Posted by: John Adams | June 10, 2009

Why Understanding the OT Is Important

Yesterday, I had my first session in the OT Intro course I’m taking this month. The OT is a collection of literature that at times can seem brutal, irrelevant, primitive, and arcane. Attempting to convince us of its importance, my professor pointed to the fact that Jesus and the NT authors appealed to the OT as their authority.

“Isaiah alone is quoted 450 times in the NT,” he said.  Pausing for dramatic effect, he continued, “That means that if you aren’t familiar with what Isaiah says, the lights in your mind go off 450 times as you read through the NT. And that’s not even counting all the times other OT books are cited or alluded to.”

In my mind’s eye, I pictured those maps of the world that show the world as it looks at night from space. Invariably, those maps are brightly lit in North America, Western Europe, Japan, and Australia, but very dark in Latin America, Africa, and much of Asia, where the countries are not as highly developed. Perhaps that’s what the minds of many Christians look like over huge swaths of Scripture–huge forests of unknown punctuated by small islands of light, cities of understanding in books like Psalms, Matthew, John, or Romans. It’s a sobering thought.

Which parts of your Bible are lit up? Which parts are experiencing blackout? What are you going to do about it?

The World at Night

The World at Night



  1. Job is an intriguing book. It’s really unique and approaches suffering in its raw form. The author shows through Job’s story that, more than our longing for God to relieve our pain, what we really want is to know somebody’s out there, that somebody cares. The fact that God shows up is profound. If we know someone sees our suffering and still sees us as righteous, our suffering becomes more than senseless pain–it becomes our assurance that God believes in us enough to put us through tests to refine our precious faith.

  2. That’s a very good summary of the message of Job, Gabe. What would suffering Christians have to wrestle with if not for Job?

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