We cannot understand God’s character without reading the Old Testament.
He reveals himself in all his perfection there. His holiness is on display—and his love is magnified more deeply because we understand just how great our offenses are. So read the Old Testament.
3. To avoid becoming a heretic.
This might seem ironic considering just yesterday I wrote about our need to not cheapen words like this one. But if you skip over the Old Testament consistently, if you create a false dichotomy in the Bible, you’re going to fall into heresy.
Here are two common heresies that stem from rejecting the Old Testament:
A heresy that emerged around the year 144, this is a dualistic view that rejects the Old Testament and the God of Israel as being a tyrannical monster where the God of the New is a God of love and peace. This is the god we see in Rob Bell’s Love Wins, Brian McLaren’s New Kind of Christianity and so many others (whether it’s stated outright or not is another question). But more practically, it’s the god of anyone who says, “I could never believe in a God who … .”
This is the more subtle heresy because it’s harder to spot. In its crassest forms, antinomianism proposes that we don’t need the Old Testament—and more specifically, the Mosaic Law—at all anymore. It has no good purpose or benefit for the Christian. It suggests Jesus obliterated, rather than fulfilled the Law. Yet, this is what Paul warned of in Romans 6:1, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” And his answer, “By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Rom 6:2).
But we still need the Law—not as a means of earning salvation (for it was never that to begin with), but to see the perfection of God, to see the requirements of holiness, to see how far we fall short and our desperate need for rescue.
If we lose the Old Testament, we lose all of this. We lose all hope, all joy and all purpose in the Christian faith.
So, Christian, read the Old Testament.