The Old Testament is the gritty, epic history of the people of Israel. But even broader than that, it’s the story of God preparing the world for a Savior. Perhaps this way of thinking could change the way you read and understand the whole Bible!

Start Talking

  • Share an Old Testament story you were taught in childhood
  • What kind of exposure have you had to the Old Testament? Do you find it intimidating or easy to read?
  • Has something in the Old Testament ever caused you to question or doubt the existence and/or nature of God? If so, explain.
  • If you grew up learning stories from the Bible, did you ever encounter people who tried to “tidy up” parts of the Old Testament? How did they do so?

Think About It

  • Why were the new Gentile Christians so intent on searching the Hebrew Bible, yet 
reluctant to adopt Jewish customs? How would you feel in their position?
  • Andy mentioned that the texts in the Old Testament tell the story of God’s fulfilled contract with the people of Israel. In contrast, his new covenant, instituted by Jesus, involves not just one nation but all nations. Does this change, challenge, or reinforce your view of the Bible and/or God? Explain.
  • How is reading the Old Testament as a historical record of the Hebrew people different than reading it as a spiritual guidebook? How do you feel about this idea?
  • Andy made the case that we don’t need to tidy up the Old Testament because it’s not a spiritual guidebook. It’s the story of our God, who waded into the mess in order to write a story of redemption. Does that change the way you feel about God? About the Old Testament?

Read This

  • Occasionally, a prophet would speak beyond their historical context to a future day when God would do something through a nation for all nations. Read Isaiah 53:5–11. What is the most meaningful image to you in this passage? Why do you think this passage is so important?
  • Read Galatians 4:4–5. What does it mean that Jesus would redeem those under the law? What is different about the relationship we can have with God versus the relationship an ancient Jew could have with him?

What Now?

  • The book of Hebrews is a document written to Jewish believers in the first century to help them understand how the New Covenant REPLACES the Old Covenant. Is there a way that Christians can appreciate the Old Testament while still living by the values and imperatives of the New Testament? How have you done this?
  • “What does the Bible say about that?” is a question we often ask. However, oftentimes the Old Testament says one thing, while the New Testament says something different. “What does Jesus say about that?” is a much better question to ask. What would it look like if you began to apply that filter to the different areas of your life or even how you read The Bible?
  • Has today’s conversation shown you anything new and helpful? What has today’s conversations shown you about the heart of God?
  • Think on this: God played by the rules of the kingdoms of this world in order to usher in a kingdom not of this world.

Additional Resources

The Lost Letters of Pergamum by Bruce Longenecker (Book)
The Seven Days That Divide the World by John C. Lennox (Book)