Tuesday, October 13, 2009

31 Reasons to Preach the Old Testament

Last week, I had the distinct privilege of listening to four lectures from Rev. Dr. Phil Ryken, pastor at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. He addressed a small pastor's conference of pastors from the Bible Fellowship Church on the subject of preaching from the Old Testament. His first session was on preaching the Old Testament and he gave 31 reasons why we should preach from the Old Testament. Here's the reasons he gave:

1. The OT is the Word of God.

2. The OT is the necessary background to grasping the NT.

3. The OT gives us a fuller understanding of Christ.

4. The OT gives us a fresher understanding of Christ.

5. It helps us understand our world today; the OT deals with the breadth of human nature.

6. It gives us more of the promises of God.

7. The OT shows us a fuller range of human experience (e.g. loving, fighting, working, dreaming, dying; living out life before God; it makes connections with people's experience).

8. It teaches us more of the Law of God. --careful exposition brings deeper conviction of sin; you can't get gospel without law; can't get law without seeing God's righteousness.

9. It exposes us to more Biblical poetry-- poetry teaching the heart, mind and soul differently than prose.

10. The OT is our LORD's own method for dealing with temptation.

11. Preaching the OT is the apostolic method of preaching-- they work through the OT, they show fulfillment and apply it with a call to repentance.

12. Careful use of the OT opens up more than 1/2 the Bible for use in ministry.

13. Our study and teaching of the OT honors the Holy Spirit who breathed these words.

14. The OT gives us a clearer picture of sin not just in law but in examples (also shows the kinds of sins in community and how they effect the whole people of God).

15. The OT gives us more stories to tell.

16. The OT tells us the story of our own people, the one people of God.

17. The OT gives us greater confidence in the truth of the gospel because it is rooted in history.

18. It presents a fuller revelation of the character of God.

19. It gives us something new to learn or new to teach.

20. The OT is useful (training in righteousness, correction, rebuke, thoroughly equipping, etc.); the OT helps in discipleship.

21. The OT will stretch you and stretch your people.

22. Reading, teaching and preaching the OT is a task vindicated by the history of the church. (Church Fathers, Reformers and Puritans as as adept in the OT as they are in the NT; not true of most evangelicals in the last century).

23. It gives you a richer appreciation for the grace of God--we see the length of God's patience.

24. It enables us to follow Paul's example of preaching the whole counsel of God.

25. OT helps us see the gospel.

26. It shows us God's one plan of redemption unfolded throughout all of history--we can jump in at any one point and see the whole story; the whole story has coherance.

27. The OT gives us broader perspective of the global perspective for missions--God's plan for missions is embedded in and flows from the Old Testament.

28. The OT gives us a deeper understanding of many of the great Christian doctrines.

29. The OT brings people to faith in Christ (evangelistic).

30. It introduces us to heroes and heroines of the Christian faith. (Consider Hebrews 11 and contrast that with the heroes and heroines of young people today that our culture sets up).

31. Dwelling on the OT will deepen our understanding of prayer; consider all the range of prayers in the OT.

These 31 reasons cover the scope of Church life. The whole scope of church life will be strengthened by preaching the OT.

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