3 Ways to Navigate Difficult Passages of the Old Testament

Reading habits that may start well in Genesis and Exodus often go astray when the assigned readings move into Leviticus which focuses heavily on Old Testament law.

Humans are radically corrupt because of the fall. Our sin problem goes much deeper than any outward, “do it yourself” remedy can fix. What we need most is a rescuer, not a role model. We need a substitute, not a better version of ourselves. Reading the Old Testament through a “moral of the story’ lens doesn’t help people connect all of the biblical stories to God’s full redemptive plan as it develops from Genesis through Malachi.

 

As the new year begins, Christians often decide to read through the Bible starting in Genesis. But by the second week of January, many of those same readers begin to get off track.

Reading habits that may start well in Genesis and Exodus often go astray when the assigned readings move into Leviticus which focuses heavily on Old Testament law.

The book of Numbers is a little more easy to read because of the large amount of narrative content, but then Deuteronomy becomes as difficult as Leviticus because Moses’ farewell addresses take up the majority of the book.

It seems as if the opening books of the Bible derail many peoples’ attempts to read through God’s Word in a year.

But there’s good news! Every believer can successfully navigate the Old Testament as they read through the Bible by keeping these three ideas in mind:

Don’t Settle for a “Moral of the Story” Understanding of the Passage.

One of the most common ways people misread the Old Testament is through a “moral of the story” lens.

When people read the Old Testament using this methodology, they’re looking for ways to stand with resolve like Joseph, lead like Moses or Nehemiah, be a more committed individual like Ruth, or become more fearless like Esther.

Reading the Old Testament as a collection of stories designed to teach one how to do right and avoid wrong misses the redemptive story of the Bible. There’s more to those stories than this!

It also doesn’t suffice to view Old Testament characters as merely examples to follow with life lessons to either reject or embrace. This type of reading fails to address humanity’s greatest need.

Humans are radically corrupt because of the fall. Our sin problem goes much deeper than any outward, “do it yourself” remedy can fix.

What we need most is a rescuer, not a role model. We need a substitute, not a better version of ourselves.

Reading the Old Testament through a “moral of the story’ lens doesn’t help people connect all of the biblical stories to God’s full redemptive plan as it develops from Genesis through Malachi.

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