Second, the Old Testament gives us a way to process the brokenness in our world and in ourselves.
When difficulties cause us to wonder if God is listening to our prayers, David shows us how to express those fears to God and still put our faith in his care for us and his ability to act. When God calls us to walk in faith, Gideon and Esther provide examples of what it means to have courage and trust in God’s provision. Church leaders can help their congregations see the relevance of these passages in their lives and use them as reference points in responding to their personal and community circumstances.
Third, studying the Old Testament can be challenging, but it’s worth it.
The context of 21st century America is quite different from that experienced by the original writers and hearers of the Word. However, instead of backing away from that challenge, our questions about what we read can be an excellent way to grapple with our faith in community and with God. Curiosity and digging deeper are always our friends as we seek to understand God and his Word. Bringing together the study of the two testaments can help us to experience both parts as one continuous and coherent story rather than as disjointed expressions of God’s love and character.
The Word of God changes lives and communities. Those of us in the Bible translation movement see this all the time. As we embrace the Old Testament as worthy of our time, attention, and teaching, we will see our people embrace a fuller understanding of the goodness and holiness of God that finds its culmination in Jesus.