Recently, I was asked, “what is the purpose of the Old Testament?” it is a fair question. Perhaps you have wondered the same thing? The second question asked is, “Since it is the Old Testament, does it have any relevance for me today?” This also is a fair question. Let’s explore together and see what Peter has to say.
Peter touches on this in two separate places, both of which are highlighting the centrality of Jesus. Most of the writings that make up the New Testament, cite the Old Testament as the authoritative word of God. The New Testament writers see Jesus’ activities and teachings as fulfillment of the Old Testament Prophecies. Paul as Peter does, quotes the Old Testament as authoritative (Romans 3:10-18; Romans 15:9-12; I Corinthians 3:19, 20; I Corinthians 6:16; I Corinthians 9:9; I Corinthians 10:7; Galatians 3:6-13) to name a few.
Peter points out that the Prophets studied even their own prophecies to better understand the grace that has come to Christians through Jesus. Peter is quick to point out the two places each Christian can go to better understand the plan of salvation and the plan for their life. These two places are the Prophets of old and the words of Jesus as they are given to the apostles (II Peter 2:3).
Peter, for the all the times he and Paul did not seem to see eye to eye, gives Paul and his writings special status. He puts it very clearing in II Peter 3:15,16; and he also gave a warning to people as well regarding Paul’s writings.
Let’s us quickly look at these two verses but instead, let us begin at verse 14. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation – as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all the epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of Scriptures.
Peter was concerned and truly every Christian should be concerned that we carefully examine the scriptures, the whole scriptures, using both New and Old Testament to find a more full and true understanding of the great truths of the Bible. The Old and New Testament stand as two witnesses to give us witness of the plan of salvation and Christ’s role as Lamb of God. They give us wisdom for us to be profitable in things of scripture.
God’s Holy Word, the Holy Scriptures, which spans both Testaments sits there like an open invitation, inviting all to enter into a better understanding of God and His great love for us. His great sacrifice for us. We who do not deserve His sacrifice or His love.