woman.
Perhaps you may find such understanding familiar; but let me suggest that such approach to Scriptures is too simplistic. It not only ignores the main problem the Bible addresses (ie: the sin of Man), it also does not address what God had been doing regarding His promises to bring about the defeat of Satan (ie: Gen 3:15). So while a moralistic approach seems an easy way to make the OT relevant, yet it obscures important theological truths that God’s Word attempts to teach.
So, how should we approach OT Scripture? What are the interpretation principles that we should adopt? There are many excellent books that have been written on this subject; and I would encourage you to read them. But here, I just want to highlight one overarching principle that is foundational when we read the OT. That principle can be found in Luke 24:13-35.
After Jesus’ resurrection, He appeared to two men, who were kept from recognizing Him. They were sad because they thought that Jesus was going to redeem and deliver Israel from the Romans; instead the religious leaders crucified Him. On hearing this, Jesus chided the two men (in v25-27), for not knowing and believing the Scriptures (referring to the Old Testament); and He gave them this principle…that OT Scripture must be understood in light of the Saviour Jesus (v25-27).
Going back to 1 Samuel 1, if we are to apply Jesus’ principle on how the OT should be understood, then the story of Hannah is not just about God answering her prayers because Hannah was faithful. Far more important than that, God was answering Hannah’s prayer in light of God’s good and perfect plan to save His people (Israel) in order to frustrate Satan’s plans. We will write more about that when we look at 1 Samuel.
So why blog? Firstly, we want to help you to understand OT Scripture by showing you how we can apply this foundational principle in our reading of God’s Word. Our intention for the blog is not to comment on every verse or every theme that flow from each passage. All we want to do in the articles is to provide a sample of how we can faithfully understand the OT through that foundational principle. God willing, through constant exposure, you may begin to understand how to apply the principle and incorporate it into your reading of other OT passages.
Understanding God’s Word is one important aspect; the second important feature of the blog articles is to help you to see the relevance of OT Scripture in our modern-day life. So, in each article, we hope to be able to highlight pointers (not exhaustive) on application. You can think through, pray about and meditate on these truths.
These are the two reasons why we blog. My prayer is that through these articles, it will help the reader to understand His Word and be confident in Jesus, so that it may draw us away from trusting in our own morality and good works, and flee towards Him, in repentance and in hope.
P/S: We will begin by studying 1 Samuel together. Let me encourage you to read through the book of 1 Samuel.