What is the difference between the Old and New Testament?

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The Old Testament was meant to prepare the Israelites for the coming of the Messiah who would offer Himself as a sacrifice for their sin (1 John 2:2). The New Testament presents the life of Jesus Christ and how we are to respond to His gift of eternal life and live our lives in gratitude to His love (Romans 12).

The Old Testament teaches that man was separated from God through sin (Genesis 3), and the New Testament teaches that man can be restored in his relationship to God (Romans 3-6). The Passover lamb of the Old Testament (Ezra 6:20) becomes the Lamb of God in the New Testament (John 1:29). The book of Hebrews describes how Jesus is the true High Priest and how His one sacrifice replaces all Old Testament animal sacrifices, which were mere foreshadowings.

The New Testament records many of the fulfilled prophecies that were recorded hundreds of years earlier in the Old Testament. The Old Testament declares the giving of God’s Law, and the New Testament shows how Christ gives us His grace in order to keep the Law (Philippians 4:13). In the Old Testament, God’s dealings are mainly with Israel (Exodus 19:6); in the New Testament, God’s dealings are mainly with His church – spiritual Israel (Galatians 3:29).

Both testaments reveal the same holy, merciful, and righteous God who must condemn sin but who desires to bring to Himself a fallen human race of sinners through the forgiveness only possible through Christ’s atoning sacrifice. In both testaments, God reveals Himself to us and how we are to come to Him through Jesus Christ. In both testaments, we find all we need for eternal life and godly living (2 Timothy 3:15-17). The Old and New Testaments are complimentary to each other.

Some reject the Old Testament and claim that it is done away with but Jesus and the disciples based all their teachings on it “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He [Jesus] expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27). “For he [Apollos] vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ” (Acts 18:28, NKJV). Jesus says, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17, 18).

Christians must not reject the Old Testament for “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). The entire Bible is the information and operations manual for a human life.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team


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