Understanding the Old Testament

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein …”
Joshua 1:8

It is important to know that all of God’s Word is essential. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:15). Not only is it important to know what it says, but it is even more important to understand what it says.

An easy way to begin understanding the Bible is to become familiar with it. The history in the Old Testament is very important to further one’s understanding of the Bible as a whole. In Joshua 1:8 we can read that not only is the book of the law to not depart out of one’s mouth, but it is important to meditate upon it day and night. Meditate means “to dwell on any thing in thought; to contemplate; to study; to turn or revolve any subject in the mind.” This is an important thing to understand as one learns to read the Bible. Reading the Bible involves much more than just reading a few verses or chapters and then continuing on with one’s day. Reading God’s Word involves meditating on it – to dwell on it in one’s thoughts, contemplating what it says. Although we can understand that this verse in Joshua is initially referring to the first five books in the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), the importance of knowing God’s Word does not end there. Remember that all of God’s Word is important!

If one would just recognize that the Bible is very organized it would make it much easier to understand. For instance, the Old Testament has thirty-nine books easily broken into five groups. The first five books are called the “Law” where we can find the first 2,500 years of history and witness God actively involved in the lives of mankind. The second group consists of the next twelve books, often called “History”, where we pick up the history of the Israelites at the brink of the Promised Land, prepared to enter. The first nine books of History record the years in which the Jewish people occupy the land of Israel. This not only includes the times of the judges (when the people forgot God), the times of the kings (when the people rejected God as their king), but also the captivity of God’s people. The last three books of History reveal the remnant of Israelites that were allowed to return to the Promised Land, also known as Israel.

There are five books in the middle that can be considered “Personal Books”, for they deal with individual’s experiences with God and are very personal. These books deal with individuals’ heart issues as they seek to know and better understand God. These are Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. The “Major Prophets” are the next five books, and the “Minor Prophets” are the final twelve books. Understanding the timeframe these Personal Books, Major Prophets, and Minor Prophets take place are imperative in the understanding of the Old Testament as a whole.

The New Testament is organized as well for the ease of understanding.

Reading, learning, and understanding the Bible is the most important thing a Christian can do. Although many people are taught a lot of Bible “stories” as a child, understanding that these were real people and that God worked in these individuals’ lives will make these events invaluable! Remember some words with which Paul encouraged Timothy. “14. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15. And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17. That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:14-17).

Have you taken time to become familiar with God’s Word?

Do you meditate (dwell on in thought, contemplate, and study) upon a portion of the Bible every day?

Originally Posted at Lighthouse.pub: https://lighthouse.pub/blog/understanding-the-old-testament-/?src=n

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