Very often I hear people say ‘that’s Old Testament,’ usually in an effort to dismiss some measure of Biblical accountability that they don’t like. However, how did the early apostles of the church view what WE call the Old Testament?
First, they called it ‘the Law and the Prophets.’ While Paul made it clear that we are not under the Law, he was also clear that it was our schoolmaster (Galatians 3). Consider this: Did you forget how to read when you got out of school?
Second we must note that the early apostles taught ONLY from what we call the Old Testament. NONE of the NT had been written at the time of the beginning of the church, and Revelation, for example, was written after most of the apostles were dead.
Third, when Paul wrote ‘All Scripture is inspired by God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work,’ (2 Tim 3:16-17), he was talking about what we call the Old Testament.
ALL of it is profitable for doctrine. Therefore we ought to use it both to teach and as a measure for the standards of conduct, character, and protocol. Deut. 18:22, for example is something false prophets just won’t teach from. Look it up, and you will see why.
ALL of it is profitable for reproof. It is to be the basis upon which we judge character and conduct so that we know when a rebuke is necessary, and it is the basis upon which reproof is administered.
ALL of it is profitable for correction. It’s not enough to merely rebuke, but we must also show people the right way, and it is the Scriptures that give us the standards by which we must correct.
ALL of it is profitable for instruction in righteousness. If we attempt to teach righteousness from the NT scriptures without the OT, we will inevitably distort the doctrine of grace. Remember, the apostles taught ONLY from what we call the OT.
It is impossible to fully understand and rightly explain the NT writings without an understanding of the Law and the Prophets. Without the OT, we ignore the intention of what was written in the NT.