It may be timely to ask what Jesus thought about the Old Testament. If Jesus is who he claims to be, then surely his opinion should be very influential in shaping our own…Should we bail on the Old Testament?
The Old Testament has run into some hard times as of late. It’s seen by many as a curmudgeonly, legalistic, violent, confusing, and, maybe most of all, boring sort of book. As the atheist Richard Dawkins famously opined, “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all of fiction.”
On top of these sorts of complaints are questions about the historical veracity of the Old Testament. Are we really supposed to believe in a literal Adam and Eve? A global flood? Sodom and Gomorrah? People struggle to believe these sorts of things really happened.
Sadly, however, the critiques don’t come from just non-Christians. Even believers, if we’re honest, sometimes have those squirm-in-your-seat reservations about what we are reading in the Old Testament. And that sentiment isn’t helped when popular evangelical leaders suggest the OT doesn’t matter much anyway.
So, in the midst of such bad press, it may be timely to ask what Jesus thought about the Old Testament. If Jesus is who he claims to be, then surely his opinion should be very influential in shaping our own (see prior post on this subject here). Would he agree with concerns above? Should we bail on the Old Testament?
Not at all. Here are three things that Jesus believed about the Old Testament:
1. The Old Testament was historical. Generally speaking, Jesus viewed the Old Testament as telling about people that really existed and events that really happened. Sure, there are poetic portions (e.g., the Psalms) and apocalyptic portions which are highly symbolic (e.g., Ezekiel), but Jesus understood the historical portions to be, well, historical.