Keep it all

Hebrews 10:1-4

I’m not sure there are many Old Testament Bibles for sell. But Christians give New Testament Bibles out all the time. You can find New Testament only Bibles almost anywhere.

Christians, of course, focus a lot on the New Testament. Some even call themselves New Testament Christians. What they desire, I assume, is to follow the way of Christ presented in the second half of the Bible.

On the surface, that makes sense.

The first four books are specific to the life and ministry of Jesus. It stands to reason that’d be a good place to start to learn about him. The rest of the second testament is a reflection on what it is to live as God’s people in light of the revelation of Jesus. So, one wouldn’t want to miss out on that either.

But in that idea is the assumption the Hebrew Bible doesn’t carry much weight. Or, at least as much weight. We don’t even notice the slight of calling it the Old Testament.

Out with the old, in with the new, right?

Some of the New Testament writing adds to this idea. And that’s the struggle.

When God gave the law, there was no sense it was temporary or limited. The longest chapter of the Bible is Psalm 119. It’s full of praise for God’s law. And it isn’t the only writing to offer such admiration. Plus, Jesus doesn’t put down the law. He said he came to fulfill it, not abolish or belittle it.

Hebrews 10 is one source New Testament Christians might use to suppress the Hebrew Bible. It sounds like the sermon is criticizing the law of God.

I’m not so sure it is.

Instead, it’s elevating the sacrifice of Jesus. Hebrews 10 is the culmination of a larger point the writer has been making. Jesus offered the sufficient and permanent sacrifice for sin. Himself. Nothing else compares to his sacrifice.

But don’t throw out the Hebrew Bible. It’s not secondary. That’s not what Hebrews is saying. You won’t understand a lot of the book of Hebrews without the Old Testament. You’ll miss a lot of the New Testament without it! Do the hard work of learning the stories and reflecting on how they tell the story of God. And learn to see how the life and ministry of Jesus reflects what’s there.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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