The Profitability of the Old Testament

Radios, phones, and bizarre company should not mix. But they do. In fact, sometimes I am almost convinced that the amalgam of this threesome creates some type of gravitational pull between phone and person.

Back when I answered calls for Moody Radio, it took some clever wordsmithery to diffuse the angst caused by the aforementioned “gravitational pull.”

On one particularly normal day, a gentleman called with concerns over the programming. Like many Christian radio stations, the Moody Broadcasting Network airs several well-known preachers such as Chuck Swindoll, Tony Evans, David Jeremiah, etc.

Now, if I said nothing else, you might assume he wanted the station to play more music, or that he disagreed with some doctrinal point covered in a sermon. But if you thought either of those things, you’d be dead wrong.

He called because some of the radio preachers had recently begun sermon series on books from the Old Testament, and (from his perspective) it was Moody’s job to correct this so that he could get back to listening to more edifying sermons from the New Testament. He added that stories from the Old Testament should only be taught to children in Sunday School classes.

I wish I could say he was the only Christian I’ve ever encountered that disparaged the Old Testament, but a few weeks later someone in my small group spoke up with concerns over our pastor’s current sermon series.

Only this time it wasn’t just the Old Testament that was the problem, it was the Pauline epistles as well. According to him, pastors should primarily preach from the Gospel accounts of Christ because that is what would help us evangelize better.

Sigh…I refrained from telling either of these brothers in Christ that I was about to begin a Master’s program in Old Testament studies.

But I wondered how and when the church had gotten so off tract that its members fail to see the value of each divinely inspired book, both in the Old and New Testaments. It hasn’t always been that way.

The psalmist spoke highly of God’s revelation through all of Psalm 119, even saying in verse 72, “The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” [And just a hint, he couldn’t have been referring to the NT because it wasn’t written yet.]

If you delve much into the gospels, you’ll quickly notice the many times the NT quotes the OT. Jesus, himself quoted from Deuteronomy when he told Satan: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matt. 4:4).

The apostle Paul points out to us “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 Tim. 3:16–17).

If we discount the Old Testament, we will lack the ability to fulfill this admonition of being “equipped for every good work.” We need the whole Bible.