“Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.”
1 Kings 18:38
One year I decided to read the Bible cover to cover. I only made it through Genesis, partly because I lost vigour and partly because I could not believe how much sex, violence and simply crazy stories there were. Since this decision I have made it through the whole of the Old Testament, and the crazy stories do not stop, they possibly even get stranger and more shocking. Did the author’s loose the plot somewhere and start using some artistic licence? Are we expected to read, understand and apply books like Leviticus, Lamentations, Ezekiel? Aligned with this thinking, there are some modern compilations of God’s Word that only include Psalms and the New Testament.
Do we really have to regard the whole of the Old Testament as part of God’s Word?
I personally say that we most definitely do for three primary reasons:
- Jesus pointed to the Old Testament positively. In my mind, if Jesus, the Son of God, had no problem with the Old Testament than nor should I (have a look at Luke 24:27, without the Old Testament, the New Testament has lost its skeleton).
- Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says that all scripture – at this point in time, all scripture was the whole of the Old Testament – is breathed out by God and IS useful for teaching, encouraging, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).
- God is all-powerful, it would seem logical then that if he can rule the vastness and chaos of our universe that He could easily oversee the writing and compilation of his words spoken through the prophets (Hebrews 1:1)
We therefore need to read the whole of the Old Testament, crazy stories and all trusting that it is fully God’s Word. And do not worry if you struggle to read it, you are in good company. Spend time reading, purchase a study Bible, or even a commentary on the book you are going through. Or come and ask, in South Africa we have a vast library of resources on God’s Word.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for your Word. We thank you for the Old Testament! It is rich and drenched in your grace, sovereignty, holiness and might. Please help us to read it, meditate upon it, understand it, and put it into practice as we grow in the Image of Christ. Amen