Sunset - Larnaca

Sunset - Larnaca

Sunday, 14 September 2014

The 'Other Testament'

With guidance from Fr Lawrence R. Farley's 'The Christian Old Testament'

Admittedly, the Old Testament can be overlooked by many Christians (myself included) , and is often avoided due to its complexity and unclarity. Its meaning and overall message is far from self-evident, and at times there seems to be a rather startling contradiction with regard to God's nature, His will, and His relationship with humanity.

The Apostles emphasised the importance of the Old Testament scriptures, and they would teach their converts the correct understanding of them - on how they were fulfilled in Christ. The early Church in general, read the Old Testament to its converts, making them familiar with the Law and the Prophets. It is easy for us to think that the Church mainly concentrates on the New Testament, and has consequently left the Old Testament behind. Quite the contrary. The Old Testament, equally with the New, has been and will always remain the property of the Church, the New Israel. Christians should read the Old Testament as a revelation of Christ. As St Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch said, when referring to the Old Testament,  ' my charter is Jesus Christ.' In other words, Christ is the foundation, and the basis on which we Christians understand these scriptures. He is our charter. Christians read these Holy Scriptures, and find things that before seemed contradictory, to be complementary parts of a single coherent whole. 'The Life of Jesus is the grid we place over the Old Testament texts, the key that interprets and explains everything. Without Christ, the Old Testament remains unclear, its different passages contradictory, its hopes manifestly unfulfilled.'

Just as we can do all things in Christ ( Philippians 4:13 ) , the same goes for reading difficult and overwhelming passages in the Old Testament - as He is our charter, and through Him comes understanding and fulfilment. The study of the Old Testament in the light of the authentic apostolic tradition will lead the reader to Him Who fulfilled the Law and the Prophets as He promised: Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. 

This short post, will mark the beginning of a series of posts, centred around the Old Testament. I will be focusing on areas that directly speak about Christ, as well as general introductions and explanations to various other passages and books of these Holy Scriptures. Furthermore, starting from tomorrow, my second year of studies at the University of Edinburgh will begin - so new theological essays and articles are to be expected from this week onwards.

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