The Christian and the Old Testament

The Christian and the Old Testament

Matthew 5:17-20

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL
VERSION ®. NIV®. COPYRIGHT © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by
Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


In this passage, Jesus is helping us untangle the relationship between the Christian and the Old Testament Scriptures. Four observations can be made. First, Jesus doesn’t abolish the OT but rather fulfills it. Second, Jesus affirms the enduring relevance of the OT for his followers. Third, he expects that the OT will be both practiced and taught. And finally, Jesus indicates that without a righteousness in accord with those Scriptures, people will not even enter heaven. Christians, then, are saved by faith in the Righteous One who alone can fulfill the demands of the Scriptures. Having been saved by Him we eagerly go back to those very Scriptures to both learn more about Him and to align our lives to His will.

Discussion Questions

  1. How do you tend to view the Old Testament?
    • Why?
  2. How do you tend to view God when reading the Old Testament?
    • Why?
  3. What is challenging for you when reading the Old Testament?
  4. How does the regular reading of the Old Testament help you to more deeply appreciate Christ?

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