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Old Testament theology – What is it?

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Old Testament theology is the study and understanding of how God revealed Himself to people throughout history from the beginning of life to the coming of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Through a series of covenants, first with Adam, then with Noah, Abraham, the people of Israel through Moses, and David, God established relationships designed to reveal Himself, His character, His attributes, and what He is doing in the world.

The main theme in the Old Testament is found to be God initiating relationship with people, culminating in the coming Messiah. In Jeremiah, the prophecies reach an apex in the revelation of a coming new covenant. The writer of Hebrews ties this most strongly to the arrival and life of Jesus Christ.

Though written over thousands of years by many people, Old Testament books contain an organized presentation of God's creation, humanity's rebellion against Him, and His actions to re-establish relationship with mankind. This revelation begins in the very first verse: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). People of faith apply that faith to this verse, and the acceptance of all Scripture that follows through Revelation, as truth from God.

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16–17).

The Holy Scriptures testify that God used writers throughout time to communicate His desire and plan for people. "For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21).

John poetically ties Jesus to this eternal Word from God, equating Him with God, as the creator, the dispeller of darkness, and timeless (John 1:1–5). Jesus ties Himself to this truth in John 14:6: "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'"

The Old Testament establishes a historical framework through which we understand who God is, sinful human nature, our need for a Savior, and God's promise to redeem. Its primary focus is on how God interacted with the nation of Israel, His chosen people through whom He chose to reveal Himself to the world. The Old Testament gives vivid pictures of God's justice, grace, mercy, and love. It provides hope for redemption, which God offers through Jesus Christ (John 3:14–18; Ephesians 2:8–9; Acts 4:12).

Related Truth:

What are the different covenants in the Bible?

What is the basic timeline of the Old Testament?

What are the differences between the Old and New Testaments?

Why should we read the Old Testament?

New Testament theology – What is it?

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