Survey of the Old Testament - Lesson 1

Introduction to Survey of the Old Testament

Knowing the purpose, structure and theological center of the Old Testament, will help you understand more accurately the character of God, and his purpose in the world and in your life. The Old Testament teaches you about Christ and describes his ministry. Colossians 3:15-16 reads, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly."

Miles Van Pelt
Survey of the Old Testament
Lesson 1
Watching Now
Introduction to Survey of the Old Testament

I. Nature of the Old Testament

II. Five Part Thesis

A. The Bible is a God-breathed book

B. Both living and life giving

C. Its human authors were guided by the Spirit of Christ

D. It has a theological center, unified thematic framework and a covenantal structure

E. This book is a Christian book. It was written for Christians

III. The Bible is Written For Us, Not About Us

IV. The Old Testament teaches about Christ

  • Dr. Miles Van Pelt is offering an opportunity to study the Old Testament and understand its overall message in more detail. The Old Testament consists of 2/3 of the Bible, and serves as a foundation for many teachings found in the New Testament. Its main purpose is to point towards Jesus who makes possible a new covenant with God's people. The structure of both Testaments follows a covenantal pattern that compels humans to make choices regarding their relationship with God, while demonstrating His patience and perseverance in doing so.
  • Knowing the purpose, structure and theological center of the Old Testament, will help you understand more accurately the character of God, and his purpose in the world and in your life. The Old Testament teaches you about Christ and describes his ministry. Colossians 3:15-16 reads, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly."

  • What you decide is the theological center of the Bible will determine how you understand the Bible and apply it to your life. You can see unity in biblical authorship by the number of times the phrase, “thus says Yahweh” is used in the Old Testament.  The person and work of Jesus is the theological center of the Old Testament. The living force of the canonical word must be the incarnate word. The proper nouns used in the Bible indicate the important characters and themes.

  • Jesus claims that the Old Testament finds its ultimate meaning in him. After his resurrection, Jesus meets two disciples on the road to Emmaus and gives them a lesson in biblical interpretation. The Father and the Scriptures testify about who Jesus is. In Romans 1:3, Paul refers to the Gospel being revealed through his prophets, in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son. Every book in the Bible teaches about Christ so every sermon should teach about Christ. Hebrews 11 refers to the great cloud of witnesses.

  • The Kingdom of God is the over-arching theme of the whole Bible. God governs his kingdom by his covenants. The covenant of grace is in effect throughout the Bible and has different administrations.

  • The form that our Bibles come to us in is meaningful for interpretation. The Hebrew Bible has a different order of the books than the English Bible.  

  • The order of books in the English Bible and the Hebrew Bible is different because the criteria for determining the order is different. The order of the books in the Hebrew Bible reflect an emphasis on covenant, and also teaching important concepts then giving a practical example to illustrate how to put it into practice.

  • The three divisions in the Old Testament are the Law, the Prophets and the Writings. Genesis and Revelation are the introduction and conclusion to the Bible and have parallel themes. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are the four covenant books that record the birth and death of the covenant mediator and contain his life and teachings. The former prophets record the history of Israel. The latter prophets call people to repent and return to God.

  • Your presuppositions about whether or not the authors who wrote the books of the Bible were inspired by God will influence your position the authorship of the Pentateuch. The traditional view is that Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament at about 1200 to 1400 B.C. The documentary hypothesis claims that there were four or more separate authors that wrote beginning in about 900 B.C.

  • Genesis is the covenant prologue and is both protological and eschatological. It is the most covenantal book in the Bible. One way to outline the book is into twelve parts, each beginning with the phrase, “these are the generations.” Creation is described using a theological order.

  • Chapter 2 is a detailed description of the sixth day of creation, culminating in the creation of woman. Chapter 3 describes the Fall and the consequences. Hebrew homonyms link the passages and intensify the descriptions.

  • Noah functions as a prophetic covenant mediator. God promises a remnant in his covenant with Noah and also renews the covenant of common grace. God continues his redemptive covenant with Abraham and his descendants. The book of Genesis ends with the narrative of Joseph.

  • This is the beginning of the formal documents of the covenant of God with the people of Israel. It begins with the birth of Moses and ends with the people of Israel coming out of Egypt.

  • Leviticus is primarily instructions to promote the holiness of God’s people. It provides a system that allows for a holy God to live among an unholy people. In the sacrificial system, there are 5 kinds of offerings. Jesus is the fulfillment of the observance of the Day of Atonement.

  • The book of Numbers is a record of the events of the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. The purpose is to contrast the faithfulness of God with the faithlessness of the Israelites. The time in the wilderness was a period of testing for the people of Israel.

  • This is a renewal of the Mosaic covenant in preparation for entering the Promised Land. It’s an encouragement to keep the Law and a reminder of blessings for obedience and cursings for disobedience. Deuteronomy points us to Jesus who ultimately fulfills the Law.

  • Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings describe the nature and purpose of the Sinai Covenant and the historical events of the occupation of the land. God know that the people of Israel would fail to obey the Mosaic Covenant, so he had planned from the beginning to establish the New Covenant when the time was right.

  • Joshua was the successor to Moses. The book of Joshua focuses on the Promised Land. The people of Israel enter the land, conquer the land, divide the land between the tribes and then renew their covenant with God. Holy war and covenant obedience are important themes.

  • Judges has two introductions, two conclusions, six major judges, six minor judges and one anti-judge. It can be described as the, “uncreation” of Israel. Their purpose was to judge the nations and to deliver the people of Israel from their oppressors.

  • The book of Samuel provides the answer to the crisis of kingship. Samuel, as the last judge and first prophet, anoints Saul as king. The people of Israel reject Yahweh as king. Saul is anointed by Samuel and serves as king but is later rejected because of disobedience. David is anointed king because God acts according to his own will. Solomon begins well and ends badly.

  • The book of Kings is the story of the monarchy in the nation of Israel. It begins with the united monarchy under Solomon, then after his death, is divided into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. We can learn about God’s character and the importance of living in a covenant relationship with God.  

  • The Latter Prophets are covenant lawyers. They are executing the lawsuit of God against Israel for unfaithfulness to the covenant. Prophets use both oracular prophecies and sign acts to communicate their message.

  • Isaiah is sometimes described as the, “fifth gospel” because it is quoted so much in the New Testament. The themes in Isaiah are both timely for his generation and also point to their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus and the end of time.

  • Jeremiah’s call was to tell the people of Judah why they were going into exile and also to give them hope for future restoration. The book contains oracles, accounts of visions and symbolic actions, prophetic laments and historical narratives.

  • One key to understanding Ezekiel is the glory of God in the temple. The book begins with God appearing to Ezekiel, then God leaves the temple and, in the end, God returns. Ezekiel’s oracles and signs illustrate each of these.

  • In the Hebrew Bible, these 12 minor prophets are treated as one book. Each one is a covenant lawyer that is prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the unfaithful nation of Israel and also preaching a message of hope for restoration. The Day of the Lord is the day of the king’s victory over his enemy, either to crush an enemy or to save a people.

  • These books are about how you think and live in light of the covenant. The genres include narrative, poetry and prophecy. The Hebrew Bible order emphasizes teaching then example.

  • Covenant life is a life of worship. The book divisions in the manuscripts were purposefully arranged so the book as a whole has a meaningful narrative. It emphasized the kingship of Yahweh, the Davidic line and the temple. You can use specific patterns of construction for understanding lament, thanksgiving and hymns of praise psalms. You can also use the same patterns to help you respond to God and worship him.

  • Job deals with the issue of human tragedy and suffering. Job never knows what happened in heaven that resulted in his suffering. His three friends made correct theological arguments but they were misapplied. Job speaks about suffering and hope. God challenges Job at the end of the book, and also restores his possessions and children.

  • Solomon created a collection of practical wisdom sayings. Some were for instructing children, some for instructing kings, but they all are applicable to help everyone live in the light of the covenant of grace in the context of common grace.

  • Ruth follows Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible. Even though she is from Moab, she lives in Israel with her widowed Israelite mother-in-law to take care of her. She marries Boaz and is included in the genealogy of David and Jesus.

  • Marriage should be both rock solid in terms of covenant commitment and white hot in terms of sexual intimacy. If it is both, you can better resist temptation, endure hardship and promote wholeness.   

  • The message of Ecclesiastes is that true knowledge, wisdom and meaning in life begins with the fear of the Lord. The author of Ecclesiastes, likely Solomon, tests this conclusion and is unsuccessful in finding ultimate meaning in activities, “under the sun,” like wealth, relationships, power, projects, etc.

  • Lamentations is a collection of funeral dirges lamenting the fall and exile of Jerusalem. The elegant structure of the book is a contrast to the chaos and destruction of the events that are taking place. Each poem gives you a different perspective on God’s character and his covenant faithfulness.

  • Esther is a story of living a life of faith in exile. It Bringing “shalom” into a hostile environment sometimes even requires risking your life. The festival of Purim commemorates God saving his people and is still celebrated today.

  • Daniel and Esther are examples of living a life of faith while in exile. Daniel was different than the writing prophets because he is not primarily a covenant lawyer prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the people of Israel. The first six chapters are biographical stories highlighting God’s power to save and his sovereignty over the nations. The second six chapters are visions of the future.

  • The book of Ezra-Nehemiah records the last events, chronologically, in the Old Testament. Ezra returned from exile with authorization to teach the Law of the Jews and institute the sacrificial system. Nehemiah returned to rebuild Jerusalem. They fail in their human attempt to rebuild heaven on earth, which encourages you to look forward to the city built by God.

  • The return from exile is not the greater one prophesied by the prophets. We still look forward to the return from exile with them in the resurrection. Chronicles traces the seed that was promised and gives an account of the return from exile.

Take this opportunity to study with Dr. Miles Van Pelt as he shows you patterns and themes that will help you understand the Old Testament and the whole Bible. He will give you an overall view of the Old Testament then discuss specifics about each of the books. 

For instance, you might ask, "What kind of book is the Old Testament?" The OT is a single story told three times over: once in Genesis, once in Exodus through Nehemiah, and once again in Chronicles (just like day 6 in Genesis 1–2). The OT loves to repeat itself, repeat itself, repeat itself. This is how it teaches us. The Old Testament is about 2/3 of the Bible and is the basis for everything you read in the New Testament. The better you understand the Old Testament, the clearer you will understand the message of the Bible. 

What is the Message of the Old Testament? The Old Testament points to the New Covenant. The teachings, prophecies and examples of covenant life point to Jesus who makes the New Covenant possible and inaugurates it. There are also examples in the Old Testament of how human efforts to create heaven on earth fall short, so that we will anticipate and yearn for our ultimate deliverance from exile.

What is the Structure of the Old Testament? The structure of the Old Testament, and the Bible as a whole, is covenantal. God offers to live in the covenant of grace with him and compels them to make that choice. The administrations of the covenant with Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus demonstrate God's patience and perseverance to include as many as are willing.


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Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Take this opportunity to study with Dr. Miles Van Pelt as he shows you patterns and themes that will help you understand the Old Testament and the whole Bible. He will give...

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Dr. Miles Van Pelt 
Survey of the Old Testament 
Lesson Transcript 


I. Nature of the Old Testament

I'm excited to teach this course. I love the Old Testament. I've been teaching it for about 25 years, but I haven't taught a survey course like this in over 20 years. This will be the first time I've come back to summarize the whole section, I usually do smaller chunks for a longer amount of time. I'm going to do my best to get everything in, in the requisite number of hours.

A. What Kind of Book is the Old Testament? (00:34)

In this course, we're going to make two passes through the Old Testament. In the first section, we're going to make a big sweeping pass over what the Old Testament is about. How does the Old Testament work once I convince you of the scenario I'm working with?  We'll then back up and we'll go through each of the books of the Old Testament. We will go one by one to see how that book fits into the scene of the scenario and how it contributes to the overall message.

That's what we're going to do, but before I do that I'm going to give you my prayer for the course. I want to have a theme. In Colossians 3:15-16 Paul says the piece of Christ, let it rule in your heart. Then two clauses later at the beginning of verse 16, it says the word of Christ, let it dwell in you richly. I'm convinced that the relationship between the two is important. The more we allow the word of Christ to dwell in us, the more the peace of Christ will reign in us.

B. The Message of the Old Testament (1:32)

The Old Testament constitutes part of that word of Christ. The more we understand that the more we let that soak into us. We'll actually have that piece of Christ dwelling in us. So that's my prayer that over this week together and over this time together; our time together, that you'll actually feel the peace of Christ welling up in you as the word of Christ wells up in you also.

The peace of Christ, let it dwell in your heart. By the word of Christ, let it dwell in your heart as well. I'm going to begin by convincing you about the nature of the Old Testament. I'm going to say some very startling things. I think about the Old Testament today and that in some circles it would be a little bit shocking. In some circles it might be okay; they know it a lot in some circles. The way in which I grew up, these are shocking statements. If you've told me these things, 30  or 40 years ago, I'd have been shocked at what I'm hearing, coming out of my mouth. I want to convince you about the special nature of the Bible and the Old Testament. Before we look at it, what kind of book is it?

C. Structure of the Old Testament (02:37)

The Old Testament is a story or a narrative account told two times over from creation, into sin, then into exile. This happens once in the book of Genesis where God creates Adam and Eve. They sin and they go into exile at the end of the book of Genesis. All of God's people are in exile in Egypt. So from creation to exile, that same story or narrative is rehearsed again in Exodus through Chronicles. God brings his people through the waters of the crossing of the Red Sea and a second creation act. Then they sin and at the end of the Hebrew Bible in Chronicles they're in exile again. The old Testament is a story told two times over. By story I want you to understand, I don't mean something that's make believe.

D. The Law (Torah) of Moses (03:33)

We often hear the word story used frequently about the Bible.  I think that's fine to do, but in our particular culture, the word “story” can take on the connotation of the nuance of make believe. For example, I just looked it up in my concise Oxford English dictionary at home before I came, and the first definition reads like this, “An account of imaginary or past events”. When I use the word story, I'll try not to use it a lot. I do not intend to imply anything's imaginative. The fourth definition is the one I like which is “facts or experiences that deserve narration”. Now it's interesting to me, that the Old Testament is a story or a narrative told two times over because one of the things we're going to recognize or come to see in our time together is that often times things happen in pairs in the Bible.

I call this the MVP rule of two. This is how I teach it to my students. For example, it occurs all over the place where there are two testaments. There are two accounts of creation, Genesis one and  Genesis two. There are two creations. This creation, the one we’re in and there's going to be the new creation. In the Bible there are two worlds, the world before flood and the world after the flood. There are two covenants, the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. There are two Adams. According to Romans five, the first Adam and Jesus and the second Adam. There are always two figures that work together in redemptive history. There's Moses and Joshua. There is David and Solomon. There’s Elijah and Elisha. These things in pairs. There's temple tabernacle stage one and stage two.

There are two exiles of Israel in the Old Testament. One in second Kings, 17 and the other is second Kings 25. There are two Comings of Jesus. His first coming and His second coming. So a lot of this is pedagogical. In some sense, Hebrew loves to repeat itself. Even with Hebrew poetry, it's usually two lines. The first line and the second line are saying the same thing, but from different angles. If you miss it the first time you get it the second time. That's one of the things that we're going to see is that  all of these things that happen in stages over time, reflect and look like each other. The more you can see the connections, the more you see how the Bible will work. In fact we'll see that the Bible is actually a mirror image of itself, the old new testaments in these lectures, and we can see that rule of two playing out at the macro a level.

II. Five Part Thesis

A. The Bible is a God-Breathed Book (06:20)

My thesis has five parts to it about this special nature of the Old Testament. The Old Testament is a God breathed book. It is therefore both living and life giving. Its human authors were guided by the spirit of Christ who controlled its content, delivery, and preservation. It has a theological center, a unified thematic framework, and a covenant structure. This book is a Christian book. It was written for Christians. I want you to know that each one of those statements on there have been and will continue to be debated in the past and in the future. This is my  stance of where I'm at. I'm going to defend it biblically so that when I show you the amazing nature of the Old Testament, you'll say, “oh yeah, it couldn't be anything other than this”.

B. It is Living and Life Giving (07:17)

Let me say it again The Old Testament is a God breathed book. It is therefore both living and life giving. Its human authors were guided by the spirit of Christ who controlled its content, delivery, and preservation. It has a theological center, a unified thematic framework, and a covenantal structure. This book is a Christian book. It was written for Christians. Let me defend each one of those statements right there. The first point is that the Old Testament is a God breathed book. I get this from second Timothy 3:16-17, “Breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for re proof for correction and for training and righteousness, that the person of God may be completely equipped for every good work”. Now, the word I'm looking at right there, that's important is the word you can see in bold, “breathe out by God”, Greek Theopneustos.

You can see in the NIV, it's translated “God breathe”. The King James version is given by inspiration of God and the NASB is inspired by God. What does it mean? What are the implications when Paul is making reference to this particular document to Timothy that he's talking about the Old Testament? They don't have a New Testament yet. So when Paul's saying all scripture, his immediate point of reference is the Old Testament. Subsequent to that, we put the New Testament in that as well. What does it mean that the Old Testament is God breathed? It can mean a lot of different things. It can have a lot of implications, but let me give you one kind of special illustration. Let's think together about something else that in the Bible is God breathed.


Can you think of something?


The world.


 But specifically in that world.




Humans are marked out in creation from every other thing. God having breathed into them the breath of life when they become a living being. What did humans start out as? Dirt. God took the dirt and the dust and formed it into a human being and breathed into him the breath of life. That person became a living being.  The difference between dust or dirt and a human being is the breath of God. What happens when a person expires and the breath of God leaves him? What happens is he returns back to the dust we know that we have evidence of. I want you to take this into your mind. The difference between me as a person, a human being, and a pile of dirt is one animating feature, the breath of God.

Dirt can't move, it can't feel, it can't love, it can't reproduce, it can't worship, it can't do any of that. A human being created image of God can. Let's make the connection of what is a difference between the Bible which is a God breathed book and every other piece of literature ever written. It's the difference between me and dirt. Here is a copy of my Bible in English, this is a God breathed book. The difference between this book and any other book, is the difference between a human being and dirt. The Bible is a God breathed book, and we're going to say it's living and alive for that reason. It has got a very special status. The verse is in Genesis 2:7, “Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils, the breath of life. And the man became a living creature”.

The Bible has this special status in its thesis. Number two, it is  both living and life giving. The word of God is living and life giving. In Hebrews 4:12, the author states, “for the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edge sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit of joints and of me and discerning thoughts and intentions of the heart. For the word of God is a live thing and active”. It is not a dead book. It is not words on a page. It's got a living force behind it. Look what Peter says in first Peter, first 23 to 25, “since you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable. How through the living and abiding word of God for all fleshes like grass and all its glory, like the flower of grass, the grass Withers and the flower fails, but the word of the Lord remains forever”.


This word is the good news that was preached to you. He's talking about the Old Testament, which most Christians are thinking a New Testament way, but this is the Old Testament. Even the Old Testament testifies to its life giving nature in Psalm 19:7, one of the Torah Psalms says, “the law of the Lord is perfect reviving or giving life to the soul”. The testament of the Old Testament itself is that special status. Listen to this one, Psalm 119: 25, “my soul clings to the dust. Give me life, according to your word”. The Old Testament is a God breathed book. Therefore, is both living and life giving. This is what the New Testament is saying about the Old Testament.

C. Its Human Authors were Guided by Christ (12:50)

This is the apostolic witness to the personal work of Christ as viewed through the lens of the Old Testament. Point number three, its human authors were guided by the spirit of Christ who controlled its content, delivery, and preservation. No profit or apostle ever wrote by their own will or strength. They wrote according to the spirit of Christ, that was in them.

First Peter 1:10-11, “concerning the salvation the prophets who prophesied about the grace, that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully. Inquiring what person or time the spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he preached the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories”. Peter's saying the Old Testament is talking about the spirit of Christ in them. Looking forward to the time where Christ would suffer and turn to glory. If we don't get that out of the old Testament, then we're missing the apostolic marker.

We’ve got to aim our arrows in the right direction. This is really important for studying the Old Testament. One of the difficulties of Old Testament studies is the fact that a number of the books in the Old Testament are anonymous in terms of their authorship. We don't know who wrote Joshua Judges, Samuel, Kings, or Chronicles. We don't know who wrote Lamentations. We have ideas and traditions but they are technically anonymous works. That shouldn't give you any trouble because you know that it was a spirit of Christ at work in the author who was moving them to write these things. We do have the primary author, the spirit of Christ is the agent; the prophets and apostles are the instruments.

D. Theological Center, Unified Framework, Covenantal Structure (14:37)

The Old Testament is not just the Old Testament, but by extrapolation of the new Testament too. It has a theological center, a unified thematic framework and a covenantal structure. I don't have time to defend all those statements. People may disagree with that, you'll simply have to be convinced on the merit of the evidence I present positively for it. If it was a different kind of course, we could do all kinds of, higher critical defenses. But we're not going to do that in this particular setting. Where do I get that threefold statement there where it has a theological center, a unified thematic framework, and a covenant structure. I get it from Acts 28: 23. We're going to talk  about this verse because it's programmatic for me and how I view the whole Bible. Statements like this occur a couple times there.

Paul is in Rome and he's going to be there for two years teaching day and night. Luke is writing about his ministry and time there. He's summarizing what Paul is doing. It says this when they had appointed a day for him. They came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus from both the law of Moses and the prophets. What was he doing? He was testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus from both the law of Moses and the prophets.


He's trying to do two things. He's telling you what his message is and what is the source of that message. What's his textbook? He's giving you a look into the syllabus.  I've got the Old Testament gang I'm going to spend all day and night with you trying convince you about the kingdom of God and Jesus. So these three items for me represent very important hermeneutical interpretational lenses through which to enter into the Bible, but especially the Old Testament. You've got these apostles talking about what they're doing using the Old Testament. I want to imitate or mimic that as much as I can. I'm going to say that the Bible has a theological center, a thematic framework, and a covenantal structure.

The theological center is going to be Jesus Christ. The thematic framework is the kingdom of God. The law of Moses and the prophets is going to represent a covenantal structure. Meaning that at the heart of the Old Testament, at the center of everything is the person and work of Jesus. His birth, His life, His teachings, His death, His resurrection, His Ascension, and a second coming. All of the Old Testament only makes sense and hangs together with that theological center. No other thing can bear the weight of the Old Testament in terms of all of its diversity as that one theological center. Think about everything in the Old Testament. You've got temples, tabernacles, priests, prophets, and kings. You've got war, famine, exodus, and exile.

You've got things like the stipulations of what you can wear and what underwear you can wear as a priest when you're leading in worship. You've got things about love, poetry, about marriage and song of songs. You've got genealogies. What makes sense of all of that diversity is the one thing that ties it all together,  it only makes sense in the personal work of Jesus. It's all geared towards showing us who's coming and what He's going to do for His people. He's the theological center. The thematic framework is not a center thing, but it's a framework that encompasses the whole. Every theme, motif, every institution in the Bible. But especially in the Old Testament. It  is a kingdom of God theme. Prophet kingdom of God official, priest kingdom of God official, king kingdom of God official, judge king of God official, covenant mediator king of God official the creation account. He's creating the kingdom of God.

The two kingdoms, the realm with the visible and the invisible. God's two kingdoms. Every theme in the Bible makes sense underneath that one macro theme. You've got a center that ties it all together and anchors it. You've also got an external rubric that makes sense of what centers the king of the kingdom. And He's holding it all together and it's this Royal thing. Then the covenant structure is His canonical word. How does He administer or administrate His kingdom through the covenant. All of these covenants we have recorded in scripture. The Bible is, you could say a covenant document. It's not a love letter, though it may have a love letter in it. It's not a self-help manual but you can get help from it.

It's not a recipe book from some of the dietary laws explaining how we should be eating, or whether it is clean or unclean. It's not that, but it has that stuff in it. The Bible is a covenantal book. It's a covenant book. One of the key things for us is figuring out what is the covenantal structure of the Bible?, It has one, it's His covenant word. If it's His covenant word, it's going to be structured accordingly. How do all those different covenants work in the Bible? There's seven main ones that we're going to be looking at. How do the covenants work and how do they appear in His word together?. Thesis number five is this book is a Christian book and it was written for Christians.

This is a statement that needs nuance. But the reason I say that is because oftentimes people think the Old Testament is kind of neat. It's got stories and cool stuff in the back. When you are younger, you read that stuff to your kids. So they will stay interested. That way one day, maybe they will read Paul’s epistles and learn real theology. Does that make sense? The Old Testament is actually a book written for Christians. Now I want everyone to read it. It came out of the Hebrew scripture, it has got Jewish roots as well. Our Hebrew Testament is that the Jewish Bible still exists and remains today. It's great. Other people can use it, but in Old Testament studies and in biblical studies as well, there's always this desire to say who was the audience and what was the author's original intent.

That's the grammatical historical of Jesus that we always wanted to find out. Who was the audience? Was it Abraham in the patriarchal era? It is different from someone living in exile, in the Babylonian era. It is different than someone who's living in the monarchy during the time of David and Saul.. We want to know who the original audience was. We also want to know what the author's original intent was. What was Isaiah writing about? Why did someone write the account of Ruth down? We want to know what was that for? How does that make sense of it? At the end of the day, these things were deposited or recorded in the scriptures for us by the people of God.

I've got two verses here, Romans 15:4 says, “for whatever was written in former days”, he's talking about the Old Testament. It was written for our instruction post Pentecost community, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the scriptures, we might have hope. So the prophetic writings of the Old Testament and all the writing legal Testament are prophetic in terms of who put them down. We're written for a post apostolic community so that we might have endurance and hope. If we read the Old Testament and we don't come up with endurance and hope, we've missed the point.

First Corinthians 10:11. These were specifically about the wilderness rebellions and the judgements that happened to them as an example or type. They were written down for our instruction on whom the end of the age has come. At one level, you've got to keep in mind that there's an original audience and original author. These words were all deposited  with the spirit of Christ in them. Carrying them along as intended, so that they would be used in the new covenant community as a means for instruction, hope, encouragement, endurance, edification, sanctification, glorification, and worship.

E. Written for Christians (23:55)

The Old Testament is a God breathed book. It is therefore both living and life giving. Its human authors were guided by the spirit of Christ who controlled its content, delivery, and preservation. It has a theological center, Jesus Christ. It has a unified thematic framework, the kingdom of God and a covenant structure. It has the law, the prophets and the writings. This book is a Christian book. It was written for Christians. I want you to hear that.

Now that we have Jesus Christ, it's a theological center of the Old Testament. We no longer have to be finding ourselves in it. When we read some of the accounts, like the Judge narratives, for example I act just like Othniel or I act like Ehud or I'm like Samson. My life is a wreck, but God can still use me. I call that the where's Waldo approach to the Old Testament because that's how most Christians interpret the Old Testament. They open a page, read a narrative and try to figure out where they are in that narrative. If you want to know where you are in the Judge's narrative, you're the ones who are doing evil in the eyes of the Lord every time and need to repent, while relying on the gospel’s grace. And the Judges will point you to that. The Judges illustrate all types of Christ. They're saviors and they're deliverers.

III. The Bible is Written For Us, Not About Us (25:20)

They're raised up by God. They bring rest to the land. They defeat God's enemies. It's amazing and I can't believe we've lost that. We've lost that. There's no where's waldo approach. The Bible was written for us, but it's not about us. Now it is about us in a certain sense. It's primarily about the person in work of Jesus. The Bible is not written about us. On some of this computer stuff, when it comes to databases, I searched for the word “miles” in Hebrew Testament, and I couldn't find one hit. I was very disappointed. But if you search for Yahweh or Elohim, He's all over the place, right?

IV. The Old Testament Teaches About Christ (26:01)

He's going to be the primary player, which I'll show you later in this account. The last thing is I want to encourage you by is that the Bible is about Jesus. You're free to go to the Old Testament and to see Him there aggressively. It's sometimes very difficult to make sense of a particular text. For example, once I had to preach on the construction of the priestly garments and Exodus. We were going through it on Sunday evenings. So you just got assigned a text. The priestly garments. You realize the beautiful things that go on in there, all the jewels that were rooted back in creation, they're the same jewels that we see in the lands and Genesis too.

So this priest is being recreated in the image of God. And then when you get to the New Testament, you look in the book of Revelation. Those same jewels are about the king of God. What we’re seeing is beautiful and wonderful in the Old Testament. That points us back to the original design and forward to how it's going to be in the future. There really is never a dull moment in the Old Testament when it's unlocked. When you find out it's about the personal work of Jesus, a reformed covenant, and a theologian type of guy. I like what chapter one, paragraph eight in the Westminster Confession has to say about the Bible, “Truth and advertising”, this is who I am at this particular point. You can feel free to disagree.

A lot of people disagree with me; my wife frequently and my kids as well. I at least want you to know where I'm coming from. It will just cut out a lot of the guesswork. Westminister Confession of Faith, chapter one, paragraph eight says the Old Testament in Hebrew and Aramaic, which was the native language of the people of God. The New Testament was in Greek, which at the time of the writing was most generally known to the nations as being immediately inspired by God, by His singular care. Providence kept pure in all ages and therefore authentic. In all controversies of religion, the church is finally able to appeal unto them. That's where I'm coming from.