Why should someone who is not Jewish study the Old Testament?

J. Carl Laney, Professor, Western Seminary

Why should someone who is not Jewish study the Old Testament?

Editor's Note: The following excerpt is taken from Dr. Laney's book, Answers to Tough Questions.

The Apostle Paul was writing to a predominately non-Jewish audience in his first letter to the Corinthians. After citing a series of examples from the Hebrew Scriptures, Paul writes, “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor. 10:11). It is very clear that Paul appreciated the instructional value of the Old Testament. Here are five other reasons we should study the Hebrew Bible:

(1) The Hebrew Bible reveals the origins and history of the Jewish people whom God chose to bring spiritual light and salvation to the world.

(2) The Hebrew Bible contains some of the greatest literature ever written. A thorough education should include a basic appreciation and understanding of this literature.

(3) Judaism, Islam and Christianity all recognize the books of the Hebrew Bible as part of their religious heritage. To understand and appreciate these people, a study of the Hebrew Bible is necessary.

(4) The Hebrew Bible lays a foundation for any study of the life of Christ and New Testament theology.

(5) The Hebrew Bible provides answers to many of the fundamental questions of life. Where did we come from? Where are we going? What is our greatest need? What is the purpose of our existence? The wisdom and insights of the writers of Scripture provide guidance to living life successfully–according to the plan of God, the Author of life.

Dr. J. Carl Laney is Professor of Biblical Literature at Western Seminary in Portland, OR. To purchase a CD copy of this book and see more biblical resources by Dr. Laney, please visit www.carllaney.com.


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