My roommate and I had a discussion tonight with a friend concerning issues of prophecy. I kept raising one point and I figured I would blog about it tonight. When we read the NT, we have to keep in mind that when Jesus speaks, the audience is assumed to have a thorough knowledge of the OT. We do not understand much of what was said if we do not have such an understanding.
What perspective does Paul write from? That same one. What about Peter? That same one. What about the book of Revelation? That same one. We need that thorough knowledge of the Old Testament. Unfortunately today, we emphasize the New Testament so much that we sometimes forget God did write another testament.
This is only to our regret. We are only hurting ourselves by not understanding the Old Testament and I’d say I don’t have a good a grasp on it as did the audience in Jesus’s day. We don’t understand the languages for one. (Most of us.) These would be Aramaic and Hebrew. Even if we can read some of them, are we really that fluent in them?
Do we memorize the text also? Many Jews in the time of Christ would know OT passages by memory very quickly. The rabbis said that until you had a verse memorized, you were not allowed to comment on it. Are we the same or do we treat the text lightly and not memorize it?
If we approach the NT and we don’t have the knowledge of the OT, then we are going to be lacking in our understanding of the NT. While we should certainly read the NT as it is God’s Word to us, we must be sure that we get in an understanding of the OT as well to help us along.
Now this is my idea for the next time I go straight through my Bible. I hope I do it. I’d like to get a good book on each book of the Bible for when I go through it so that I can have it nearby and know things to look for and points to consider I might not know on my own. I’m not talking about a commentary per se. I’m just talking about an overview.
Friends. Our knowledge matters. This is Scripture and we often say Scripture interprets Scripture. If we do not know the Scriptures though, we cannot interpret them as they ought to be interpreted.