Why Using the NT to Interpret the OT is Essential

May 11, 2019 — Leave a comment

God provides much additional revelation in the NT about OT personages, events, and passages that the OT does not provide. Believers must, therefore, use the NT to interpret the OT in all such cases.

If they do not do so, Christians will lack information and understanding in their views that God intended for them to have.

Numerous Examples

Numerous examples show that the NT illumines our understanding of the OT with information not provided in the OT. The following 13 passages show just how important it is to use the NT to interpret the OT.

Examples in the Gospels

Matthew 6:26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

The OT speaks of God’s feeding the birds (Job 38:41; Ps. 147:9), but the NT makes clear that it is the Father who does so.

John 6:45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

Readers of only the OT did not know that this divine teaching ministry spoke of what the Father would do.

Examples in Acts

Acts 7:43 Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them.

The OT does not provide any revelation about any god named Remphan or that the Israelites did these things at that time.

Acts 13:33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

Acts 13:33 tells us that God fulfilled an ancient promise by raising Jesus, as it is written in Psalm 2.  Anyone reading just the statement about the Son in Psalm 2:7 would not have the ability to know that truth.

Examples in the Epistles

1 Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

Any believer reading just the OT would never know that the Rock that followed them in the wilderness wanderings was Christ.

Hebrews 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

The OT does not provide any information about Abraham’s seeking for such a city.

2 Peter 2:5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness.

Reading just the OT, a believer would never have known that Noah was a preacher of righteousness.

2 Peter 2:7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked.

Anyone who just reads the OT would not have any confident basis to know that Lot was a just man.

1 John 3:12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother.

Having only the OT, a believer would not have sufficient basis to know confidently that Cain was of the devil.

Jude 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

The OT speaks of God’s burying Moses (Deut. 34:6), but only the NT reveals this battle between Michael and the devil over the body of Moses.

Jude 1:14 Enoch  . . . prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all.

From the OT alone, a reader would not know that Enoch was a prophet who proclaimed a glorious Messianic prophecy!

Examples in Revelation

Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Revelation 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.

Anyone reading just the OT would not know that the devil controlled and directed the serpent who deceived Eve.

Application

These thirteen examples show that it is essential to use the NT to interpret the OT whenever the NT provides information that the OT does not. Only then will we understand properly what God wants us to know about those personages, events, passages, etc.

Furthermore, these examples show how vital it is to read the whole Bible and not just certain parts of it. Only by reading the whole Bible will we have the fullness of understanding that God wants us to have!

Rajesh

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Copyright © 2011-2019 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

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